It’s come to that time of year again, when we’re actively marketing the horses we have for sale.
Many breeders sell their foals at birth, to go at weaning, and take deposits as they are born to then have them go in the autumn. We take a slightly different approach to many other breeders, partly because we don’t want to tempt fate (yes, we’re a bit superstitious), partly because we wean at 7 months, then get our foals professionally handled and started properly, and partly because a number of years ago we took a deposit on a 3 month old colt who the day after he was sold decided to jump barbed wire instead of go through the open gate next to it and I had to explain to his devastated new owner why she wouldn’t be getting her horse. Not something I want to repeat. (Yes, Jimmy, we’re looking at you!). This means that by the time our horses are ready to go, it’s usually the New Year and they are around 9 months old. They’re ready to go and do things straight away and they’re happy, steady, sane horses who understand what their new owners are asking them to do and so don’t get themselves into trouble.
We get a lot of enquiries for our horses. We also get lots of day trippers, lots of time wasters and lots of people put off by our prices which are usually at the slightly higher end of many other UK breeders. That’s fine – it’s par for the course when selling horses and many of the people we meet are genuinely lovely but not quite sure what they really want and we help clarify their thoughts. Many of those initial leads often morph into other opportunities, not always horse related, or I’m able to recommend another breeder who might have something more suited to what a person is looking for.
However, my one bug bear is receiving random demanding texts from people I don’t know, saying things like “I want your horse, ring me on XXXX”.
My particular favourite, which caused much hilarity amongst people who know me well went;
“What’s your lowest price, if it’s a good price I can collect tomorrow”…
I still have no idea who that text was from, but it wasn’t from anyone I knew!
For us, it doesn’t work like that. The prices we ask reflect the work that has gone into our horses. They are not unrealistic and we are never desperate to sell. We like to know a bit about you, we like to know what you’d like our horses to do. We like to know how you’re going to continue training your youngster, what your experience is, and why you’d like a quarter horse. Not for any other reason than we care about where our horses end up.
We won’t sell our horses to you if we don’t know anything about you and we won’t sell our horses unseen. We will facilitate you being able to see them before you buy them, even if that (as in one case) includes sending them half way across the country to a friend of mine so that you can view them more easily. What I also won’t do is ring back a random stranger who has sent me an unsolicited text, demanding that I ring them to sell them my horse.
Selling “unseen” or at a “cheaper price to offload” is not fair to our horses. They deserve to be set up to succeed, not set up to fail. By starting our youngsters how we do and by knowing who you are and what you can offer our horses, we know that they’ll be OK. They deserve that at the very least.