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How do you campaign/market an equitation horse?

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  • How do you campaign/market an equitation horse?

    So I've got a horse I don't quite know how to campaign/market. I grew up doing h/j with eq classes occasionally, but nothing serious. I bought a mare as a two year old, and have done about everything with her hunters, jumpers, cross country, we're trying out eventing, she takes it all in stride. I've just been trying to figure out a career path for her. She's an incredibly comfortable and easy ride. She's extremely light/responsive, but far from hot(I do ride her in spurs). Has super easy changes, NEVER stops at a fence and never bats an eye at anything. Very well schooled in flat, extensions, sitting trot, leg yields etc., does everything. She's a floaty mover, without the headset of a hunter, a cute jumper and picks her knees up o/f but doesn't round - easy for a rider to look pretty but won't make a top hunter. She's solid over 3ft, but I don't think she'd make anything more than a 3'3" horse. So...

    Question 1: Since I think she's a perfect ladies/jr eq horse(only 15.3+), does she fit the bill for an eq horse? I would think an eq horse would need to be responsive, honest and be a relaltively easy ride, what else?

    Question 2: Since I think she's an eq horse how do I campaign/market her? It's not like hunters where I can say "champion hunter", and instead say "champion eq horse" heck I'd have to find somebody good enough to win an eq class to ride her. Since the rider is being judged, not the horse how do you "prove" she's an eq horse?

    Question 3: How do you determine a reasonable price?


  • #2
    If you're really serious about selling her for top dollar, you have two choices. You can find a kid to have ride her who will take her around and give her a name on the show circuit, or you can send her to a sale barn that will do the same thing. You can just do local shows or really get her out there and do the A shows. It's all a matter of how much you want to put in to possibly get out.

    To answer your questions..

    Question 1: She would fit the bill for a childrens or adult ammie eq horse, but if she's topping out at 3'3, you're going to have a little harder sale, especially with her size. She would not be a candidate for a junior, as those horses need to do 3'9 without batting an eye.

    Question 2: To campaign her as a top eq horse, you get a kid or a young adult ammie to ride. The best way to go is get a talented kid to ride the horse. You might also find a young adult ammie, like a former junior who's in college, can't afford a horse, whatever. When I finished my big eq career, I was lost in the world of adult ammie. I would have loved a great eq horse to go back in there with since my parents said they were done paying for me.

    Question 3: Price is very hard. Depends on your area and depends on where you campaign the horse. A show record brings more money than a local show record, but it also costs more to attend the bigger shows. We have a kids 3' eq horse in our barn right now who won a TON on the big circuit with an 11 year old boy. The horse does everything right, will pass a vet, etc. They're asking $60k, but the horse hasn't sold yet. I think it will go closer to $45k. It's hard to get much more than that for a smaller horse that tops out at relatively low fence heights.

    Bottom line... go to a sales barn that does this all day every day. They have the contacts at other barns, etc. A trainer they know might be looking for something for a client and you can sell immediately. More shows, more money. More money in, more money out. It's all a gamble.

    Also, eq classes aren't just judged on the rider's form, as it would imply. The most important thing in an eq class is a smooth round. The first job is to make the horse go around well and complete the challenges of the course. The second thing the judge looks at is form. Trust me, a great eq horse will be noticed every time. No need to worry about that.
    Last edited by GallopGirl; Aug. 8, 2009, 12:50 AM. Reason: spelling


    • #3
      If she can't do the 3'6, she's going to be a tough sell as an eq specialist. Most of the 3' medals are geared towards Adult/Childrens riders, who are usually riding their 3' hunters. Plus, some people will not look at her because she is "too small."

      Your market will probably be the local riders who can't afford top 3' horses, but want to do hunters/eq and look good on a horse. I would take a hard look at what has sold in your area and what the listing price was (it was probably negotiated). If she does not have a show record at the rated level, you are probably not going to get big bucks for her. Those riders who are doing rated shows want all the bells and whistles and are getting them for very reasonable prices. In your ad, you can just state "Champion at shows" and don't elaborate. Play up your horse's strengths honestly. Your horse would probably be great for a kid coming off a pony that needs a horse that is honest and uncomplicated - play this up as well. I've found that lots of kids look good on a horse but are a little tentative and not the solid 3' riders they claimed to be on the phone. There are LOTS of trainers/parents looking for the horse that does not stop ever, does not buck ever, does not take off ever, and can jump around 3'. Short of checking out the breyer horse section in the toy dept, those horses are hard to find. If you have one, state it.
      Man plans. God laughs.


