Online Horse Trading
Horse trading the old fashioned way was pretty simple; one found a horse for sale, went to look at it and then made an offer. When a deal was reached, the horse was loaded up in a trailer and hauled to the new owner’s barn. A deal usually involved a handshake, and a hands-on evaluation of the horse in question, and often the horse only moved a few miles down the road.
Technology has changed all that. Starting a few decades ago, advertising a horse in a national publication such as a breed magazine or trader paper became a cost efficient way to expose a sale horse to a wider audience. Now the standard operating procedure is to listi sale horses on the Internet. Technology has both helped put horse buyers and sellers in touch and greatly complicated the once-simple horse buying or selling process.
Not that long ago, it was a big deal to buy a horse from out of state, and usually involved a buyer traveling to view the horse in person. Now, it seems horses are traveling around the county via commercial shipping companies on their way to new homes, buyer sight unseen, on a regular basis. And, it’s not just expensive show or race horses in those vans anymore. Sometimes it costs more to ship the horse across the country than the horse actually cost.
Horse shoppers now can search for their dream horse on line and find any number of qualified animals, but while it’s easy to find them it is not always easy to consummate the deal. Buying a horse sight-unseen over the Internet is fraught with pitfalls; the buyer is relying on photos or video and the seller’s word, money changes hand through the mail or PayPal, and the horse is often shipped at considerable expense and distance, all without that hands on/hand shake interaction. How do we know that the seller’s description of “well trained” is the same as ours? One person’s “beautiful mover” might be another’s “too much leg action.” A horse described as “gentle” might just be lazy, or sick, or malnourished. And then there is always that chance that the buyer or the seller is actually a scam artist, looking for a way to fleece someone out of their money, or their horse, or both.
Advertising and searching for horses on line does have its advantages though. Thanks to the broad exposure of the Internet, many rare breeds are gaining in popularity throughout the country. On line searches also let the buyer focus on the specific traits that they want in a horse and pick from a group that has those traits. Horse sellers can offer their horse to a large and perhaps more affluent audience than is in their own backyard. There is also some strange desire among horse people to bring in something new; people seem to think that a horse from another area of the country may have the advantage of not having been seen before, especially in competitive circles.
The etiquette of buying and selling horses on line is still evolving. A friend of mine wanted to know, when should she sign and mail the transfer paper and bill of sale; when the horse was picked up by the shippers? After it arrived at the new owners? And, when should she get her money? Before signing over the ownership or after? Without being able to stand face to face, hand over the papers, receive the cash, and shake hands, she worried about something going wrong.
But, nothing went wrong. My friend had a successful sale and her mare “got on the bus” to a new home two states away, all over the Internet. In most cases, both seller and buyer are honest. One just must be aware and watching for that possible scam. Remembering that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!
Some popular “horse trading” web sites:
Bay Area Equestrian Network Great site with a California focus
DreamHorse National exposure
Rainbow Ag Trading Post Don’t forget our own local free classifieds!
Eraldi of Eraldi Training in Potter Valley, specializes
in training for all around horsemanship. She can be
contacted at 707-743-1337, or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or read her blog at Horseman's Diary
to Rainbow Ag Horse Home Page