Selling Your Horse: 6 Ways to Prepare Your Horse For a Sale

 selling your horse

Selling Your Horse: 6 Ways to Prepare Your Horse For a Sale

Are you planning on selling your horse soon? There are 6 things you should know about how to prepare your horse, so read on to learn the best way to do it.

Keyword(s): Selling Your Horse

Did you know there are more horses in the US than any other country on earth?

At 9.5 million horses in the nation, there’s no doubt about it. For business or pleasure (or both), we’re a horse-obsessed society.

Buying a new horse is exhilarating–but selling your horse can be a stressful experience.

Is there anything you can do to ensure your horse goes to the right home? What do you need to do to prepare your horse (and yourself) for the selling process?

In this post, we’ll outline 6 tips to make the transition as easy as possible. Read on to learn more!

1. Start with Handling

Prospective buyers want a horse that’s responsive and easy to handle.

What if your horse is very young or you’re the only one who really handles him? Don’t wait until a buyer shows up to see how the horse responds to strangers.

Now is the time to expose him to different handlers and riders (if he’s broken under saddle). Have others lead, groom, saddle, and ride him and study his response.

He might not be quite as comfortable as he with you–and that’s understandable. But regardless of who’s handling him, he should at least remain calm and obedient.

2. Perfect Those Ground Manners

While we’re still on the ground, it’s time to focus in on how your horse behaves while you’re on foot.

  • Is he easy to catch in the field?
  • How does he behave around other horses?
  • Does he walk quietly through gates and crowded barn aisles?
  • Does he stand calmly while being groomed and tacked?
  • Is he cooperative for the farrier, vet, and other handlers?
  • Does he nip or kick while being tacked?

A horse that’s timid, fidgety, or aggressive is a turnoff for many buyers. Of course, there’s no such thing as a perfect horse, and it’s impossible to eliminate every possible vice.

Still, every horse is capable of learning good basic ground manners. If your horse needs a bit of polishing in this area, work on it now before listing him for sale.

3. Practice Lunging and Leading

Unless your horse is used for riding lessons, it may have been a while since he was on a lunge line.

Before buyers try him under saddle, most want to see how the horse moves from the ground. This allows them to watch the horse go through his paces and evaluate him for any lameness.

Make sure your horse is obedient and calm at the end of a lunge line. Take him into a round pen or arena for a few practice sessions. He should also willingly trot up beside you if you jog in an open space.

4. Alleviate Loading Woes

Unless your horse is going to a new home down the street, chances are he’ll need to travel there in a trailer.

If your horse is used to traveling for shows or other events, trailering shouldn’t be an issue. But if you haven’t left your property in a while–or never left it at all–you need to know how your horse responds to a trailer.

Nothing is going to make a prospective buyer run away like a hard-to-load horse. Before listing your horse for sale, make sure he walks calmly on and off a trailer.

If possible, practice loading him on different types of trailers–two-horse, goosenecks, walk-throughs. That way, whenever his new owner claims him, there won’t be any fireworks during the loading process.

5. Other Behavioral or Health Issues

These are the most common behavioral problems, but they’re not the only ones.

If you don’t already know, it’s time to make a list of anything that spooks your horse or makes him overreact. These might include:

  • Dogs
  • Children
  • Other horses/animals
  • Cars/traffic
  • Trash cans/recycling bins
  • Puddles/water
  • Clippers/anything that buzzes
  • Wind/thunder

Again, it may not be possible to desensitize your horse for every little thing. But you’ll want to be honest in your advertisement, so you need to know what he reacts to.

The same goes for a young horse or a horse that’s just started under saddle. Work on smoothing out his transitions and reaction times as best you can. But be prepared to make a full disclosure of any hitches you experience along the way.

Another important point: No one’s going to buy a lame horse, so don’t try to sell a horse with major health issues. Make sure he’s healthy and sound before you try to sell, and again–be honest if there are any underlying issues.

6. Make That First Impression Count

Even if your horse isn’t a million dollar show pony, there’s no reason you can’t make him look like one.

When you do set up an appointment for someone to view him, remember you only get one chance to make that first impression. Before the buyer arrives, spend as much time as necessary making your horse look his best.

Start with a good bath and some ShowSheen to make his coat, mane, and tail shine. If possible, arrange to have his hooves trimmed or new shoes put on a few days before the meeting.

Another tip? Wash your saddle pad and polish the tack the buyer will use to try him out.

The cleaner and more presentable you make your horse (and everything attached to him), the better your chances of making the sale.

Final Thoughts on Selling Your Horse

Selling your horse is never an easy task.

While you want to be sure you get a fair price, your top priority is making sure the horse will be well cared for in its new home.

When you’re ready to begin the selling process, refer back to the list above. That way, you’ll have the greatest chance of finding the right buyer for your four-legged companion.

If you’re ready to create an online ad for your horse, click here. We’re here to help you match your horse to the best prospective buyers.

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