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How to Sell a Horse: Easy Step by Step Guide

Selling a horse can be overwhelming, but in this article, you’ll learn easy-to-follow steps for how to sell a horse fast. As a bonus, you can even download a free printable checklist that makes the process even easier.

Everything from moving to a new area, a change in finances, or outgrowing your mount can contribute to the difficult decision to sell your horse. It can be very daunting if you don’t know where to start. Deciding it is time to sell your horse can be really tough, and our quiz on Whether your Should Sell Your Horse asks only some of the questions you’ll need to consider- but the sale process itself doesn’t have to be difficult.

Create an Ad With a Photo of Your Horse

Once you have decided that you are ready to sell your horse, there are many steps to follow to get through the sale process. First, you will need to create a sale ad. You should start by getting a picture of your horse to use in the ad. It is very important that the picture shows your horse looking their absolute best.

Make sure to give them a good grooming first, and maybe even a bath if you really want them to shine, which is ideal if the ad will run in color. The next thing to consider is how to pose your horse. If you are selling a gaming, barrel, or jumping horse, then an action shot might be a good idea. For other horses, posing them on flat ground with a side view is best.

You may need to take a lot of pictures from different angles and in different locations before you get the best one. Keep in mind, this photo will be potential buyers’ first impression of your horse, so you’ll want to make sure it’s a good one. 

Young rider jumping a small jump in two point position.
Good sale photos offer a glimpse of the horse in action under saddle or pictured from the side while the horse is standing square.

Write Your Horse Sale Ad

Next, you will need to write up the listing. If it is going to be published in the newspaper or a magazine, keep in mind there will be word limits. Online listings may or may not have word limits, but you still don’t want the ad to be too wordy. Keep the information to the key highlights – age, sex, breed, contact information, type of riding/work the horse is best for, and level of rider needed.

The last two points are particularly important. You want your horse to be going to the best home possible, so you need to be upfront about your horse’s strengths and weaknesses. The final piece of the ad is listing your asking price.

If you are unsure how much to list your horse for, you can take it to a local horse trainer and get their opinion, or look around at ads for similar horses and see how much they are selling for. Pricing a horse is subjective, not everyone will view a horse the same way, so it may be better to price your horse slightly higher than you think, so you have room to come down in price if need be. 

Download a Free Printable (and Editable!) Guide To Selling Your Horse

With this zip file (containing both a PDF and an editable .doc file) you can make your horse selling checklist as detailed or complex as you need to. It helps take a monumental multi-step process and convert it into actionable steps.

Download A Printable To Do List for Selling A Horse editable horse sale to do list mockup

Make a Sale Video of Your Horse

In addition to the listing, it may be beneficial to create a video of your horse being ridden to email to potential buyers. This gives them the opportunity to see the horse in action before deciding if they want to test ride them. Though it may take time to film and edit the video to sell a horse- it can save hours of time you’d spend meeting potential buyers, saddling up, and answering questions from buyer’s who would know from a video the horse is not a good fit.

The video doesn’t need to be very long, just enough to show your horse going through a walk, trot, and canter each direction with transitions. gain, if they are a jumper or gaming horse, it would be a good idea to add some shots of them in action to the video so buyers can see the whole package. 

HINT: Don’t waste time over-editing a video in hopes it will help sell a horse. Savvy buyers will wonder what happened between cuts! Instead, consider filming in just one or two long shots and letting potential buyers see the raw footage.

The Test Ride: The Key to Sell a Horse

This is a very important part of what it takes to sell a horse. Much like test driving a car before purchasing, it is always recommended for buyers to try out a horse before deciding to buy them. It is a good idea to wait to tack up the horse until the potential buyer arrives so they can see how the horse handles it.

They will often want the current owner, or someone affiliated with them, to warm up the horse first, so they can see how the horse rides from on the ground, and see how they behave with a rider they know well. After that, the buyer will want to ride them to see if they will be a good fit for each other.

A test ride should not be particularly long, however, you want to make sure the potential buyer gets enough time on the horse to make an informed decision. If you feel the buyer is not the right fit for your horse, either because of experience level or you do not like how they handle the horse, you are within your right to politely end the test ride and move on to other potential buyers. 

Get a Thorough Vet Check

Once you have found the perfect buyer for your horse, you can move forward with the sale. The next step will be a vet check so the buyer is certain there is nothing physically wrong with the horse. This is typically done with a vet of the buyer’s choosing. It is very important to be upfront with the buyer from the beginning regarding any injuries, vices, or quirks the horse might have. Trying to hide this information now can result in legal action down the road if the buyer deems you were dishonest about the horse.   

Transferring Ownership of the Horse

Depending on the state you live in, there may be different requirements for transferring ownership of a horse, so be sure to check beforehand. There are only a few states that require there to be a bill of sale with specific information included when selling a horse; however, a written contract or bill of sale are highly recommended regardless of where you reside.

A contract can be simple, as long as it includes the names of the seller and the buyer, identifying information of the horse, the date, the price, and any other agreed upon additions or necessary disclosures about the horse and transaction. It should also mention how and when the funds from the sale will be transferred to you, which will be decided between you and the buyer.

Transporting the Horse to Their New Home

The final step in selling your horse is making sure they are safely delivered to their new home. This should be discussed with the new owner to decide the best way to transport the horse, and agreed to by both parties in advance. You may even want to include the transportation logistics in the sale contract to avoid any confusion.

The new owner may want to pick up the horse themselves, or it may be better for you to provide the delivery. If the horse is being moved a long distance, such as to another state, it may be necessary to hire a transportation company to haul the horse for you. This will all depend on the distance the horse needs to travel, and the availability of a truck and trailer. 

There is a lot that goes into selling your horse and it can be intimidating at times. Being clear, open and honest with the buyer will help prevent headaches. The most important thing to do when selling your horse is to make sure that they are going to a good home. 

Additional resources for selling a horse are available through this University of Connecticut fact sheet on buying a horse.

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