Sometimes it takes years to get to the point where I feel proud to sell a horse.

Have you ever bought a horse, just to sell it?

I have. Many times over. And I’ll tell ya, it never gets any easier.

Unless I’m selling something that just isn’t a fit for our program and I price it low, I believe that selling good horses is a fairly involved process (and not always an easy one.) Whether you’ve had the same equine for 15 years or you roll 10 of them through your barn week by week, I understand the struggle of matching up the horse that you’re selling with the right person. You try to conduct yourself fairly and honestly. You price your animal accordingly and know beforehand whether you are firm on the number or open to offers. There are looky-loos and tire kickers, and those that are just certain you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

I understand skepticism, and I certainly understand wanting to make sure that the buyer wants to make a smart purchase. We all have to be cautious and intelligent when shopping for our next riding partner.

But I’m a little tired of the thought that anyone selling a decent horse for the proper amount is a crooked trader. There’s no denying that there are swindlers out there who will sell you an outlaw advertised as a kid-friendly backyard pony, but it’s your job to know those names beforehand and avoid them like the plague.

I can only tell you my perspective on the process and hope that it helps you, the prospective buyer, understand where a lot of us occasional “horse sellers” are coming from.

Many times, those of us who sell horses are asked, with skepticism:

“If he is what you say he is, then why on earth would you sell this horse?”

And here’s my answer.

woman walking with horse

Selling a horse is always a heavy, personal decision. The product that I’m putting on the market has been specifically fine-tuned and cultivated for this very thing. Sometimes it takes me years to get a horse to the point where I feel proud to sell him to his new home. Sometimes he’s sale-ready from the time I bought him.

My horse is for sale not because of what he’s done wrong, but because of what he’s done right. When I purchased him, I had the potential for a sale in my mind. Along the way, I’ve learned about his talents and personality and hope that I’ve helped to carry him in the best direction. He’s taught me a lot in the process of bringing him along and I hope that he’s learned some things, too. Due to my habits and experience (or sometimes lack thereof!), I’ve strived to create a gentle, well-rounded individual who is both user-friendly and enjoyable.

A horse in my program is picked because of his conformation, movement, personality and papers. I won’t buy a crippled horse and I refuse to sell one knowingly. If I’m happy to see him go, it usually means that he’s not the kind that I’m proud to sell. If he’s spooky or untrusting, his price will reflect that. If he’s priced high, he’s probably worth it. And until he’s been on a program where his feet, teeth, weight and general health have been monitored and maintained, I’m not comfortable sending him out into the world.

Because see, as a seller, my ultimate goal when buying a horse to re-sell is to be the home before his forever home. I want the next person to enjoy him until retirement. I love seeing pictures of my horses being enjoyed and loved by their new families. I love knowing that I’ve been a part of creating a happy relationship between horse and rider.

Sure it’s nice to make some money and I do enjoy the process, but when it’s all over and my horse is starring in someone else’s Facebook posts, I often miss my equine partner and friend. I liked his personality and I cherish the experiences we shared. My greatest hope when saying goodbye to a horse is that you, the buyer, will appreciate his quirks and excel in whatever direction you decide to take him in.

Because all money aside, the ultimate reward when selling my project horse to his forever home is being blessed with the opportunity to do it all over again.

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3 Comments

  1. Joanne Paolillo Reply

    Thank You! I really enjoyed your article!
    I am the leader of the Tahoe Rim Riders 4-H club in Kings Beach CA, on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe.
    We opened the door on our project Lady Luck Pack Station in 1988, the last horse property in our town, on the site of a historic pack station and stables.
    In our Club’s history, we have been “gifted” with horses that we had to work to make them what we needed in our program. That in turn turned some of my members into fine hands.
    We work our horses thru a relationship of Respect & Trust, using a Natural Horsemanship approach, even though we didn’t always have a name for it.
    We have struggled to find the right replacement horses for our club, do you have a website?
    I really appreciate your perspective on horses in general. As the North Shore has become developed, yet we sit on the boundary of Forest Service lands, we find ourselves in need of horses that are comfortable in an Urban Interface that can deal with Urbanised bears and heavy trail traffic of all kinds.
    Any feedback you have is Greatly appreciated.

    Happy Trails Ahead!

    Joanne Paolillo

  2. My granddaughter leased to own a beautiful smaller horse….he needed her….. For a year she worked to get him strong and healthy……she now owns him and her mare. Caring for two, with all the expenses that “care ” involves is a huge task that she is barely affording. This is about finding that special home for him, someone to pick up where she leaves off…..loves that little guy……we know that his forever home is coming soon. This one’s not about making money…..

  3. Nadine Ferguson Reply

    I love this article, it is hard to find the right horse after you have been spoiled by a good horse. You prepare that horse to be a good forever horse that is safe and sound. Keep up the excellent work.

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