View Full Version : Marketing the "hony"

Aug. 7, 2009, 10:53 AM
Does anyone have any tips they'd like to share on marketing a "hony"? No specifics so as to not advertise... but hoping to find some insight on selling the "not 16hh+ with proven show record" horse!

M. Owen
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:13 AM
Well, these suggestions probably apply to marketing any horse, but try to emphasize the positive in your ads. For example, if the horse has a fantastic jump, mention that and back it up with a picture. Make video easily available, such as loading to youtube. In your photos/ video, try to have a rider that fits the horse, i.e. not too tall.

Also, be honest about the height- it will be obvious to people when they come to see anyhow. I wouldn't mention the words "hony" or "pony" anywhere in the ad. I actually prefer riding smaller horses, so when I was shopping a couple of years ago the max height I preferred was 16.1, and actually looked for a smaller horse. The range I would usually enter in sites was 15.0-16.1. There are other people like me out there, so there is a market for these smaller horses.

Aug. 7, 2009, 11:17 AM
We aren't planning on using either hony/pony - she is higher in the butt than the withers but is only 3 so we will probably mention both heights in the ad. The nice thing is she can handle a bigger rider as she has a pretty decent barrell. I do not feel large on her and I'm 5'8"!

M. Owen
Aug. 7, 2009, 11:28 AM
Where the horse is a 3yr old, you may also want to mention what the dam/sire have done if they are successful. If either parent is well known or won notable awards, that is probably also worth mentioning.

Aug. 7, 2009, 03:15 PM
3 yr old hony is a hard sell, especially a mare. If older and you could market for SS (where size doesn't matter) or pre-childrens you probably could get her done OK. But a three year old like that is going to be hard. Mostly because she is not going to be a "packer" at that age, and the people looking for something to put time and training into are likely going to want to go with either a decent size horse or a true pony. Another area where her size is less of a factor is eventing/dressage if she shows any ability in those areas.

Aug. 7, 2009, 03:20 PM
I don't think it's necessarily true that people wanting to put the time into a three year old are looking for height. As a smaller adult who doesn't bounce quite so well anymore, I like the little ones. If I were in the market for a youngster, I'd be looking small. When I got my current horse I was looking for smaller than what he is (but he's reasonably narrow, so that worked out).

An honestly measured 14.3-15.1 at 3 would be very interesting to me, especially if it was a nice mover (which is what I would emphasize).

Aug. 7, 2009, 03:27 PM
I don't think it's necessarily true that people wanting to put the time into a three year old are looking for height. As a smaller adult who doesn't bounce quite so well anymore, I like the little ones. If I were in the market for a youngster, I'd be looking small. When I got my current horse I was looking for smaller than what he is (but he's reasonably narrow, so that worked out).

An honestly measured 14.3-15.1 at 3 would be very interesting to me, especially if it was a nice mover (which is what I would emphasize).

I was talking about a trainer that might want to purchase one to make up for a year or so and then resale. Not an individual that is looking for something like this. There ARE a few people looking for smaller ones, but honestly that is more of the minority, particularly in the hunter world. Speaking from years of marketing/sales experience here. Not trying to "down" the OP's horse, don't know the horse at all. However, I have a SPECTACULAR moving 3 yr old, she is honestly a "10" mover, and stands about 15.1 and just turned three. If she were a hand taller we'd be talking in the mid five digits for her potential price, but at this size we are quite limited. Therefore we will "sit" on her, keep training her, hoping she at least makes 15.3 as she could be an awesome small junior and see how she matures out next year. But I have had trainers DROOLING over her, hoping she was a two year old!

Aug. 7, 2009, 03:32 PM
You're not downing my horse - it's a barnmates, actually. I'm hesitant to put too many details, but the horse in question is far enough along for a decent child rider to get around a course on. She is a cute enough move and a decent enough price that we are hoping a sale will be feasible... and hopefully quick... She is not fancy enough for a trainer to capitalize on but would do nicely in as a child's move up or a solid citizen for a smaller adult rider.

I know there is nothing we can do about the size but I was hoping to find some little nuggets that might help us with advertising, but so far it looks like we have all the bases covered. THanks for everyone's thoughts!

Aug. 8, 2009, 10:52 AM
Don't worry that no one is "looking" for a small horse.

Even if that's true, EVERYONE has to make concessions, and the lower the price range, the bigger the concessions. So remember, your buyer can either buy for talent, proven ability, typiness/confirmation/color, or attitude. EITHER. Not all.

So figure out into which category this horse falls. It sounds like a cross between proven ability (if a buyer can really see it get around a course with a decent kid) and attitude (ditto). That's a GREAT position to be in! All the "big horses" in your price range won't have both of those, for SURE. So that's your market - you have the most ready-to-go young horse in your price range. And a buyer who really wants a ready-to-go young horse won't buy the teacup-necked super-looky baby OTTB just because it's 16'3! A buyer who wants a horse that is 16'3 above all else will, but that person wasn't ever going to waste your time by calling anyway. So focus on the buyers who would be interested and market to them.

