In this day and age, selling horses should be easy, right? There are dozens of advertising sites available online. Every cell phone has a camera, so it’s possible to get at least one photo of the beast to attract attention. Yet casting a wider net still does not guarantee results.
I have a gelding for sale; I call him The Pony. He teeters precariously on the Pony/Not-A-Pony line of the measuring stick at 14.2-and-a-half; but to me, he’s a pony. I acquired him as a companion for my yearling colt, and as the colt is growing up, Pony’s services are no longer needed. It’s time for him to find a home where he can have a job and be appreciated.
Pony is green, cheap, and as such I don’t want to spend a lot on advertising. I opted for the free listing sites. I composed an honest, fair description of the Pony, including that he’s 14.2+, still green and not yet suitable for beginners, but okay for a junior or ammie with some experience. He’s sound, easy keeper, yadda yadda. With a couple cute pictures, I’m in luck– I get emails! Six inquiries within a few days, buyers are interested! Success!
Well, not exactly. Remember what I said about a wide net? Add a low price to that and you’ll have a lot of tire kicking. Out of a dozen emails, ONE person has come to try him. A very nice girl, a dressage rider looking for a basic walk/trot lesson pony. While she liked him and she said he was everything described in the ad, he was just too green for her needs. Back to the drawing board.
Other emails have had a sense of urgency (“I’m looking for something to buy within this week!“), or are one-liners like, “If u got on and tried to ride would he buck u off,” and “The horse is pretty do you think you could bring it to us or no.“ I’ve had messages from children, low-ball offers on an already bargain price, inquiries if his saddle comes with him (sorry, no tack for sale at this time), and someone asking if he could be a parade horse. I’ve never tried to sell a horse in this price range before; I figured it would be pretty easy, quick and simple. Boy was I wrong!
I have responded politely (though perhaps not always enthusiastically) to every message and thanked them for their interest. For the serious ones, I include links to video, additional pictures, and detailed information specific to their requests. For the others…I answer a few of the questions patiently but I try to make it clear this probably isn’t the right horse for them.
A buyer could come from anywhere, so as a seller it’s always important to answer any inquiries promptly and honestly. While it’s frustrating when barely 50% of them reply back, such is the game. I’d rather weed through a lot of emails and get serious buyers than have a lot of riders come try him only to find that he’s unsuitable for their needs. Still, I’m wondering why this is proving to be so difficult; is his price actually too low to attract my intended market? Should I change the wording in the ad? The photo?
So far, I’m learning that I’d much rather sell an event horse, a horse with mileage, and a horse with a higher price range– buyers who speak my language. Above all, I’m learning patience. The right person will come along eventually, I just need to be persistent. Patience and persistence…two things horses will teach you no matter the circumstance.