Selling Horses in South Florida. New Marketing Strategies Emerging
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By ILSE SCHWARZ
Is there a new system developing to present horses for sale? Perhaps a better way to see multiple horses in one trip?
South Florida is the winter destination for much of the equine industry based both in the USA and from multiple foreign countries.
As such it is a prime location for buying and selling horses. As a professional based in Wellington, Florida, I am well aware of the huge numbers of people who travel to southern Florida specifically looking looking for horses. I am also very well aware of the quantities of horses imported and sent to Florida for the prime purpose of being sold. Despite the the vast numbers of buyers and sellers, it often seems difficult find what you are looking for. It can be a challenge for both of these groups to meet.
Social media has become a huge tool in presenting horses for sale and “ISOs” (In Search Of”) requests are certainly one way to identify multiple horses that meet, or don’t meet, your set of requirements. But you are still looking st one horse here, one horse there. It is certainly a time consuming process. Videos can certainly give an idea of what a horse looks like but the reality is often rather different.
Word of mouth is still a powerful tool and agents are kept busy looking and trying to match horses and clients.
With SO many horses being brought to South Florida for sale, many people simply take the idea of searching in Europe off the table, as there is such a concentrated number of horses here, most already with some form of pre-vetting and they have had the chance to at least partially acclimatize to life in the USA.
However, it would seem to me that there are many horses that people simply don’t hear about. Some sellers are clearly aware of this issue and a new way, certainly new for South Florida, of selling horses is starting to emerge. Sellers are taking the opportunity to attract a large group of people by offering events to showcase a selection of horses.
Helgstrand possibly didn’t pioneer the idea over here, but he is absolutely the event that immediately springs to mind. The well known stable holds one or two of these events each season where the horses are schooled under the training of Ulf Möller. Fundamentally, people are curious to see what is for sale, and here is the chance to anonymously have a look at a group of sales horses without the limitation of only looking in their budget, or being nervous to sit on something. These evenings, complete with wine and cheese and a few vendors, typically attract hundreds of spectators and I am certain lead to quite a few enquiries.
A few other trainerss have also run with the idea. Catherine Haddad Staller has gathered sales horses in her own training barn in Loxahatchee, neigboring Wellington, and also included select horses based with other trainers. She also presents them in a training session.
Palm Beach Equine alongside the Global Dressage Festival grounds had their inaugural sales horse presentation in early February, inviting trainers based at the facility to showcase their sales horses. This provided quite a varied group of trainers who each presented one or two horses, so a large group was available to be viewed. They also took the mystery out of the pricing, with prices being listed with the description of the horse.
Ocala, in central Florida, also attracts many people moving south to escape the northern winters.
However, in general, people who travel to Wellington to look at horses are reluctant to drive the four hours north to look at horses located there. A group of trainers decided to address this issue and take the showcase idea one step further. The sales horses will also be available to be ridden, by appointment either the day before or day of the showcase. Something no other groups have advertised.
On Monday, March 2, Crane Hill Farm, a private facility based just south of Ocala, has invited local trainers from all over the area to bring their horses to be presented at this central location. A catalog is available and all the horses will be shipped to the farm for any riding appointments prior to the showcase evening.
This gives buyers the opportunity to not only watch the horses but to also immediately be able to ride a horse of interest. They also are being open about pricing, with a range listed with the description.
The range of horses at Crane Hill Farm is showcasing horses from four years old to proven Grand Prix competitors, priced from $25,000 to well into the six figures.
For more information, contact owner/manager Connie Wise at 352-409-2141 or Eline Eckroth at 352-3620404.