      • #4
        Like everyone else said, a true "eq horse" will need to do at least 3'6" and the size is probably going to be an issue since kids these days seem to think "bigger is better" when it comes to the big eq. Do you think she could be competitive as a Children's hunter type at the rated shows? If so, then possibly there would be a market for her as a 3' hunter/mini-medal type horse for someone who can't afford multiple horses.

        As to how to market her, you've got to get her out there in the eq rings, so find a junior or adult ammie who'd be willing to give it a go.


        • Original Poster

          Gallopgirl - thank you! So helpful to have the detail of an "eq" horse broken down and clarifying the judging of the classes - I will definitly look into sales barns, not something I'm too familiar with in my area - central VA. I had a feeling 3' and her size might limit her.

          Flash44 - much appreciate the advertising advice don't know that I would have played up her "move up" side so much, but I suppose that is the selling point for parents.

          Mayaty02 - I've thought about her ability to compete based on the type of division and perhaps this warrants a new thread, but what do judges and buyers look for in a working vs. childrens hunter vs. a/o or a/a hunter vs whatever other hunters people buy for? Definitly cute look to her, tucks nicely over fences, and always an easy easy round, we just always get one, that, as a rider, I feel is boring - no push, I think that's when we get the flat ones, she rounds better if she jumps a touch big -surprise surprise.

          My heart has moved to the jumpers and I just don't have it in me to campaign her at big rated shows in the hunters, although I do know a jr that might be able to compete in the eq's. If only I wasn't on dial up at the moment I could get a photo online!


          • #6
            I disagree with some of the posts above.

            In my area, there is a huge market for a solid 3' eq horse. The adult and children's eq and medal classes are very popular and to be honest - I would have to say that most of those classes actually run at around 2'6" or 2'9" (much to my dismay, to be honest, but that's a topic for another thread.)

            Our CHJA finals show is next weekend - there are almost 80 entries in the children's medal: http://www.chja.net/pages/1379.html and 44 in the adults: http://www.chja.net/pages/1381.html

            Those are just the people who entered after qualifying this year, so not the whole universe of people who show in those divisions.

            Looking at the qualified/trying to qualify list for the New England finals - you will see there are also plenty of people aiming for that 3' medal: http://www.vthorse.com/nehc/2009poin...009update.html (and that's just the adults!)

            I think the way I would market such a horse would be to find a good riding kid or adult that would be amenable to a free lease. The best way to find those folks is usually to let a trainer you like and trust know that you have a suitable horse available. Then craft a deal where there is an agreement about the training and showing that will be done so that your horse gets some good exposure. Personally I know of two people looking for that kind of arrangement right now; one is a great riding kid whose own (lovely) horse is too green to do the eq yet, and the other is a very accomplished adult whose previous leased horse was just semi-retired.
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


            • #7
              I agree with Lucassb-sounds like you are in the Northeast where I am. If the horse is as easy and brave as you sound, I think you could get decent money even if she won't go bigger than 3'3. As an adult new to jumping in my 30's I spent good money on a schoolmaster to do the modifieds. I needed something safe and easy, and always got good ribbons. I know there are definitely people out there who would spend 20-25K on a safe easy horse to do the modifieds and then move them up to the 3', even if it wasn't the typiest hunter out there. Also agree with the other posters who recommended sale barns.


              • #8
                In terms of pricing ... I will tell you that I ride with a very successful but not BNT trainer who has a bunch of students doing the 3' eq - and one client recently bought a *very* nice 3' eq horse for more than double the amount quoted above. He is a lovely sound animal but like the OP's horse, would (now) be maxed out at 3'3". He was worth the $$$ because of his education and temperment = suitability for that 3' ring, not for his scope.
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by twoposies View Post
                  - I will definitly look into sales barns, not something I'm too familiar with in my area - central VA. I had a feeling 3' and her size might limit her.
                  I think location is going to make a BIG difference.

