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Showing Sale Horse to Prospective Buyer in Winter

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  • Showing Sale Horse to Prospective Buyer in Winter

    I have someone coming to look at a horse this weekend. The weather has been horrible, and the paddocks are awfully muddy. I do not have access to an indoor arena. This horse is black with 4 whites. How white would you get those whites for a sale showing? Now, this is not a high-dollar show horse. Not at all. This is one of my all-around guys selling for $2500.00.

    I guess my questions are, would you present him 100% spotless? (Yes, in an ideal world I would do this...or at least in the summertime!). If so, how do I achieve white socks in the middle of winter?

    I do plan to trim his bridle path. I'll make sure his mane and tail are groomed nicely. Any other suggestions?
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    wash them really well and wrap them with quilts and stable bandages. Thats the only was I keep my black guy with white socks clean in his stall


    • #3
      Clip his legs to the top of the white or to around the knee. Works wonders!
      "Life is too short to be a slave to the whims of others." -- RugBug, COTH


      • #4
        The clipping as the above poster said, and the when the legs are dry before the buyer comes dust them with baby powder or corn starch and brush thoroughly. Good luck with your sale!!


        • #5
          Honestly I don't try for 'spotless' at this time of year. And really my horses are usually in the field when people come to see them so they will have to be brushed off anyways. If I have a horse with a lot of white I will try and at least rinse off the legs the night before or that AM, likewise with a "white" tail, but I don't give full baths etc unless the weather is VERY warm. Most people shopping understand that horses are not going to be totally clean in the wintertime, at least not at my barn! But they arent FILTHY either!


          • #6
            I wouldn't clip or wash the socks if the horse hasn't been clipped so far this winter --

            I might use one of the whitening sprays if I had a bottle on hand, but doubt I would even do that --

            If clean white socks in the middle of winter are what makes the difference between someone buying or passing on a horse, I'd rather not sell my horse to them --
            "I never mind if an adult uses safety stirrups." GM


            • #7
              I tried a horse not too long ago that is a dapple gray. Before I came out to try the horse the owner said that they would do their best to clean the horse up. They continued by saying that it had been so cold lately that they probably wouldn't be able to give them a bath.

              I told them look - that's not a problem at all. The most important thing is how I feel about the horse's personality and if that's a good match. Some dirt or yellow in the dead of winter is totally ok!

              The right person is going to see past the discoloration. If someone were to complain about it, then they don't have their priorities in the right place. Sell to someone else instead.


              • #8
                If possible, I would try to spot clean as much as I could and wash the legs with warm water. I think there is something to be said for first impressions!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cruise Control View Post
                  when the legs are dry before the buyer comes dust them with baby powder or corn starch and brush thoroughly. Good luck with your sale!!
                  Originally posted by dab View Post
                  I wouldn't clip or wash the socks if the horse hasn't been clipped so far this winter --

                  I might use one of the whitening sprays if I had a bottle on hand, but doubt I would even do that --
                  I'd certainly shampoo them with some blueing, then wrap over night and do what you'd normally do on sales day. Your buyer with understand if there's surface mud or dirt on the socks. They will look better than if you had not washed.

                  I wouldn't clip to the knees. If this horse is a skin sissy and living in mud, a sudden stripping of hair may open him up to a case of scratches. Ask me how I know.

                  And I *really* wouldn't put spray or corn starch on the sales horse's legs. Changes are that your buyer will be touching them!

                  And it doesn't matter if this is a cheap horse or an expensive horse. Do the best you can to turn him out well given current conditions.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mvp View Post
                    And it doesn't matter if this is a cheap horse or an expensive horse. Do the best you can to turn him out well given current conditions.
                    I agree. Clean him up the best you can, including washing his socks. After all, no matter the cost, if you treat him like a cheap horse the buyers will see a cheap horse. If you treat him like an expensive horse, the buyers will see a bargain
                    Auventera Two:Some women would eat their own offspring if they had some dipping sauce.
                    Serious Leigh: it sounds like her drama llama should be an old schoolmaster by now.


                    • #11
                      Present the horse in the best possible condition. Wash his tail, trim him up and wash his socks. Spend a good hour getting as much dirt as possible off of him so he at least looks clean and shiny. Oil his hooves, put a clean leather halter on him. If your buyers are shopping in the low 4 figures, they have probably see enough dirty horses that a clean one will be a breath of fresh air, and will absolutely make a great first impression. At this price point, your buyer will probably be one that falls in love with him, so make him lovable.
                      Man plans. God laughs.


                      • #12
                        Does he have a stall or live outside???

                        Most sensible thing to do is clean him up as best you can-you CAN do it out of a bucket. Takes awhile but works. Little things like the clipped bridle path and doing a really good job on the tail to where it really has a silky shine will overcome some set stains...and, no...I would not clip his lower legs if he does go out most of the time.

                        Anyway, get him clean and then leave him in his stall overnight. Knock off the surface dirt and sponge off any manure spots, brush real good and hit him with show sheen anyplace the tack does not sit.

