"Why haven't I sold my horse?"

By Tami Johnson

Buying a horse is an emotional proposition, no one needs a horse.

Probably one of the most asked questions I receive bar none, and every answer requires a careful examination of the horse in question.

Buying a horse is an emotional proposition, no one needs a horse. They simply want a horse. Therefore, successfully selling a horse requires a buyer willing to sell and emotionally part with said horse, as well as a buyer who is emotionally invested enough in the horse for sale that they are willing to pay a price that is agreeable to the seller.

Selling (or buying) a horse is very similar to selling a home. To evaluate why your horse is not selling while others around him or her are selling, take a look at the market comps (or comparables).

Take a step back from your personal connection to your horse and what do you see? Compared to other amateur western pleasure horses being marketed, is he in a similar price range, give or take $5,000? Do the higher priced horses have better, longer or more successful show records? Are they more beautiful (be honest with yourself)? Are they taller? Shorter?

What about geographic location. Are you somewhere in the mainstream of commercial horse shippers? West to east would be Los Angeles to Denver to Louisville; north to south would be Boston to Miami, or Chicago to Tampa. If you’re in Billings, Montana, that’s going to be a pricey plane ticket for someone to check out your horse (unless they live in Minneapolis), or a tricky, potentially expensive shipping bill to get to anywhere in New England or southern California. If you have a potentially valuable show horse, but you’re in a difficult market area, it may be worth considering sending the horse to a higher traffic location in a professional barn to market. Not unlike real estate, sometimes selling a horse can be all about location, location, location. Not only does the horse need to be in a place easy to access, but having a facility that is set up for safely test riding or driving a horse in any type of weather can be the make or break point between a shopper willing to look seriously at your horse, or passing him up for something else.

Lastly, and one of the most important factors, how good are your photos and video, and how often have you updated your listing? Listings that sit on the market untouched for months tell a buyer that a) you don’t really want or need to sell the horse, b) those photos and that video are the best you have, or c) there must be something wrong if he/she is still for sale. Updating a listing at least every 30 days will keep the horse fresh in people’s minds, and if there are some shoppers out there that have been watching him, but weren’t quite willing to pull the trigger, a certain photo or new video, or slight price reduction might be just the incentive they need to make a play.


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