The Art of Selling Your Friend and Not Feeling Like a Jerk

Since listing Shiloh on my local Craigslist page and Horse Clicks just yesterday, I’ve had more responses than I ever expected. I mean, of course he’s talented and gorgeous and amazing. I just didn’t know  I would get so many responses so soon. I feel a little bit like I’m online dating. I’m trying to vet potential buyers as quickly as possible and weed out the people who don’t know basic horse terms and just don’t seem to take horses seriously.

I eliminated the trucker who “wanted to do the horse thing”

and the random guy with a weird accent who asked me to tell him a little more about Shiloh. Mind you, Shiloh’s ad included EIGHTEEN PICTURES and a nearly ONE THOUSAND WORD ESSAY. I covered the easy stupid stuff (age, color, breed, blah blah), and then I went above and beyond. I basically included his pedigree, his favorite snacks, his behavior at every gait, every infinitesimal thing that I have worked on with him, every strength and weakness, and basically his entire genome. This guy called me up asked me all of these same questions that I already covered. Then, repeatedly, with different wording, he asked me if Shiloh would be a good horse for a beginner. No, I told him repeatedly. Shiloh is not a beginner horse. After the third time I got tired of it and told the guy that I was sorry, but this is not a good match.

I feel like there is a fine line between looking into someone and making sure they’re not a crazy horse hoarder (or the kind of person that only gets the farrier out when the hooves look like slippers…all too common in my area), and coming on looking like an overly attached psychopath.

My first question when someone texts me is “What kind of riding do you do?” I think this is an innocent question, but I think for some of the fair weather horse people it comes off as too intrusive. Some of them never text me back after that.

I decided to take down the Horseclicks ad, since it is attracting out of state people and I don’t really want him to be that far away, where I have no idea what kind of character the buyer has or what kind of facility he will be at. Also, I stupidly included his tack in the ad. It’s a saddle that fits him well and I was never very attached to it. I would rather just sell it and have the extra money to buy nicer tack. I feel like including the tack made the ad seem more like a cowboy starter kit that a living breathing animal with his own personality. If the right buyer comes along and expresses interest in buying the saddle too, so be it.

After so many depressing and ignorant inquiries, I finally had one promising one. He’s a cattle rancher a few hours away that says he’s an intermediate rider and just wants a horse to trail ride and grow his horsemanship skills so he can ride with his ten year old daughter. I have all my limbs crossed that this will be the right match! He sounded knowledgeable about horses and sincerely dedicated to the horsemanship lifestyle. We loosely agreed to meet sometime this weekend. I’m trying not to get my hopes up, as these things often fall through.

Dear Shiloh, please, please, please be good. I just want you to be happy.

Happy horsing around. Bless all of you beautiful people that had to go through this wretched process.


One comment

  1. Horse Sage · August 20, 2016

    Having sold a few beloved horses over the years, I feel your pain. It can be horrible. On the other hand, you do meet some interesting characters, some of them quite nice. Sometimes you wish they WOULD buy your horse…but they don’t. Sometimes you have to tell them to go away (as you have). It sounds like you are doing all the right things. I agree with the decision to sell the tack separately (you can add it back into the deal if it feels right). Fingers crossed that the right person comes along soon, but take your time. You will know when it’s right, and Shiloh will give you clues, too. Listen to your gut and watch your horse as well. Keep asking questions. A good person will not mind and will know it is prompted by your love of the horse.


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