Buyer Side/Seller Side

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Here's something I learned a long time ago about the sometimes-aggravating processes of buying or selling horses: The best way to get better at being on one side of the equation is to gain experience on the other side. In other words, you become a better seller by having had experience as a buyer, and vice versa. The more times you've walked in the other side's boots, the fewer rocks you're going to feel with each step.

When I present a horse for sale to a prospective buyer, I make it a rule to have that horse as perfectly groomed and otherwise turned out as I can possibly make it. If it's a show horse or show prospect, I have it ready and dressed it in my best tack before the buyer ever arrives. If it's a trail horse, it's saddled and ready to go for a test ride. I do a super-cleaning of the barn, sometimes even get out the paint brush, and see to it that all the other horses are brushed and clipped. I've even been known to strip my garden of flowers in order to have buckets of them greeting my shopping guests when they arrive. I have copies of the horse's papers and pedigree on hand to give out, and sire ads and videos when available.

I learned to do these things in response to what I've encountered as a buyer--horses that hadn't seen brush nor clippers in weeks (or months); horses that had to be rounded up from the back 80 before I could even get a look at them; junky barn aisles and dirty stalls that spoke volumes about the owner's daily management regimen; owners who couldn't seem to locate the necessary paperwork; owners who expected to get a diamond's price for something still in the rough.

On the flip side, I respond promptly to sellers, even when I've crossed their horse off my list, and return their videos and DVDs if they want them back. Having been a seller, I know that "thanks, but no thanks" is more appreciated than the black hole of no reply.

Whether on the buyer side or the seller side of equine commerce, the Golden Rule comes into play, and it's pretty easy to remember: Just do unto the other side as you would have it do to you!

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