                  It seems to me that there is a LOT more demand for equitation horses in the New York/New England than in Virginia.

                  It seems that , in Virginia, at all but the biggest shows, they are struggling for enough entries to "fill" the Medal and Maclay. And the lower level eq classes also have a light turnout.

                  chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                  • #10
                    As a couple of folks have said, your adult market may be very good for her. FWIW, you described a horse I'd be interested in. there are a lot of people who want a solid, 3' horse, but have no interest in going to 3'6". I'm one of them.

                    I'm a pushin'-40 rerider. I don't do lots and lots of big shows, but want my next horse to be solid at 3', have lead changes and take me safely from one end of a line to the other. I also enjoy dabbling in eq, so having a horse who can do both is also a must. I can't afford two horses, so I've got to find one who can do both in an acceptable manner.
                    A proud friend of bar.ka.


                    • #11
                      Have you considered marketing her as a potential foxhunter? You say she's done XC and eventing well, and from what I know there's a fairly large foxhunting population in VA.
                      "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

                      Phoenix Animal Rescue


                      • #12
                        Where I live there is a huge market for a smaller sized 3' equitation horse, you see them sell for anywhere from $40-$150K depending on their reputation, how cute they are, how big the stride, how easy, etc. I know lots of trainers who have kids and amateurs that pick up rides at horse shows, some will even split the costs with you, depending on how nice your horse is. So try and find a BNT who would be interested in checking her out. A lot of the big trainers will work together to get something sold, so if the horse is good, they'll make it happen.


                        • #13
                          About 2 years ago I sold my previous horse to an adult through a broker and everything worked out perfectly. He was an 8 yr. 16hh TB G that was solid at the 3'3'' and also confident enough to pack someone around all 3 rings. He was plain and simple but perfect for an adult wanting to stay in the 3' range or a local junior moving up to the 3'3''. Ultimately, he sold in LA, CA in the mid 5 figures, more than I anticipated. Moral of the story is that there is definitely a market for your horse!! My advise to you is that sending him to a broker/sale barn can be a blessing or a huge mistake, so research the barn carefully before you hand your horse over. Also, my horse had about 2 years of local show experience with only a handful of A shows under his girth but his mileage did not seem to matter as much to potential buyers as his honestly and bravery, so emphasize that. Sounds like you have a great horse, best of luck!!


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks & critiques welcome!

                            Thank you all for the follow up, it is good to know that there is actually demand for a 3ft eq horse! She does always get compliments about her ride and her whatever attitude in the ring Definitely going to a local BNT for some help with the sale, I wouldn't mind some lessons on her either!

                            Kateh, I've thought about marketing her as a foxhunter but she does have a bit of princess in her. She's not high maintenance, just she would rather not exert herself quite so much and stay clean if I didn't mind but she politely puts up with my interests... Not to mention most folks like a proven fox hunter, which I plan on doing this winter if I still have her, but that's still a few months off...

                            Here's a less than ideal video of us at a recent show after a month off of ring work and my week and a half foray to the beach, it's only 2'6" due to our mini "break". I realize she's not much in a frame/engaged at the canter, but critiques as an eq horse (not judging based on my riding!) would certainly be appreciated. BTW I'm 5'7" with long legs, and not "petite" oh and this is our first time riding in the dark, under lights and with no schooling



                            • #15
                              I think she's very cute! Remember for equitation, she'd have to be very handy about tight turns, rollbacks, trot fences, halts mid line etc. so I'd be practicing that type of stuff with her a home. I think she'd be a fine 3' hunter for the local rated shows, cute and pretty fancy.

                              Once again, to reiterate what I said earlier, she'd be a cute all around horse, someone who could do the lower hunters respectably, and if she's good at the above eq skills, she's be great for the adult or children's eq too.


                              • #16
                                New England is it's own little eq universe!
                                Man plans. God laughs.


                                • #17
                                  I love the video too!! She definitely looks fun to ride! Mayaty has good advice!