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  1. #1

    Default Showing a hunter (to a buyer)

    Hello all,

    I have a hunter for sale and have some buyers coming to try him in the upcoming weeks. I've never shown a horse to a buyer in a non-horse show situation so I need a little help...I'm obviously going to have the horse clipped, bathed and gleaming, but would you braid the horse to show to clients?

    Sometimes with hunters, they just look like a much nicer picture when they're braided up, and it's easier to imagine said horse in the hunter ring when it's braided. Is this overkill?



  2. #2
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    I would say it's overkill, unless it's a 6 figure horse, and even then may be overkill, but would be appreciated.

    Anything you do, really, to help represent the horse to the best of his ability, is appreciated by the buyers.

    As far as actually showing them to him, I wash/bathe/clip either the day before or that morning depending on when they're coming. I don't ride the horse at all until they get there. I want them to see the horse as I do on a day-to-day basis to get the full, honest picture.

    I pull him out of his stall, go about my normal tacking up business, letting them watch and ask questions throughout and basically just go through the normal schooling routine.

    Walk-trot-canter both directions and then move on to light jumping before letting them hop on. Just enough to put him through his paces to show what he can do and then I let them take their time and try him and get comfortable.

    If they want to see more, they can ask and I would be happy to put him through more rigorous schooling, but only if they ask.
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  3. #3
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    Recommend all of the above. I've seen people at my barn hop on just for a lap or two before the people even get there just to see if the horse is being his normal stuff. Sometimes it may be helpful to have a barnmate ride him for a few laps first too.



  4. #4
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    I would not braid, nor have I ever seen/tried a horse that's been braided (unless they were showing).

    The horse should be out of the stall, groomed, bridled, wrapped, and waiting in the crossties. Just put the customer's saddle on when they arrive. That's how every show/sale barn I've ever been in has done things.



  5. #5
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    In my experience, the horse is hacked in the morning and bathed and shined up like a new penny, tacked and waiting. No wraps or boots on hunters. They should be shown like they're going into the ring, but no braiding necessary.
    What I lack in preparedness I make up for in enthusiasm


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Ridge View Post
    I would not braid, nor have I ever seen/tried a horse that's been braided (unless they were showing).

    The horse should be out of the stall, groomed, bridled, wrapped, and waiting in the crossties. Just put the customer's saddle on when they arrive. That's how every show/sale barn I've ever been in has done things.
    Where in the world do you get clients that show up at the appointed hour? 9 out of 10 times my poor horses would be over it by the time customers actually got to the barn. I have the horse clean but relaxing in the stall until they pull in the drive.


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  7. #7
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    I agree with letting the horse hang out in the stall - and as a prospective buyer, I want to see how the horse behaves when being tacked. Is it girthy or fidgity? Does it accept the bridle willingly? does it cross tie? (I know someone selling a horse that does.not.tie)
    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2tempe View Post
    I agree with letting the horse hang out in the stall - and as a prospective buyer, I want to see how the horse behaves when being tacked. Is it girthy or fidgity? Does it accept the bridle willingly? does it cross tie? (I know someone selling a horse that does.not.tie)
    Most buyers of high-end hunters could care less about how the horse behaves in the cross-ties or while getting tacked up. If they're trying multiple horses, they don't want their time to be wasted watching each horse get tacked up.

    (Also, what horse can't stand quietly in the cross-ties for a little while?)



  9. #9
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    But you are assuming OP has several hunters to sell...when infact the post sounds like one horse. High or low end, groom and have everything ready. It takes 30 seconds to put the bridle on, so leave the horse in the stall. Why pull one horse out and have it hang out on cross ties for (who knows how long) while you are waiting for the buyer? Often times when people come out to see ONE horse, they have time to ask a few questions and chat while you are tossing the bridle on.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Ridge View Post
    Most buyers of high-end hunters could care less about how the horse behaves in the cross-ties or while getting tacked up. If they're trying multiple horses, they don't want their time to be wasted watching each horse get tacked up.

    (Also, what horse can't stand quietly in the cross-ties for a little while?)
    You've seriously never seen a horse that can't cross tie? WOW.

    Back to the question....

    Basically what everyone said except the part about getting on him directly before. I would present him as is. Have a few friends ride him the days leading up to the trial if you like, but not the day of. TBH if you are selling the horse you should know before someone asks to try him what he's like with different riders in the saddle. People do like to know a horse can stand quietly to be tacked in my experience, but that's up to you. As someone mentioned customers may have their own saddles so be prepared for that.
    "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


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Event4Life View Post
    You've seriously never seen a horse that can't cross tie? WOW.
    I haven't. It's a pretty accepted part of any "real" horse's life, is it not?

    The OP asked for opinions and I shared mine, based on experiences in three BNT show/sale barns in California, Texas, and New Jersey.


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  12. #12
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    Sep. 11, 2011
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    I prefer to see the horse from grooming to tacking up, actually from the pasture if its a horse that is turned out.

    Its definitely worth my time and its a critical part of the picture as I am the main person tacking/riding the horse. A horse MUST tie, be nice for the feet/bit, not show any saddling issues, etc.

    Also you can tell a lot about under saddle work by the interactions on the ground.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Ridge View Post
    Most buyers of high-end hunters could care less about how the horse behaves in the cross-ties or while getting tacked up. If they're trying multiple horses, they don't want their time to be wasted watching each horse get tacked up.

