|A good, clear photo of your horse at his best will make all the difference between a successful online ad and an unsuccessful one. Photo: Leslie Potter
To sell a horse before the advent of the Internet, you either had to place a classified ad, create flyers and post them on bulletin boards, rely on word of mouth, pay a horse broker or retain an auction service. Today, you can find a buyer without leaving your keyboard; equine websites abound and most feature horses for sale. The largest website boasts sales of more than 20,000 horses in 2006 alone.
Placing an online ad is easy, as most websites have a simple step-by-step process. Be sure to download photos or a video of your horse because online buyers are visual. After all, they are peering into a computer screen. Adding photos increases the price of your ad, yet may make the difference between a buyer’s brief glance and actually contacting you.
Photos should be clear, cropped and have sharp contrast between your horse and the background. Photograph your horse at his best. If you are selling him as a show jumper, download your best jump shot.
In the description area, choose key word such as “bombproof” and “traffic safe,” but do not misrepresent your horse. This merely wastes your and the buyer’s time. For example, sellers often “round up” on a horse’s size. If a buyer says he wants a 15-hand horse, he’s not going to be happy to travel to your farm only to discover your horse measures 14.2 ½ hands.
As with many horse sales, online selling is not without a few pitfalls. A downside of selling horses on the Internet is the chronic “looker.” You can spend a lot of time answering questions and sending photos to people who never intend to buy your horse. The anonymity of the Internet encourages wishful thinkers. Luckily, doesn’t take long for you to recognize them.
Also, beware of scams where buyers from foreign countries offer to purchase your horse sight unseen for more money than you’re asking, or–this should be a red flag–propose payment options that require you to send them money. One of today’s more popular scams involves phony cashier’s checks. Never ship your horse until you have verified full payment.
Keep in mind, equine websites that feature “horse for sale” classifieds are only middlemen and bear no responsibility for any dispute that arises between a buyer and seller.
Search for “horse for sale” websites and you can spend days checking them all out. Many link to one another, so you may be referred to websites sponsored by breed associations, riding clubs, horse farms or other groups that have “horses for sale” classifieds.