Then do some research, and make sure you have priced the hony so he is the MOST ready-to-go in his price range.

Imagine you're shopping: you can see the 15'2 TB that just came off the track, the 16'1 appendix that has been backed but not really worked, the ugly-but-safe older 13'3 pony, etc... You'd see yours first if you were looking for something ready to ride, right? In fact you'd be thrilled that there IS something so appropriate in your budget.

Don't get discouraged. Remember that not everyone can afford a proven, safe, big, typey horse AND that not everyone wants to buy a horse that needs to learn what "whoooooaaaaa!!!!!" means just because it is 17h. And for some people, what it's doing now is more important than looks/height/color/age/etc. :yes:

Good luck!

Aug. 8, 2009, 12:05 PM
Firstly, don't call it a "hony" it's a small hunter.

Secondly, there are a lot of ladies that hunt that like the smaller horses..........try that.

Children's Hunters
If it's well bred, breeders love that size.

Aug. 8, 2009, 04:29 PM
is he/she fancy enough for shows? that would help

these are advantages of having a hony, so make sure you mention this in your ad:
- great for moving up from the pony (assuming this hony is sane enough that a teenager can handle safely)
- great for a small adult

what is your horses strong spot? does the hony have a fancy huntery canter? a really great jump? make sure you really point out the strong points. cover all your bases, though.

Does the hony have any good bloodlines? (example: if it was from a well-known breeder and obviously ended up being the 'overgrown' of the bunch, it wouldnt hurt to mention that he/she had a fancy pony hunter sire, insert fancy hunter pony sire's name here)

also, if the horse isn't quite suitable for real showing (as in maybe he/she'd do okay packing kids around at schooling shows and what not, but not fancy enough for the A's) consider finding a good lesson program. Hony's are great for lesson barns. There's plenty of kids who are just a bit big for ponies but feel frightened or are too small to handle a real big horse, and so hony's are nice to have around. market hony as a lesson horse prospect, and pin up flyers at local tack shops. stick some in the mail boxes of nearby lesson barns, or drop them an email or phone call if youre friendly with the owners or trainers of those barns

Aug. 8, 2009, 06:34 PM
Unfortunately part of your issue is going to be that it's three. People that are looking for small horse usually are looking for one that is suitable for a kid or adult amateur. No matter how quiet and made the horse goes, they're still going to be put off because it is so young. A friend of mine was marketing a 3yo last year that was dead quiet and capable of jumping around with just about anyone that could climb aboard, and all she heard was "well, but he's three....". People don't seem to realize that they get older quickly ;).

Aug. 9, 2009, 12:36 AM
I agree that the fact that it is three is an issue. I had a gelding that was supposed to be a large pony hunter, except that he finished at 15.1 and developed more knee action around 2 and three years old than I expected. But he was cute and had a great brain. My hunter pony plan went out the window with him, but as a late four year old he was point and shoot over 2'9" courses, did beginner novice x-country like he'd been doing it forever, and was solid at first level if the rider was decent. I'd taken him to a couple of schooling shows, a pair pace, trail rides, etc. I didn't have much interest in him as a barely started three year old, but when I put him online as a late four year old, he literally sold within four hours and I must have had twenty calls on him. I couldn't believe it. I didn't get the money for him that I originally was hoping for as a hunter prospect, but I was satisfied.

If you have the time and resources, I'd keep the hony, put some effort into him, and look at making it an all arounder...or see if it works as an eventer or dressage horse.

Aug. 9, 2009, 12:42 AM
Pony Club, Eventing, Dressage, local circuits

Aug. 9, 2009, 01:04 AM
I agree-point out the strong points.

Personally speaking, I would LOVE a young, but broke, prospect to finish and is well under 16hh. My horse is 14.3 and I love his size-bigger horses intimidate me. I'm sure there are others out there who would be happy with his small size. The three might be an issue as most three-year olds just aren't packers yet, and many looking in this size range want a packer. Four, and started O/F, if the horse is quiet, could be quite marketable.

Aug. 9, 2009, 03:33 AM
I think that in the last few years the horse market has really idolized the larger horses. However, I know a lot of people who are desperately trying to buy or sell in this market because of economic problems. I think that, because of this, it is possible that buyers are becoming a little less picky than they have been in previous years. It is possible that the more petite amateurs will decide to settle for the younger, greener horse, without trying to find the biggest flashiest horse possible, depending on their price range. I agree with what most of the other posts say; don't worry about her height and instead just try to honestly advertise her potential.

Aug. 9, 2009, 06:51 PM
Jeez, I really don't think of 16-16.1 as "hony" sized. 15-15.1 maybe. Am I nuts? (Well, don't answer that, I mean "all that out of the loop." :D) Equus had an article recently refuting the whole "bigger is better" thing, quite extensively mapped out with biomechanics. Basic premise was, to compensate the physical stress for a hand's worth of height, cannon and hoof size would to increase to, well, way over what it does. Can't remember the actual numbers, but their point was, it would be enough that it would start not looking like a horse as we know it any more. And that the bigger physical horses are stronger in performance has not been proven, according to the article - while they claim to be able to prove through the biomechanics that they are more subject to breakdown. Food for thought?

