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Selling trail horses

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  • Selling trail horses

    What is the best way to market a good trail horse for what they are worth? In my area people advertise horses as bomb proof and price them redicously low and it kills the market. Any ideas?

  • #2
    Gosh, I hate to see no replies to you!

    I am a recent buyer off the "bombproof" marketed horses pages and I paid a good price. I value a good trail horse, especially considering I bought a baby that turned into a dressage horse because I could not find trainers with the time to give him trail experience.... that didn't work, lol.

    So I was looking for a trail horse this time. And the thing that drove my purchase decision was a good video of my guy showing his bombproof-ness rather than just words. Carrying a flag, confronting obstacles (ball, flags, water), dragging log, tacking up, mount/dismount, etc. Not just photos -- though I did go see a couple horses with just photos. The videos really helped because they showed character.

    Also, some good conformation photos will help -- feet, legs, topline -- those photos will broaden your reach to potential buyers. It is expensive to travel and see a remote horse, but with good video and photos, it makes it much easier to make that commitment.

    The folks who value a good trail horse and are willing to pay are likely living in an area without a lot of trainers doing "trail," and willing to go out of area to find one -- so make it easy for them to decide to come see you. The guys who value a good trail horse but live in a ranch/mountain area, can likely find or make their own locally and not need to pay a premium price.

    Just my two cents! Good luck.


    • #3
      Good genuine, solid trail horses who you could stake your life on and who would go through fire for you are scarce as hen's teeth. Add a pleasant manner and good around the stable....just try to find one. Advertise him for the gem he is.
      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


      • #4
        Back up your ad with pretty pictures and videos demonstrating the fabulous beast's talent and you can attach a good price! A truly great trail horse is worth laying down some dough for.


        • #5
          I am always amazed at how little price a good trail horse commands. They have to go thru all kinds of stuff in a totally uncontrolled environment. I rode yesterday and had 2 grouse go up in front of me, a loose dog circling, and a murder of crows went up just as we went thru a small patch of woods. My horse snorted at some of it, but bravely marched on thru it all, and got me back home safely two hours later. The only thing he seems to have a fear of is....chickens.
          Facta non verba


          • #6
            The horse market in general is still not really good. "Worth" is determined by the local market. And I can get a horse to do all the ball and gate and tarp stuff very easily at home; it's hauling them to a new environment and having them keep their cool when the other horses are being stupid that is the challenge. Oh yeah, and it's a lot of training to get them to that point. I just don't see a decent market at all for trail horses.

            You can take them to judge trail rides and obstacle competitions, but you'll need to win and then advertise the results. I don't think it will bump your price up much, though.
            "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederacy against him."


            • #7
              I bought a bomb proof quarter horse to be used on trail. All the videos etc looked great. When I got him home he looked a little lean etc. after worming vitamins and good feed he wasn't so quiet anymore. Good to find out who rode them on trail and where


              • #8
                I was a member of a trail riding/camping club since 1995 and took my horse camping all over the state of Fla. Anyone riding with me could see that he was rock steady, healthy, gaited, and gorgeous. When I decided to get out of horses, I didn't even have to advertise him for sale. He was 14 at the time. I told one friend that I was selling him and she told 2 friends who were in the market. The first one drove 5 hours to see him and brought her mare for me to ride. We went on a 2 hour trail ride and she could see for herself how great he was on the trail and how he rode. She bought him on the spot. He got an upgrade as she has 10 lovely acres of gorgeous grass and a girlfriend. He has become her #1 trail horse and when she's gone on big campouts, has had many people come up to her to tell her what a great horse she got. He is gorgeous and very recognizable. The best thing you can do to sell a horse and take him places, expose to him trails, campouts, etc and he/she will sell themselves if they are truly a great trail horse.


                • #9
                  The problem lies with the definition of "trail horse".

                  To some people, a trail horse is something that is uneducated in the nuances of riding. It goes forward, stops, and changes direction, all relatively quietly. It may or may not jump, but it most likely doesn't know things like leads and lateral movements. It's reliably quiet. Many people will take their quiet, well broke horse and sell it as a "trail horse".

                  To some people, a trail horse is a horse that does obstacles efficiently and quietly. It understands things like leads and pivoting and lateral movements like side passing. It's a reliable mount.

                  To some people, a trail horse goes on endurance rides. May or may not do obstacles, may or may not be quiet.

                  These are all really different forms of a "trail horse". Many horses can tick all these boxes. Many horses don't make it past the first one. The nuances are where the monetary value of the horse lies.


                  • #10
                    I agree with what a lot of what others are saying. When I see "bomb proof" I rarely trust it. I want to see it. A picture of him standing in the middle of a river speaks volumes more than just saying he crosses water. A video of him doing things is even better. Make sure you list all that they can do or has done. If he has been on camping trips, say that. If he has been in competitive trail classes, say that too.

                    Price him at what you think he is really worth. When I see a cheap "trail" horse I assume it is just a backyard horse that is not shown, because a real trail horse is not going to be going for dirt cheap prices.


                    • #11
                      I think Facebook Groups are dominating the horse industry right now in terms of selling. I bought my mare across the country without ever riding her or seeing her in person. I think people are going back to good ol' fashioned days or hearing about sale horses by word of mouth (but virtually).

                      Try to look for a Facebook Group in your area. For example, I'm part of "Arizona Horse Network" and "Gaited Endurance Horses" and I always see people selling horses. What's really cool is that people that know the particular horse usually comment on it and it's a good way of knowing whether it's legit or not...kind of like when people write reviews on Yelp.

                      Never sell a horse on Craigslist.