The Great Debate: To List A Sale Horse’s Price… or Not?

One of the most common points of contention when writing a sales ad is whether or not to include price. Meagan DeLisle looks at both sides of the argument, finding advantages both for including the price and leaving it off.

Wikimedia Commons/Lar/CC

It’s an ongoing argument that constantly resurfaces on equine sale pages — is it polite to list a horse’s sale price or proper not to? Like most debates, there are passionate people on both sides of the fence — but is there a right side? Here are some things to consider when shopping for a horse or listing a horse for sale in consideration for list price.

Pro-Price Inclusion

One of the biggest arguments I see in favor of listing a price is that many buyers tend to overlook ads that do not include a price tag. Even when I was shopping around, I scrolled right by ads that didn’t have a firm price on the ad. I even scrolled past those with a price range listed as I was strict on my budget and a difference of just a thousand dollars would rule a horse out for me. My rule of thumb is that if the price isn’t listed I probably can’t afford it; however, that isn’t the only reason buyers claim they scroll past an ad for a fantastic horse that meets their needs yet doesn’t have a price.

Many buyers feel a sense of “buyer beware” if price isn’t included in a listing. Several buyers claimed that they have previously inquired about a horse and then someone else they knew would also inquire on the same horse and each person would get a different sale price. With the inclusion of commissions from both the buyer and sellers end if a trainer is involved, many buyers are put off by the exclusion of sale price from the get-go.

A common argument from buyers is that horse shopping is work enough and they don’t want to continuously inquire on the price of horses they are interested in, only to have them be out of their range they wish to spend. They want to skim through ads and have all the necessities: age, height, skill level, breed, gender, video, conformation shots, and price all in one place. Serious buyers do not want to waste a sellers time as it is also a waste of their time and they just want to make a solid purchasing decision. Time is money in every industry and potential buyers claim they don’t want to inquire on countless horses only to have them far out of their budget.

The Privacy of Price

On the other side, however, there are some legitimate arguments as to why a seller would choose to not disclose a price. One of the largest that you will hear is that sellers feel choosing to only include a price range or to include “inquire for price” in an ad weeds out any tire kickers they might face if the price was listed. Unfortunately, selling a horse is just as difficult as shopping for the right horse and sellers face a lot of inquiries from parties who aren’t ready to buckle down and make a deal.

Another argument is that the seller chooses to not list the price for disclosure, both for the individual selling the horse and for the potential buyer. It is not uncommon for performance horses, no matter the discipline, to price in the mid to high five figures or even up into six figures. With the world of online advertising, anyone could see an ad and a horse’s list price and have a good idea as to what a potential buyer might have paid for a horse. When you start dealing with those higher figures, some parties may wish to keep what they spent or made off of the sale of a horse to themselves.

There is also the consideration that a horse’s price might fluctuate depending on their success at a show or growth in their training. While the argument was made on the buyers side that you could merely include the phrase “price to increase with training” by the price tag, many trainers and sellers choose to withhold price for the purpose of gain in value in the horse for sale. Horses that spend the whole winter circuit at WEF or HITS might have a drastic change in price range from Week 1 to the last week of competition.

No Clear-Cut Answer

There is no hard or fast answer to the question of whether or not one should include a horse’s sale price in an advertisement, so I think it is safe to say we will continue to see both for as long as horses are being bought and sold. Both buyers and sellers need to keep in mind that buyers want straightforward answers and sellers hate to waste their time on parties with no real interest in the horse.

When shopping, if you see a horse that interests you without the price listed you have the right to inquire if you feel its skills meet your needs or move on to the next prospect if the exclusion of price makes you uncomfortable.

When selling, you have the choice to include price for transparency or to only list a range or ask interested parties to inquire for price for the disclosure of all parties involved.

One thing holds true no matter which side of the fence you fall on: a well-written and descriptive ad with flattering photos and video of the horse performing at the listed skill level will always attract quality buyers over a price that is vague all over. Always make sure your ad is detailed and professional so that the process of buying and selling is as smooth as possible.

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