Selling a horse can be emotional especially if you have had it for a long time or if you are really attached. Selling a horse can also sometimes be involuntary. Not all of us have an infinite amount of money to throw towards riding, and not all of us are lucky to own more than one horse. If your goals change, you may have to sell your horse in order to get another one that will help you reach your goal, whether it’s moving up in jumping or pursuing a new discipline.
Believe it or not, I sold a horse for the first time a few months ago. As many of you may know, I used to own a 5 year old Arabian. I bought him when I had no intention of showing, jumping, or doing anything that he would not be able to do. Unfortunately, once I began riding with my trainer, it was painfully clear that he and I were not a match – for several reasons.
- I discovered I liked horses with bigger strides that were taller than 16hh. This was quite a shock after spending my entire riding career on small horses and ponies. My Arabian had a small stride and was only 15.1hh.
- I decided I wanted to jump more and eventually make it to the 3’6″ level. While my Arabian did love to jump, he was going to max out at 2’9″, if that.
- I love the hunters and the equitation. My Arabian was definitely a jumper.
- My Arabian’s true calling was trail riding – something I do not like to do.
It was a decision I knew I had to make, and quite frankly, I had decided to sell him long before I even started advertising him. Part of me was in denial and wanted to make it work. The other part was attached and felt guilty because I had never sold a horse before, and I truly believed when I got him that he would be a forever horse.
I sold him to someone who talked a big game and had all these plans for him. He eventually ended up coming back. She claimed he had behavioral issues, but eventually admitted to me that she had buyer’s remorse about purchasing a green 5 year old Arab. Luckily, I found the perfect home for him after that, and they are both doing extremely well. He is now a western pleasure horse, and I must say that seems to be his true calling.
When selling a horse, some feelings and emotions may come up for you, and you may not know whether these are ‘okay.’ Here’s what I learned when selling a horse for the first time.
- It’s okay to be picky about where your horse goes. If you care about your horse and are selling him or her because you have to, it’s okay to be selective about to whom you sell your horse. I was very picky. I wanted my horse to go to a good home with someone who intended on keeping him forever. I didn’t want him to end up in a bad situation or at an auction. As long as you’re not unreasonable, having standards for who buys your horse is perfectly acceptable!
- It’s okay to ask for a right of first refusal or to put a no auction/slaughter clause in the sale contract. Most people are amenable to signing a contract with these provisions. Make sure that the buyer understands what they mean. These clauses are a good way to give you peace of mind on your horse’s whereabouts in the future.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Again, unless you know the person buying your horse, it’s possible for someone to lie about their true intentions or to tell you how great of a horse owner they are when they really aren’t. Asking for references will give you a good idea of whether this person is someone you would want caring for your horse.
- Start at your highest (realistic) price. If you want a quick sale, this may not be a tip for you, but if you’re willing to wait, start your asking price at the highest realistic price for your horse. That way, you don’t shortchange yourself by selling for a cheaper price if someone would have bought him or her for more. If no one is biting, you can always lower the price.
- Crying when your horse leaves is normal. I bawled when my horse left. I didn’t want to sell him but I knew it was the right decision for both of us. It’s okay to cry! You may have owned this horse for a long time and have a lot of history with him or her. Selling an animal isn’t supposed to be emotionless, so don’t be embarrassed if you get teary eyed when your soon to be former equine gets on the trailer.
Selling a horse can be hard, and it’s okay to be unsure of how to feel. But the important thing to remember is it’s okay to feel sad, stressed, and/or picky. As long as your behavior isn’t too off-putting to potential buyers, you’re in the clear!