Aug. 9, 2009, 06:58 PM
I am a small adult that personally loves smaller horses and ponies as my ride of choice. There is a market out there you just have to wait for the right person.

The size of the horse you mention doesn't scare me at all, but I would be concerned about a three-year old that is jumping courses, especially if s/he is still growing (which you indicated with the butt high statement). I know there are plenty of people out there that do jump young ones but I personally never start o/f work until four. I find it is much better for the joints and long term soundness. I don't like to rush any youngsters and have a 3-yr old large pony here that we haven't even started on the flat because she is still growing and just isn't ready.

Just my personal opinion of course and one which I'm sure many disagree with.

Aug. 9, 2009, 07:55 PM
It does seem to be a tough market. The current CANTER Mid Atlantic resale project is a cute mare that CANTER has owned for 2 yrs. She has been lightly shown, extensively trail ridden, hunter paced and more. She was advertised for a bit and then just put back in the field because she didn't sell. She is now at my farm and I figured I would get a lot of emails. She is 15.1 1/2 but say 15.2. Good size barrel and doesn't look to small for average height riders. Zero issues still a bit green but lots of talent. Will do well in the hunter ring but just started to really learn how to jump and is already going around course quietly. Quiet! Dark bay with white. Low 4 figure price range. 4 emails no follow up!
http://dixierumble.wordpress.com/ (see some pics).

I think the plan to make them into all around types of horses to fit the pony club market is the way to go and something I do with all of our horses. Trail ride them, a bit of x-c schooling, some hunter shows, events and more to make them appeal to a board market.

I think that size is the perfect size for kids moving up off ponies because they are often scared by big strided horses and this allows them to ease into it.

Go Fish
Aug. 9, 2009, 11:38 PM
If the "hony" has the step, I don't see that size is an issue. In my part of the country, pony kids moving up to horses are looking for something around 15-15.2 hands. Having a nice, relaxed stride that can make the distance makes an easy sell. It's difficult to put a child on a 16.0 hand plus horse as they make the transition from ponies. These kids often don't have the strength or skill to handle a full-grown horse. Honys with step make life a whole lot easier on the kids moving up.

Aug. 10, 2009, 09:54 AM
The size of the horse you mention doesn't scare me at all, but I would be concerned about a three-year old that is jumping courses, especially if s/he is still growing (which you indicated with the butt high statement).

Just my personal opinion of course and one which I'm sure many disagree with.

Not at all, that is quite sensible.

I think with this one, it's kid of hard to say without knowing how tall it actually is. And if it stays downhill, thats going to limit. Alot....depending on breeding, you might be looking at what it is going to be-don't count on it evening out.

There is still a good market for the local, jack of all trades kind of horse that is kid or small adult size. One that is accepting, quiet, halfway attractive, willing to try anything and nice to be around in the barn.

We sometimes get wrapped up with all this getting down the lines and stuff when most horses are never going to see that kind of ring anyway. So it does not matter if it's not 17.1 or only has an 11' step, if that.

IMO marketing as safe and sensible and getting some trail riding miles on it, introducing all sorts of off the rail and out of the ring things like a simple (slow) barrel pattern, trail obstacles (like opening and closing a gate, being mounted from both side, ground tie) will serve this one better then any thought of jumps at 3 and downhill build. It's fun, reinforces basic aids and teaches skills that might attract a buyer looking for a fun horse.

Forget marketing as the next Strapless or Medal Finlas winner, market what it is. A nice horse that's a nice size for most people given a good foundation and skills to go various directions.

Aug. 10, 2009, 10:29 AM
I do want to thank everyone for their input. I have passed on the suggestions to the horse's owner and am hoping she wants to take the gal to a little XC schooling so we can see how she does!

I agree that 3 is young to have done as much as she has, but she's not my horse and I did not make the training decisions on her. However, she does have a good base education, including trails, trailering, etc. that would appeal to me if I were on the search for a nice horse who needed a little finishing.

Aug. 10, 2009, 11:42 AM
Quiet will go a long way. I have a hony that I meant to resell as a childrens jumper when I picked her up. She jumps great and makes the steps without an issue. But between being small. older and hot hot hot.....I still own her and now she's a lifer with me :lol: I personally like small and I am also 5'8" so getting stuck with a 15.1 hand mare was not a big issue.

Downhill is a big issue to me but the mare is only 3. She might grow a bunch in the next few years. Also, if she is jumping around more than 2 ft, it's a bit of a concern as well for her future soundness. I would market her as the perfect horse for a kid coming off a pony or a teenagers first green project. I would get her out to some North Texas type shows and do some flat classes and maybe get a kid to take her around the crossrails and take pics for her ad. That would sure make her more appealing. Good luck to your friends. It's a tough market right now.