I will try to keep this a brief as possible. I have had a 4yr old Dutch mare in training for a friend for @ 6 months. Since I was without a horse to ride I had been nice and had been training for free to do her a favor. Mare came with some big problems I have gotten pretty much fixed (no idea leg meant go curled up etc) she was started by her owner who didn't really know what she was doing with a young horse. Owner has now decided she wants to sell her which is fine. The problem comes in the fact that she wants to price her what I consider far too high/above market value (10-15k too high) (every other professional friend I have talked to agree this price is way too high) she wants me to help her sell her and if she doesn't sell by Feb she will take her back as she "doesn't want to pay for a horse she isn't riding". Right now I'm inclined to tell her to just take the horse, I'm not sure I'm comfortable representing a horse for sale that is so overpriced. WWYD?
Tell her exactly what you think of how the selling will/should be and what are her options. That is her problem, not yours and she won't be able to blame you afterward for not warning her and telling her the truth. Be really polite and try not to sound condescending but tell her the truth.
1. She wants to get rid of it by february or she'll take her back home.
Selling a horse can take a little longer than 2 months.
If the horse goes back to her place, will she have the space/facility to properly show the horse to potential customer? Will the horse stay fit/rideable under her care only? Tell her that she'll have trouble getting a decent price if the horse is not well presented.
2. She wants 10-15k MORE than what you think this horse is really worth.
Explain to her that if she wants to sell quickly, she needs to price her horse accordingly. From the day she decided to sell, she is now 'loosing' money everyday.
With such a high price, her horse could stay unsold for many many months...or worst years. I've seen that.
It also burn potential buyers. If people see an ad at 30k. Customers will come and realised that the horse is too expensive for what it does. They won't buy it. Then the seller, after few months, will drop the price. Most customers who had seen the horse will have bought something elsewhere in the meantime, other potential buyers still lurking the ads will be really suspicious if the price drops too much.
Ex. someone I know of had a horse for sale. At first, he refused an offer at 9k and was even a bit offended by it saying how dare this person think my horse isn't worth at least the 11-15k I'm asking? (In my opinion at that time, I thought he would be lucky to get 7k)
Well this guy finally sold his horse 4yrs after for about 4k.
He'd been lowering his ad slowly from 15 to 11 to 9 to 8 to 7 to 6 to 5 to 'best offer'... He had to pay board/vet/farrier/whatever for 4 yrs! (approx: 7k per year x 4 : 28k so he spent 24k for being greedy and not accepting the 9k offer thinking he was loosing 6k!!!)
If you are in the business of buying and selling, will representing a horse that is so overpriced hurt your reputation?
Why does your friend think she is worth so much more? Would it help to show her horses that have similar traits and what they are advertised for or, better, sold for? Or show her horses that are worth what she is hoping for and discuss the differences?
If she truly thinks the horse is worth that, maybe the best thing to do is recommend another agent for her.
Ditto what a18 said: I also had a friend whose horse took months and months to sell at the price she wanted.
I would suggest she take the horse to another professional. You don't want to lose a friend over this (presumably?) or lose business for representing a horse that is 10-15k overpriced. She is more likely to listen to another professional than to you, and you know other professionals will tell her the same thing. I'd also explain that especially in this economy & especially if she insists on pricing her so high, the horse will likely not sell in 2 months. Is your friend really that clueless about horses or is she just blindsided for whatever reason and not thinking reasonably? Good luck. This is why its never a good idea to mix friends with business IMO.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
"With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Thanks for your helpful replies! I have shown her ads for similar horses, discussed what the differences between her horse and horses priced at what she wants to ask are until I'm blue in the face. She doesn't seem to want to listen and doesn't really have any concrete reasons for pricing her the way she wants to. Alibi - I have told her that two months is a short time to think you will sell a horse within - which also makes me think it's a bit if a waste of my time and she might as well just take the horse back now. I don't know what her facilities are like where she is but I know she doesn't have the time to keep the horse in work and doesn't have the skill to ride her which was how I ended up with her in the first place. I will tell her though that she is welcome to take her back but if she does it's for good - the mate came to me with a number of problems which I have fixed but which I'm not going to fix for free again!
Don't loose anymore of your time. And really, even if paid for, I wouldn't take back that kind horse to train. The owner will never be satisfied.
And make sure she doesn't use your name as a 'reference'. As soon as the horse will get back there, you don't want to be associate with its coming back bad behaviors. Really. And tell her that if ever clients are calling you for references, that you will tell them what YOU think about her horse.
I did the same as you. Had a horse in training for free for a year. After 10 months or so, the owner decided it wasn't a good match to her and wanted to sell. She was living far away in nowhere land. Told her I was going to advertise/train/present the horse/do the talking and involve her when a real buyer would come along so she could still be in the loop and have a look at the buyers.
Told her I was taking 15% commission and that I would advertised her horse for around 15k and be happy with an easy and quick sale at 12-13k.
She refused. Told me I was trying to rip her off. She picked her horse back, went home and tried to sell it herself for 20k. She putted pictures of me riding her horse in her ads and was telling people to call me if they wanted more info!!!!
I put an end to that pretty quickly!!! The horse was back to his usual self (biting/kicking/broncking) and I don't wanted my name to be associated with a horse I have no control over. She was pissed I had told some potential buyers that her horse wasn't worth what she ws asking for what he truly was.
I still don't understand what she was expecting of me after calling me a thief...
(and I know she still have that unruly horse in her backyard, it's been 6-7 yrs now)
Because you did all this training for free, she does not respect you nor consider you on par with "professionals". Refer her to a sales/training barn where she can face reality of what it will take to potentially sell her horse, which does not sound like it is worth 10-15K let alone being overpriced by that much. The average expenses at a sales barn is full training board (avg $1000-$1500 mo or more depending on part of country, 10% commission plus regular expenses. May need to have mare shown if it gets into spring and all of a sudden she 5 with no show record....
"The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"