Showing Your Horse to Clients
When you have horses for sale you will inevitably have clients out to see your horse in person. If you have not had much experience in buying and selling horses, it is hard to know how best to present your horse to bring out his best characteristics for the clients.
The first thing to keep in mind is that first impressions can may or break a sale. Take a look at your barn. Is it clean and presentable? Are the stalls cleaned out, the aisle raked or swept, and the paddocks well fenced and clear of dangerous obstacles? If not you may need to upgrade your barn. From some facilities this can be a simple clean-up job. Other places are a lost cause and need lots of time and money to make them presentable. If this is the case you might want to look into boarding your sales horse at a local stable that has a good standard of care.
Assuming that your facility is in good shape you next need to consider your horse. While you can’t help it if your horse is shaggy in the winter, but whether sleek coated or extra hairy your horse should be groomed to a shine. If he is especially dusty but it is too cold for a bath you can hot towel the coat rubbing out the worst of the dirt. Excess hairs should be trimmed so that they are tidy. If your horse has white markings they should be scrubbed so that any stains are taken out. If the weather is nice the best idea is to give your horse a thorough bath to show him off the best.
Depending on your horse’s breed and discipline, you should ensure that your horse looks well suited to his job. If your horse is a show prospect he should look as though he could go to a show tomorrow. If he is a pleasure horse he should be clean and well trimmed, but he should not look as though he is ring-ready. Know your horse’s discipline and groom accordingly.
If your horse is a baby or cannot be ridden, make sure there is a free arena or paddock that the buyers can watch your horse move freely in. If your horse is started under saddle be sure to have a safe, fenced area in which the buyer can try the horse. Any tack, equipment, halters and brushes should be clean and in good repair. Make sure that there is someone who can ride your horse for the client before they try him as they will want to see him go under saddle.
For horses who are experienced in the ring or who have accomplishments under their belts it is a good idea to have an album of photographs or a video available to show the buyers when they arrive. For homebreds it is a good idea to have photos of the sire and dam if they are not available to be seen on property.
When the buyers arrive your horse should be in its stall, well groomed and ready to show. Your tack should be near at hand so you don’t need to waste time trying to find it. Most buyers will want to see the horse without tack first, then under saddle. If your horse is hot and needs to be longed or ridden before the buyer arrives, spend time well in advance preparing him, then bring him back into the barn to meet the clients. Be honest with them about your preparation of the horse, to do otherwise is dishonest and could lead to disaster if the client buys the horse and becomes injured because they did not know what the horse was really like.
Take your time with the clients, but be aware that they may have other place to go and be on a time limit. If they are interested go ahead and show them your other horses, but many buyers are focused on the horse they are looking at and have no desire to see the rest of the farm.
By presenting your farm and your horse at their best you increase the chance that the buyer will not only want to purchase your horse, but that they will be willing to pay the price you are asking. A poorly groomed horse at an unkempt facility only makes buyers want to dicker with the price and may completely turn them off before they even truly look at the horse. Taking good care of your horse and your clients will give you the best chance for a successful sale.