I agree with everyone else's changes in restructuring the ad.
Since you aren't versed well in dressage, I'll assume that by "first levels" you don't actually mean First Level. He has decent scores at Training Level, but has never shown at a USEF/USDF show at First Level. (yep, Crockpot is right, it really is easy to do a search and find the horse. And with the horse's name, it's really easy to do a score check). If you have a legitimate knowledgeable buyer, and you have (unintentionally) given misinformation in the ad, they are going to wonder what else you've given them misinformation about.
Personally, with the price and looking at his show record that he hasn't shown since 2008 (at least not recognized), if I were looking, I would wonder what's wrong with him. Did he have a lay up? Soundness issues? You might get calls from more legitimate people if you address this in the ad. If he's sound and as ammy friendly as the ad suggests, he shouldn't be a difficult sell.
If he can't jump, you should say this. I'm not sure why I can only find his add on a pony club site if he's a dressage mount. That's certainly not the right audience to get him sold. If he needs a dressage home, you need to list him where dressage people look (if you've done this and it's just not coming up in a google search, please disregard).
12 yr old OTTB that has done nothing in 2 yrs, has no current show record - 08 is a l.o.n.g time ago for a 12yr old horse that has apparantly done little or nothing for the last 5 years - not in consistent work so he'd only be capable of training level (maybe) due to lack of fitness.
As he (your ad) stands, I have little confidence that he's anywhere near what I'd consider a 3rd level horse, I'd question whether he'll even come back without NQR issues ...
ie consider what you're really marketing him for:
If you want to sell him into a dressage home, than you need to invest some time into him, get him fit & out to some local shows, have current video etc
If you want to sell him into a trail/pleasure home, then you haven't marketed correctly for that, either (though perhaps he has no trail experience or cannot go out alone...)
If he won't/can't jump, that rules out any Pony Club homes - again this makes me question his soundness: very few horses cannot be taught to do 3'
Give him an ad more like this
(not many dressage horse on EquineNow so you might consider advertising elsewhere if you're serious about finding him a dressage home)
I have found this as well. I wonder if its because so many people are desperate for money, needing to sell something because they cant afford to feed it, etc that there is a new group of deal finders. Maybe these new deal finders continue to search for things that are drastically reduced and then are able to sit on such item until the market turns or turn around and sell it quickly with a nice profit. Dont get disheartened and dont give those any credence in their offers. I have attempted to sell a few things and even after dropping the price drastically still didnt get them sold. I guess maybe these dealfinders are waiting for the "free" posting. Find your horses value and stick with it.. and I would be very leary of anyone interested or pursuing it with you give away your horse for free especially since he sounds so nice.
If he won't/can't jump, that rules out any Pony Club homes -
Greatly reduces, but doesn't rule out. I don't know what you want to call it, but USPC has introduced "Tracks" where a rider can rate up in a specialty area (for example, dressage) all the way to an A rating, now it will be specified A-Dressage. The traditional will still be A-Traditional. There's even a Hunter track and a Jumper track, with standards and ratings for each but that's off this topic.
As far as the giveaway thing, yeah I don't know what it is about that but it's not just recently, although maybe it's worse now. I also think there's a little bit more of the "rehoming" and "adopting" mentality out there now, that these are pets and we shouldn't be asking money for them.
I'm not sure why some people are critiquing this post the way they are... lighten up crowd! I think the revisions are a good idea. You want to make the horse sound flashy if you want to target that crowd. However, because of his price and recent lapse in training you will certainly get people trying to get him for free.
Getting back to the original question of the post.... I have also found that in MA there are a lot of free horses. And pretty nice ones at that. I actually got my horse for free and she's a registered Hanoverian now schooling third level with me. It's just a bad market. Although the economy is improving there isn't as much discretionary income as there used to be, so people have less to spend on their horses as I'm sure you already know. Matter of fact, I am free leasing my horse out because I can't afford her costs anymore in college but I don't want to give up ownership. Even though she is being free leased she is insured at 15,000. The insurance rep from KY thought I was crazy and I just said that honestly that is her replacement value in the area! Apparently the market is doing a bit better down there.
I think the "critiques" are to emphasize that average, decent horses like this (in today's economy--not slamming this particular horse) are, in fact, a dime a dozen. It sounds like the actual owner is not financially concerned, which is good. If this were me, in a boarding situation, $5000 would only get me 10 months before I was losing money...
Best of luck, but I think in that price range there is no harm asking. I was selling a $7K pony that people inquired about getting for free. I wasn't offended, but the answer was no.
ETA: Hell, I'd have trouble selling my horse in this economy! He's got scores to the 70s through 2nd level and will be doing 3rd level at USDF shows starting April, but horseflesh isn't flying off the shelves like it used to... (and he's not for sale anyway--at least not until I earn my silver medal).
From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.
I would agree that the market is tough. Not only the economy, but there is a LOT of detailed promotion of lots of OTTB right now. Over on the eventing board they are pushing gobs of cheap OTTB with personal references ("I know this trainer is a straight shooter" "I've heard horse will vet" "This line is well known for jumping talent.") So you can get an OTTB that is 3-6 years old, with some decent references, for peanuts.
The RRTP are updating their horses with videos regularly. New Vocations and CANTER have blogs and updates regularly. There is a lot of aggressive 'salesmanship' going on in the OTTB world right now. A LOT.
A 12 year old, even one that is a 'rock star' is going to take some serious leg work to place.
The link to the 'heart of gold' ad from a previous post is a good model to work from.