The Sales Process
When Alice knows a horse well enough to accurately represent it, she begins the sales process.
Frequently, she will know of several people looking for a new mount, and can show and sell a horse by networking. If a match is not made this way, then she will begin advertising.
Owners should provide Alice with all the pictures they have. We use a lot of storage on our phones, taking pictures as horses go through evaluation and/or training. On tedious-but-necessary photo shoot day, horses are groomed, tack is cleaned, hooves are polished, and we break out the fancy camera to get high-resolution pictures of conformation, heads and feet.
Horses have a knack for going their best when there is no video camera around! Innocent bystanders at Shenandoah Sporthorses are often asked to video a horse who is working well. We video horses in the hunt field, on the trail and jumping cross-country. The resolution of phone videos is not great, but buyers can get a sense of how the horse goes. Once a week or so, we organize a video day with a rider, videographer and jump crew, and take high-resolution video updates of the sales horses.
Alice loves texting, but prefers to talk on the phone with a potential buyer (and their trainer, if applicable) so she can get the best-possible sense of whether the horse is a possible match. Shenandoah Sporthorses has a 100% disclosure policy, so all clients are advised of negative veterinary findings, past incidences of bad behavior, and any other information that may affect a horse’s suitability. If all parties agree that the horse is a good candidate, a showing will be scheduled. Alice blocks off several hours so nobody is rushed. Unless someone has a time constraint, Alice waits until clients arrive to get the horse ready, so they can see his/her manners as he/she comes out of a stall and stands on cross-ties to be groomed and tacked up. Alice will ride or arrange to have the horse ridden, unless a client or his/her trainer wishes to get straight on. After riding in the ring, we often go for a short trail ride, and if previous arrangements have been made we can load horses and haul out for a longer ride and/or cross-country jumping.
Pre-purchase exams (PPEs) are welcome on all of our horses by the vet of the buyer’s choosing. If a buyer is planning to do a PPE we require that it is performed before a trial period begins. If the buyer wishes to perform radiographs or other imaging, those can be taken at the end of the trial, but a basic health exam and simple flexions must be done before the trial commences. This policy protects all parties in several ways:
- The buyer is assured that he/she is getting a sound horse to try.
- Both parties will be advised of any existing veterinary issues, so there will be no question of fault, as there can be if a PPE is done at the end of a trial period.
- If a horse has prohibitive findings on a vetting, learning about them before a trial spares the horse a potentially stressful move, and spares the buyer the expense and liability associated with trials.
Other trial stipulations:
- Because a horse is taken off the market during a trial, a 10% non-refundable deposit is required.
- Trial periods can vary slightly but are typically around one week in length.
- Insurance is highly recommended and in some cases required. Insurance is purchased at the buyer’s expense.
- Unless other arrangements have been made, transporting the horse to and from the trial is the buyer’s responsibility.
- Horses must be returned in exactly the same body condition score and physical health as they were when the trial began—you break it, you buy it.
- The buyer is responsible for any and all costs incurred by the horse during the trial period, including but not limited to veterinary, shoeing, feed or board expenses.
There are ways to get buyer and horse acquainted without a risky trial. Clients are welcome to ride the horse at our farm as many times as they would like, and if they have to travel to do so they are welcome to stay in the cozy studio apartment on our farm. Arrangements can be made for them to see the horse in different settings. We have transported horses to other farms for lessons, to the hunt field for test rides, and to local shows for clients to try in a busy warm-up ring.