How To Sell Your Horse For Top Dollar

by Michelle on December 27, 2017

There’s a lot to getting top dollar for your horse so this will be a multi-part series on the topic. I will talk about writing an ad, preparing your horse for sale, taking good pictures, pricing your horse, shooting videos, placing ads and marketing your horse for sale.

I want to be clear that “top dollar” means getting the high end of the range in your horse’s price bracket.  This isn’t a post on how to get $30,000 for a $5000 horse.   Or $3500 for a $500 horse.  This is about pricing your horse and selling it quickly for the price you asked.   It’s about being able to ask more for your horse because you have it properly presented to people looking to buy.

I’m going to start with writing the ad. No matter where you are going to advertise your horse, you need to represent him well. Ads don’t need to have perfect grammar, but good spelling definitely helps the presentation. Have someone proofread your ad after you get it typed up.

What I suggest you start with is a list of pros and cons for your horse. Take a piece of paper and divide it into 4 quarters. On the top left, write in the basic info about your horse. Name, gender, height, color, and age. Add any relevant pedigree to this list (name drop if he’s got names worth dropping).

On the top right, write a list of all the positive attributes your horse has. Examples of this in a barrel horse: good looking, great conformation, honest, runs low 17’s on a standard. Quiet, anyone can ride out, stands well at the trailer, hauls well.

On the bottom left, write all the things that come up as cons. These are things you don’t really like about the horse but they might not bother someone else. Or, things someone else might not like about the horse you will disclose when they ask. Examples could be: needs maintenance, needs shoes all year, hard keeper, paws at the trailer, or he’s hard to catch.

In the remaining quarter put the things that might be deal breakers for people. You’re not going to put these in your ad, but you need to tell the buyers to be an honest seller. Examples could be that he bucks a couple times a year, bleeds or cribs. Maybe he weaves sometimes or has had surgery in the past.

Now, we’re going to take the top two quarters and massage that info into an ad. We want an ad that’s not too short, but not too long. “Heeling Horse for sale” is too short and a mile long paragraph about “Princess” and all the treats she likes and every weekend adventure she’s been on is too long.

getting top dollar

One thing I avoid doing is posting the horses name. You’d be surprised how many people will pass on a horse because they already have one named that or someone they don’t like had a horse named that. Seems silly, but it’s true. Also, people can have opinions on the name. Like me, I’d be a bit leery of a horse named Prince, Puddin’ or Pig. I leave the names out of my ads and I recommend that too. Nobody can be turned off if you leave it out. The idea is to have the person convinced to buy the horse before they ask the name.

You can sell your horse before they see it in person off a good ad good pictures. The idea for a good ad is to give all the positive and pertinent information in the ad. That way when they contact you, you know they are relatively serious.

Take your point form list of details and positives and massage them into sentences to build your ad. I’ll use my example info above to write one.

Header: Proven Barrel Horse
Description: Good looking 9-year-old 15.1 hh bay gelding that runs low 17’s on a standard pattern. He is very solid and honest on the pattern and put up solid with great conformation. Great to ride out of the arena and quiet enough anyone could work and ride him off the pattern. Easy to haul and stands like a gentleman at the trailer. Runs the same pattern inside and out, lots of videos available. Phone calls preferred.
Price $55,000

(Pro Tip:  It’s conFORMation, not conFIRMation.    It’s about how your horse is conformed,  how they’re put together rather than confirming information).

Many people ask me if they should list the price. I think you should list it. That way when you get people contacting you, you know they’re serious. One might argue that they’re protecting the interest of the buyer and I do get that, but honestly, people are going to find out, or just make up a price to rumor about anyway. You might as well get their facts straight and not waste your time getting calls from people that don’t know what a good horse is worth.
I have also seen people not put the price and say “serious” buyers and they’re actually asking much less than what I would have expected. That makes me wonder how many people didn’t call about the $10,000 horse because they thought serious inquiries (in their mind) meant they must want more than $25,000.     I don’t get offended when people don’t put the price, but remember these are tips on how to sell your horse for the best price with the least amount of headaches and I think adding the price helps with this.

I’ll talk more about pricing in another post, but for now, let’s get back to your list.

Now you’ve got all the positives out there and your list of things you need to disclose and answers to questions for callers or people that email you. Keep this list by your phone or computer for quick reference.

In the next post, I’m going to talk about preparing your horse for pictures and sale and then how to take good pictures. Pictures really are worth a 1000 words and can make or break your sale ad. You can make a horse look worse than they are in pictures and you can make them look better than they are in pictures. You can sell your horse off of pictures alone. They’re even more important than what you say in your ad. I’m going to show you how to take the best pictures to represent and sell your horse in the next installment. Stay tuned.

This post was sponsored by:


LDS UNLEASHED, A PROVEN WINNER, SIRING PROVEN COLTS! LDS Unleashed got off to a great start in 2017, by having the honour of gracing the cover of the “2017 Canadian Barrrel Racing Stallion Directory!” It was a fun year watching his colts doing what they love to do!

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