Editor's Note: This month we featured a series on "How Many Is Too Many" when it comes to the number of horses on your farm or at your stable. First we focused on "How Much Land is Needed Per Horse?" Then we discussed "How to Make Extra Horses Pay for Themselves." The next article was "When is it Time to Sell Extra Horses?"
“Basically, there are two types of people in the horse business, those who view horses as an investment/business and those who are more emotionally involved than profit centered (the latter is a much larger group),” said Mike Yoder, extension assistant professor and specialist extension horse husbandry at North Carolina State University.
Regardless of which group you belong to, most horse owners have some level of emotional investment in each horse, making the thought of selling them difficult.
Yoder said, “For those farms having to sell the horses because they do not have the resources to care for them, they need to ask themselves one question: Under the current circumstances, is the horse better off remaining where it is or in the care of someone who can better meet its needs?”
If the answer is the latter, selling the horse so it can receive better care, then they need to come to grips with that concept, remembering that they are doing what is best for the horse. “That is responsible horse ownership,” he added.
Let clients know a horse is for sale. If you are lucky enough to have a client purchase the horse, you have the benefit of knowing the horse will remain on the property and receive proper care.
Ask veterinarians and farriers if they know someone looking for a horse. They, too, have an animal’s best interest in mind when providing a referral.
If you end up selling to someone you don’t know, don’t hesitate to inquire about the individual’s horse experience and how the horse will be cared for.
Depending on the horse, you might want to request a contract providing you first option to buy the horse back in the event the new owner decides to sell the horse.
Parting with a horse or several horses can be emotionally challenging, but remembering the decision is in the best interest for the horse and the stable can make the decision more comforting.