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First Impressions When Selling A Horse

What’s that old saying? “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”?

Guess what?  It applies to horses as well!

When you’re showing your horse to a potential buyer, be sure to properly introduce them.  You don’t want to just throw the stall or paddock door open and say to the buyer “have at ‘er”!  Either go in with them or bring the horse out to meet them.  This way, it gives the buyer the opportunity to see how you interact with the horse and, more importantly, how the horse responds to you.

Take the time to talk to the potential purchaser about your horse.  Let them pet the horse’s face a bit and see you work with the horse.  If you haven’t already, this would be the time to discuss any of your horse’s idiosyncrasies.  For example, when showing my horse to a potential leaser, I always tell them that he’s finicky about his hind feet.  When you pick them up to clean them he sometimes swings his leg back and forth.  I have no idea why he does it and in the 13 years I’ve had him he’s never stopped!  It’s just one of those things I guess.

You may have to inform buyers of your horse’s less than savoury characteristics, but that’s not to say you can’t present them in a positive light!  Also, being upfront like this helps to build trust and establish a relationship.  One of the things I’ve learned from the business courses I’ve taken is that people typically buy from people they like.   With that in mind, don’t forget the other saying “first impressions last a lifetime”!

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Posted by on November 16, 2011 in General

 

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Selling your horse? Are you sure?

So you’ve decided to sell your horse. 

Are you sure?

Maybe you just want to put out some feelers and see what kind of response you get.

Don’t.  This may work for a well connected instructor or trainer (or other industry professional) but isn’t the best way to go for amateur owners.

Buying and selling horses is a risky business.  Buyers take a huge chance when buying the horse.  They’re betting that the horse hasn’t been drugged in some way to make it perform or act differently than what it normally would.  They’re betting that the person they’re buying from has disclosed all relevant information, including medical history (for example, whether the horse is prone to colic).  They’re betting their new horse will behave in the same way at its new home as it did at its old.  Let’s be honest, horses are sensitive creatures and even the slightest change can throw them off.  It’s a gamble.

Put yourself in the buyers place.  If you’re going to look at a horse and the owner appears to be at all hesitant or unsure, how are you going to interpret that?  You’re likely going to assume the seller isn’t telling you everything and you’re going to move on to the next horse.  Because as much as the purchaser is buying the horse, their connection with (and trust in) the seller does play a part in the process.  Keep in mind that in these tough economic times there are a lot of horses for sale – this is very much a buyer’s market.  Why would a purchaser take a risk with a hesitant owner when they have several other options?

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in General

 

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Turn Out For Sale Day

I am probably the last person who should be talking about dressing well to make a good first impression.  No joke, I am the queen of the workout look.  That’s not to say I work out a lot (or at all), but I like the clothes!   That being said, first impressions do make a difference!  While it’s not imperative you show up in your show clothes, your horse should certainly look their best to meet any prospective purchasers.

For your horse, this can mean detangling, brushing, trimming and possibly pulling their mane and tail.  When I say “pulling” I don’t mean you have to pull their mane and tail – you can cheat and trim with scissors or a razor comb – just make sure it still looks good!  The goal here is to show off your horse in the best possible light.  Your horse should also have a nice, neat bridle path.

Some people insist on a trimmed muzzle which, personally, I am against.  Horses use those whiskers as feelers; they serve a purpose.  If you’re torn on this I would suggest going with what your buyer would expect.  For example, if you’re selling a young horse as a competitive hunter jumper prospect, the buyer will probably expect to see a clean shaven nose.  But, if you’re selling an 18 year old draft cross as a trail mount for a retiree, they’re most likely fine with a bit of fuzz.  The same goes for clipping a horse.  Neither are major issues though, as in, if your horse is suitable for the potential purchaser a few extra hairs are not going to waylay the sale.

The next items of concern are mud and dirt.  It doesn’t seem to matter what the season is, I know my horse is going to be dirty every time I go down to the barn!  If your horse is like that you may want to get a little proactive and arrive early to clean your horse up.  You may even want to consider giving them a bath a day or two before their big debut!  A horse with a shiny, healthy looking coat is going to catch the eye of a buyer over a dull coat 99% of the time.

Last, but certainly not least: the feet.  If your horse is due for a visit from the farrier, do not schedule an appointment for the day after a showing, schedule it for a few days before hand.   This goes with the theme of putting your best foot forward – although in this case I mean it more literally!  You don’t want to present a horse with long toes, it shows poor horsemanship and may cause your horse to trip or misstep more than he or she normally would.  Another reason to schedule a few days before is that if anything is nicked your horse has some time to heal.

All of these things contribute to a healthy looking horse and shows that you care for him or her.  This may not seem like such an important factor strictly in terms of selling, but it can subconsciously affect a purchaser’s opinion towards you and your horse.  Given the choice between two similarly trained and bred horses, which would you pick?  The well cared for one or the one with burrs in its tail?

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in General

 

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