*NEW* Dan Williams’ showing blog: let’s stop making buying and selling horses so complicated

  • Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Dan moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue his dreams of riding at the top. Dan had planned to make it big as a showjumper but quickly realised that his real passion was showing.

    Dan purchased his first show horse shortly after moving to Hampshire. He then set about buying a string of show horses and produced them from home while holding down a full-time job in the property sector.

    In June of 2018, Dan and his partner who is also called Dan, moved to their new yard in Hertfordshire where they produce a range of show horses along side a thriving livery business.

    Keep up-to-date with Dan while he campaigns his horses this season and aims to collect his tickets to the Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) and Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    Buying a horse is always exciting, but for many, it can also be very daunting. Whether you are looking for a fun all-rounder type to show at your local riding club events or you are looking for the next HOYS winner, you will inevitably have a list of criteria that your new horse must meet.

    For some people, like my little sister, the list can be extensive and will include things like ‘must love cuddles’ when looking for their new best friend. Others, like myself, will be less bothered about the horse’s personality and more interested in the horse having clean limbs and a good length of rein. However, the one thing most of us have is a budget.

    I remember when I was younger and Horse & Hound would arrive at our house every Thursday. I would go straight to the classifieds at the back to see what horses were for sale. Back then, the only horses that had POA (price on application) were those that I knew I couldn’t afford and would likely carry six figure price tags. You knew they were expensive because the ad was four times the size of all the others and the really expensive horses had more than one photo. Everything else on the page had a price so you could look at the ones you knew you could afford. Being 12-years-old, I couldn’t afford any of them but I could at least picture a specific horse in my minds eye, when daydreaming about my string of 15 horses that would all at some point feature on the front cover of Horse & Hound, when I won at the Olympics.

    My little sister, Roxanne

    Over the past few years, I have noticed an increase in the amount of adverts that read £POA. This makes shortlisting suitable horses so much harder because all you can do is guess what you think the horse is worth before enquiring. You have read their 900 word advert that tells you in great detail everything you need to know about their horse. But you are then often forced to make up a reason why it isnt’t suitable for you when you ring them to enquire so as not to offend the owner by telling them that you thought their horse was worth £10K less than what they’re asking. You then hang up the phone in embarrassment and pray that they don’t know anyone that you know and that you won’t ever have to speak to them again.

    Imagine if you were looking for a second-hand car and on a car sales website, and it just said POA. Would you not be put off by the fact that you had to ask the price when there were other similar cars that have prices on the adverts? You buy a car in a very similar way — you have a list of criteria that you would like the car to have; colour, make, age, but ultimately, you don’t look at cars that you can’t afford (only for more sophisticated day dreaming purposes). You select the one that closets meets your wants and needs that is within your price range, you take it for a test drive and buy it if you like it.

    Having both bought and sold horses, I know that selling a horse can be hard work and it is incredibly frustrating when you have to deal with the inevitable time wasters that are out there. Surely by advertising the price you would like to achieve for your horse would halve the amount of calls that you receive form those that just want to know the price of the horse?

    Another trend that I have seen in adverts is people using phrases like ‘considerable price’ or ‘sizeable price tag’. Is this not the vaguest way to sell a horse? What is a considerable price? For some, money is no object and a considerable price would be £200K but it would still be affordable to them. For others, £8K is a sizeable price tag and is at the top of their budget.

    The old saying ‘a horse is only worth what someone is willing to pay’ is so true in showing. I have bought some outstanding horses for a very reasonable price but have equally seen some horses that I personally don’t like as much for double what I would pay, so there is no way that you can guess what someone thinks their horse is worth.

    Article continues below…

    You might also be interested in:

    When looking for a horse for a client recently, I came across several adverts that had price bands instead of a price. Confused, I followed the links to the dealers’ websites where the band price ranges were shown. I know the NHS have bands for their pay scales but I hadn’t realised that we are selling horse in a similar way now! To me, these dealers are now known as ‘NHS dealers’ and if their horses are anything like NHS staff, I worry that they’ll be overworked and need a few days off when they arrive.

    In short, it is hard enough to find the right horse that ticks all the boxes. Let’s just all be upfront about how much money we would like in exchange for our prized equine and stop making it so complicated.


    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday

    You may like...