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Shopping for a horse

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  • Shopping for a horse

    I have recently gone thru the grueling task of shopping for a junior hunter for my daughter. I knew it was not going to be an easy undertaking (had a specific budget and was also looking for a lease) but I had no idea how exhausting this ordeal would be. I just thought it would be worth discussing some of my own observations. As you can see by my " tag name" this is not a world that I grew up in and, although I have become much more knowledgeable in the past nine years, obviously I have a great deal to learn. I am going to preface these comments with the understanding that I am a Automotive Retailer and have been for 25 years. I understand that many of you believe we are dishonest and underhanded but I will tell you that the successful in our industry are anything but.

    A few observations for sellers

    1. Not every potential inquiry is a tire kicker. Many email inquiries were not returned, or in some cases, returned extremely late (the most egregious was 44 days)

    2. Not every perspective customer wants "something for nothing". Obviously purchasers of any good or service want to feel that they have received fair value for their money but we are not all out to undervalue your animal.

    3. Do not prejudge the potential consumer. This is probably the most important point I would like to make. In my industry it is a constant fight with our sales staff. One of our locations is in a rural area and we often have the "typical farmer" come in to shop. It is very easy to look at the work boots, T-shirt and ripped jeans and presume there is no way that he/she can afford the $55,000 1ton diesel. I don't have to tell many on this board what a mistake that is.

    4. Be sure that the asking price of your horse is consistent with the market. There are many animals that are priced properly when comparing to the overall market, but in some cases, the show record/ability is inflated.

    5. Be sure your selling agent is truly working in your best interests. You want to get the most money possible for your horse but I think in some cases it is hard to see the forest thru the trees. We inquired about many horses that were in Florida (mainly Ocala) in January. Our budget was approximately $25,000 for the year. Many of these horses were too expensive according to the agent (would be $30,000 to $35,000). I have absolutely no problem with this. If I was the seller, I would definetly want to weigh the revenue of an early sale versus the expense of the entire Ocala Winter Series bill. I have received 7 emails in the past two weeks about horses that we inquired about in January/February. The general text of each one has been the same. "If you are still looking for a junior hunter I have talked to the owner and I think we may be able to work something out".

    I am not placing the blame squarely at the sellers feet. I am sure there are many legitimate complaints about buyers, and more importantly, me. We constantly inquire about horses out of our price range, looking for a $100,000 hunter for $25,000. We make inquiries and never follow up. I just thought it may be worth discussing some of these issues from the buyers perspective.

    Sorry about the novel, and yes we did find a horse who we think will be a great fit for my daughter. Of course, time will tell.