                        Buyers should be able to look past winter stains if all the surface dirt is gone and they can see health and care in a good coat.

                        Just an aside but...unless he is clipped short on the lower legs? All that spray on stuff or baby powder looks like crap sitting on top of long hair...looks like it got slapped on to cover stains. Just point out it's winter and he is out most of the time to your buyers.
                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                        • #13
                          I would wash his white socks out of a bucket of warm water and then dry them with a towel. Then do any touch-ups right before they come with rubbing alcohol, which is good for spot cleaning white socks without bathing.

                          I would not completely clip his legs, it will look weird. I would clip really long hair on his legs around the fetlocks, etc., though, with a 10 blade not held all the way against the leg, like I would if I were showing an unclipped horse. I also would clip long hair under his chin and around his face to make his head as attractive as possible. The goal is not to clip anything short, but just to get those extra-long hairs off, does that make sense?

                          Black can be hard too in winter, I would spend a lot of time currying this week too so he doesn't look dull and grey underneath. I have two black horses and they are a challenge to keep spotless in winter.

                          Can you blanket him the night before? A nice nylon-lined blanket can shine them up for you. It will preserve your grooming handiwork too.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks all. I've gotten some good tips. Actually, he is blanketed now since it's been so cold. so he's pretty clean (well, somewhat clean) underneath his blanket. It's just his legs and head that need cleaning. And of course the tail. The tail is not a problem. I don't mind making it look pretty. And I think I'll go ahead and get a bucket of warm water and wash those legs the best I can. He is out during the day (and it IS muddy out there this time of year) but I do bring my horses in at night. So I'll stick with that routine, and just keep him in the day of the showing. Luckily he's pretty laid back about it all.

                            Thanks, again!
                            “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                            ¯ Oscar Wilde


                            • #15
                              Trimming: Clean up the throatlatch, under the jaw and jowls, whiskers etc. I wouldn't totally clean out the ears, but can shave off any excess fuzzies. Having a nicely clipped face and throatlatch does wonders for a horse's appearance in the winter.


                              • #16
                                Suggestion on the socks on any sale, show horse or anyhing else you want to keep looking decent without killing yourself...

                                Easier to wash them a couple of times every week in something that is mild but does a good job and rinses easily like Orvus or Dawn. That will help keep your stains from setting so bad and not leave you too far behind the curve at the last minute.

                                In this case, if buyer is coming tomorrow? I'd wash them today and plan on washing them again tomorrow about 2 hours before buyer comes. If it's Sunday? Then you get to wash today, tomorrow and 2 hours out on Sunday.

                                I speak having owned Paints (the 50/50 tobiano kind), a palomino with 4 stockings, several high white chestnuts and 2 grey Hunters (both of those in cold climates).

                                Easier to hit them repeatedly with a basic wash and rinse then try to play catch up. Alot of the spray on stuff and some of the whitening rinse products are hard on the skin underneath when overused. Keep up with basic wash and rinse regularly and you should not need anything stronger. All you need is a bucket of clean water, a sponge and some cheap soap.
                                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


                                • #17
                                  Don't clip those legs! If I went to see a sale horse and the legs are freshly clipped I would wonder why the horse was clipped. What's wrong. Or dam - this person never grooms their horse and has resorted to clippers to make the horse look decent!

                                  I would rahter see the dirty - pulled from the field horse ... especially this time of year. We all do what we can but it is cold/muddy/snowy/freezing...


                                  • #18
                                    Do your best to get him clean, socks white, trimmed up, etc. It shows respect for the horse as well as the buyer and creates a good first impression (which is pretty important when you're selling something!) Clipping the socks is a good strategy in the summer but I agree that it will look funny if he's fuzzy everywhere else. I just use a whole lot of quick silver.
                                    The big guy: Lincoln

                                    Southern Maryland Equestrian


                                    • Original Poster

                                      How about his face? It's pretty muddy and dusty right now. I can certainly get the mud off, and brush it, but is it okay to wash it in the cold weather? Do most of you just use a hot/warm towel to get the dust off? Any tips would be appreciated.

                                      Yes, buyer is coming out tomorrow afternoon.

                                      Here's a picture of him when he's clean. This was from an ACTHA ride, on very hilly property, so I put my endurance saddle on him so I would stay on him. Looks fancy with my jumper bridle, huh?

                                      Last edited by ParadoxFarm; Jan. 28, 2011, 11:45 AM. Reason: adding
                                      “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                      ¯ Oscar Wilde


                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE=Ozone;5388017]Don't clip those legs! If I went to see a sale horse and the legs are freshly clipped I would wonder why the horse was clipped. What's wrong. Or dam - this person never grooms their horse and has resorted to clippers to make the horse look decent!


                                        Really? I always keep my horses legs clipped, especially the one with 4 whites. I guess I would just assume the seller clipped legs to help keep them clean. What could be "wrong" with a horse with clipped legs?