    (Also, what horse can't stand quietly in the cross-ties for a little while?)
    I see where you're coming from on that... There was one girl at my barn who only spent time with her horse leading it up to the ring and riding it. The rest was taken care of by the grooms, but I wouldn't necessarily agree that most people don't care how the horse is on the cross ties.. Especially kids. IMO I would like to see the horse getting tacked up. We had a horse at our barn that would RUN out of the crossties every time and drag you as long as you could hold on, and then run loose on the property, if you weren't armed with a whip. That is most definitely something I would want to know about. I feel like at some point in everyone's riding career they're probably going to have to tack up their horse at least once...therefore, I would definitely want to know. Even though I have grooms to do everything for me, and a fancy shmancy barn, doesn't mean I don't want my horse to have good ground manners.


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  14. #14
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    I ask the prospective buyers to call when they are about 20 minutes out. This gives me time to put the horse in the crossties, pick/hoof oil feet, make sure mane and tail look nice, do one last rub down with a rag, and get out all tack. That way if (when) the buyer is late the horse isn't bored out of it's mind in the crossties, or running out of quarters if it's a youngster. I tack up while the buyer is asking questions and looking the horse over. The buyers that care about how they are to tack up generally pick up feet, pay attention during girthing and bridling, while other buyers could care less. Under saddle I do a mini version of what our normal workout would be. Before I jump I ask if they would like to see anything else on the flat. Then do a quick warmup o/f and a course or two. Ask the buyer if they want to se anything else jumping then they hop on.

    As far as braiding, I have only looked at one horse (not at a show) that was braided. I thought it showed extra effort by the owner but didn't have an impression on how I felt about the horse. I think as long as the horse is gleaming and showing signs of excellent care you should be just fine (clean tack/pads too).

    Each buyer is different, when I'm talking to them prior to an appt. I try to get a feel for how they want the horse to be shown. Good luck showing your guy!
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  15. #15
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    I think the variance in answers you have gotten about where people want the horse when they arrive is because people are coming from different situations. Tha Ridge's way is now it most of the high end barns do it. Not that you can paint everyone with the same brush, but...people with the BNT are going to be used to having grooms, may be looking at a huge string of horses in a day (or headed over from ghe show ring or something else that is demanding of their, or more likely, their trainers time), and really just emphasizing the riding. Then yes, it is typical to have the horse on cross ties, or in the stall pre groomed and booted, ready to throw the tack on. Yes, they will usually bring their own saddle, but just in case they don't, have one ready, and make sure the leathers will go up or down a reasonable amount.

    On the other hand, if someone is probably going to be doing all the work themselves, the ground manners will be more important to them, and they may want to see the process from start to finish. That said, I would still start with a clean horse, because no one needs to wash you rub at a poo stain, and have your tack ready, so you aren't running around the barn while they stand there waiting.

    Anyway, you can probably get a pretty good idea of which category the potential buyer is in by your communication before the trial. In the first inquiries, were a lot of questions about ground stuff asked, or just about what the horse does under saddle. Is is all being arranged through the trainer? Did they say they are bringing a trainer, or coming themselves/with a friend. Are they flying in or driving from down the street! Of course there is always a chance of misjudging, but if you think about it, I think you can figure what their expectations might be.

    That said, either way, braids are overkill. Have the mane neat, do training braids leading uo to the day if needed.

    We did have one person want to try a horse with a fake tail once, just to see if it would balance out his XL head, lol....but that was on like their third trial and they were still on the fence.


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  16. #16
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    Gleaming and clean, but not braided. I would have the horse ready to tack and ask the buyers if they want to re-groom/bond with him a bit or get onto riding. It only takes a couple minutes to tack if the horse is clean and everything is out and ready.
    I find that grooming/bonding time with the animal to be particularly useful in assessing fit. If the beast is mushing with me in no time flat and super patient, that bodes well.
    (In fact, I'm thinking now of one horse that left his grain to mush with me. I should've bought him...)
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tha Ridge View Post
    I would not braid, nor have I ever seen/tried a horse that's been braided (unless they were showing).

    The horse should be out of the stall, groomed, bridled, wrapped, and waiting in the crossties. Just put the customer's saddle on when they arrive. That's how every show/sale barn I've ever been in has done things.
    I hate it when the horse is tacked when I get there. Makes me wonder if the sellers are hiding something.

    Just groom him as normal and have him in. The ask the buyer if they want to tack or if they want you to do it.
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  18. #18
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    We've always done it that when the buyer arrives the horse is on the crossties - groomed, gleaming, feet painted, polos on, mane wetted over and tail brushed out. If the customer is late, we just stick him back in his stall and pull him and brush off polos and re-paint feet when we see them coming down the driveway. As for braids, I've never braided a horse for a trial nor have I tried one that was braided when we weren't at a show. However, if the horse has a fake tail and looks better with a fake, we usually go ahead and tie it in. Appearance is part of it!

    As far as seeing the horse being groomed and tacked up, I don't really care how the horse is to groom and tack up. If he's a quality animal and we mesh well when I'm sitting on him, then I could give two hoots if he's horrendous to groom and tack up. Maybe that's just me, but how he is to ride far outweighs his behavior when tacking up and being groomed.


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  19. #19
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    I'd have the horse groomed and in cross ties, this may sound silly but I'm a big feet person. I'd like to look at the horses legs (so no wraps) and the feet, I'd also liked to see how the horse is at being tacked, and how calm/awake they can be at this time. I'd like to see how the owner also handles the horse compared to what I would do on a regular basis just to see the small things that I would change.
    I definitely wouldn't braid unless you were showing, which you explained you're not. But then I would do a light hack, and light jumping then allow the client to get on. Of course, I'd ask to see where they'd like to see more, and at their request you can do more work/answer questions! Good luck!
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  20. #20
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    Just thought of something else...always make sure the client has signed a release form if they have never ridden at the facility before. It makes me very wary if I'm not asked to do this.
    "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



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