While most serious buyers will try a horse at least two times before making a decision, first impressions are important, so make the most of the initial tryout.
Before the buyer arrives
You will have arranged a day and time with the prospective buyer for a tryout, and it’s your responsibility to make sure the horse is neatly presented and the arena is sufficiently prepared. Make sure that your horse is bathed the day or morning before, depending on what time the buyer is coming. The horse’s mane and tail should be neatly trimmed, and you should probably neaten up the feathers on his fetlocks.
Chat to the buyer and offer the option of either having the horse tacked up prior to arrival or letting the buyer tack up. Some buyers like to see how a horse is to handle and tack up in the stable, so it’s important to allow them the opportunity. Regardless of what the buyer decides, make sure that your horse is in his stable at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time, in case the buyer arrives a little earlier. You can provide the horse with a little bit of grass to ease the boredom if he’s standing in the stable alone. Ensure that your tack and boots are clean and neat, so that your horse will look neatly presented once tacked up.
Depending on what the horse is being tried for (showjumping, dressage, showing, eventing), make sure that the arena is properly prepared for the purpose of the tryout. For example, if the buyer is coming to try your horse out as a showjumping prospect, make sure that you’ve set up a gymnastic exercise, a warm-up jump and a short course. Even if the buyer doesn’t make use of everything, it’s important to be professional and provide the option. If the buyer is trying the horse for dressage, make sure that a proper dressage arena is available, fully equipped with markers and free from other obstacles such as poles or jumps.
Once the buyer arrives, give a warm welcome and show him or her straight to the horse. Buyers will usually come with a parent or trusted friend and their instructor. Allow the rider the time to meet and inspect the horse in the stable. Buyers might ask for the horse to be stood outside, so that they can assess the horse’s build and conformation. Before the rider gets on, ask if there’s anything he or she would like to know about the horse. Refrain from telling the rider ‘what to do’ once he or she gets on, such as “he’s better to warm up in the canter”. Let buyers figure the horse out for themselves, and try to interfere as little as possible.
Text: Charlotte Bastiaanse
The full article appears in the April issue of HQ (121) > Shop now