Advice wanted re: selling horse

Hey Everyone!
I’m looking for advice to whether to sell my young horse. Background info: I have 2 young horses a 5yr old and a 4yr old, the 4 year old is the one I’m debating with selling. The 4 yr old is unstarted - because he’s almost 17 hands and I wanted to give him a bit extra time, and I’ve just been too busy - but has a amazing ammy friendly personality, and has done lots of groundwork, he’s probably ready to be hoped on anytime. I’ve had him since he was a yearling and do adore him, but I think my 5 yr old is more suitable for me long term. I was planning on keeping them both long term as I’m not interested in cycling through project horses anymore. But, long story short, I’ve realized that keeping them both is more expensive then I’d like (I know, I know horses are expensive!) and I’ve been thinking that with only one horse I would have more freedom both monetarily and time wise. I’m close to finishing my BA and I’m thinking about applying for a Masters, so I’ll be in school for the next 3 years at least. The 4 yr old is a social boy and would love to have someone who could spend more time with him and I feel guilty.

What makes my nervous about selling him is I worry about where he’ll end up. I’ve worked for many trainers and at many barns and I know that not all of them are created equal.

The other thing that holds me back is that at current horse prices there is no way I could ever afford to buy a horse like him (unstarted warmbloods are going for upwards of 25k).

Basically my choices are to sell him, or have him hang out in a field for possibly 2 or more years. I would really like some advice from people who have been through the same situation. Thanks!

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  1. I guess you could try having the right to buy him back if you found the right buyer. Of course it is iffy at best since they have to notify you. It might give you some peace of mind. Sadly you never control what happens when they leave you.

  2. You aren’t doing him any favors by keeping him and letting him stay basically " halter broke" only. I don’t know what the real chances are of you actually getting $20k+ for him as he is since there are plenty of nice horses out there.

Add 2-3 years ( or more) of him sitting while you pursue your schooling and work on the other horse and he is now 7-8 and still basically un-started? That is not looked on favorably by many in the market for a horse and I really don’t think it does your horse any favors either to sit ( even if you keep him).

Personally, if he is that nice and means that much to you I would find a way to get him started and if nothing else ride just 2 days a week and schedule it so you give both your horses time. They may be shorter training sessions but that is better than sitting idle.

As hard as it is , either use him or let him go so he can be used. Pastures are full of horses with potential who never get started because their owner just never found the time.


Sell him to a trainer you trust as a project horse they can sell on to a client.

Or send him out to a trainer you trust to put 90 days on him and start riding him.

4 is about the latest you can start a horse and not have him be behind his peers forever.

Once you get an unroke 7 or 8 year old you are getting into cheap project territory, once he hits 12 or 13 he’s a freebie and once he hits 15 or 16 he’s a rescue shelter case. Time goes by so much faster than you think. Make a decision.


I think that if you’ve really put some thought into this and have decided that selling him is your best option, then you should do it. It is true that once you sell a horse, you lose control of what happens next, but all you can do is try to do your best for him.

You might consider sending out to a trainer for 90+ days as Scribbler suggests, and then ride him yourself for several months, even if it’s only 3x/week. After a year or so, you might have a stronger sense of what you really want to do with him, and if you still think it’s the right move to sell him, then you should go ahead. He’ll be worth more and, because both you and potential buyers will have a fuller picture of what he’s like under-saddle, he’ll be more likely to end up with a good match for an owner.

If you do sell him, put the money you get into a separate bank or stock portfolio account and just leave it there until you decide you want to buy another horse. The magic of compound interest will be your friend!


I agree with the other posters comments. In my area we have trainers that other trainers send their young unridden horses to for training. If you have a similar trainer in your area that you either send your horse to or sell to at least your horse will be well started and this will help get them in a good situation going forward. Good luck!


Don’t worry I wasn’t planning on asking that much for him at all, that was more to illustrate that there’s no way I could pay that much for a different young horse

Thank you everyone you all gave me the kick in the butt I needed haha You’re all right. I’m not doing him any favours right now. I think I’ll tell my trainer that I’m planning on selling him but I’ll go through her close contacts first. This is why I stopped reselling projects, I just get way to attached and emotional invested.


I agree with everyone else, if you’re going to sell him un-started, sell him now. Not only for the price consideration, but an un-started four-year-old has a much better chance at a great next home than an unbroke 6-7 year old or 12-13 year old.


While you don’t want to price him out of the market, don’t discount him much, either.

Strange psychological fact that people put more value on something in which they have invested enough to be noticeable to their bank account (an amount that varies by the bank account / person). The next owner will take him more seriously if they thought enough of him to put out a little coin for him.


He might just bring that if you asked. I have no doubt he is a nice quality animal.

I wasn’t meaning to come across as negative on his value but just saying that it seems when we have one for sale they never bring what we think they should. When we are shopping for a horse the same type seems to cost way more.

You are not alone in getting too attached. I have had several that I had a hard time letting go.


There’s nothing wrong with a horse living life as a pasture ornament, no matter how much potential they have – as long as you can afford that. Horses don’t have career goals. :slight_smile: But, as others have alluded to, the longer he goes without being started (once his body is ready for that), the less likely he will be to find a quality home if you do decide to sell him later on.

ETA sorry, I missed some of the newest posts in this thread before I shared my thoughts…and then I realized I’m really just repeating what others already said. Oops!

The market is crazy for sure, but not this crazy. I’m in a pricey part of the U.S. (northeast) and we just picked up a VERY fancy 4-year-old going under saddle, popped over a few X-rails, for $30k. I wouldn’t pay $25k+ for anything unstarted personally, especially when I can have 5 or 6-year-olds that are going and doing in Europe landed at my door for $30-35k. He either needs to be started or sold.


Agree. I would not expect to get 25k for an unstarted 4 year old. Probably more about 15 if he’s registered, maybe a bit more if he’s particularly flashy. He’s actually IMO a bit behind and at four I would have expected someone to at least of sat on him by now. OP, you might have a hard time getting what you are expecting for him without having him under saddle at least a few months

Wow!! That’s interesting. I’ve been shopping (though for dressage prospects) and I’m seeing $25-35k 2-year-olds sell. I talked to someone who wanted $25k for a (very nice) yearling. No guarantee they sold for full price of course, but they did not sit on the market long. Based on what I’m seeing I wouldn’t be surprised to see a nice 4-year-old WB go for $25k+, started or not.

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:woman_shrugging: I mean, if those people are spending that in the U.S., they’re getting taken. I’m stalking the Westphalian auction at the moment with 4-6-year-olds that can navigate a course going from 12-25,000 euros.

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Plus another $10k to get it here & who knows how much in incidentals like buyer’s premiums & vettings.

This past winter there was an absolutely drool worthy jumper pony prospect at one of those auctions. My boss, who was casually watching the clip of the pony in the chute over my shoulder, immediately pointed out it was off. It could’ve been an incidental thing – a young, athletic horse feeling sore after maybe overdoing it a little in excitement at free jumping, or bare feet vs hard ground. For me personally, I’m going to have a lot less confidence in establishing what is going on with that horse than with one that is here. I speak decent German. I’d still be uncomfortable trying to discuss horse legs in it. :exploding_head:

Someone will LOVE the fact that he’s an unstarted 4 y.o. Not my cup of tea, but they are definitely a market you can specifically target with that “perk”.

$25k for a 4 y.o. that could come out swinging in 2022?
Absolute steal if it has any sort of quality. Especially for an educated amateur that’s topped out at 20/25k and would strongly prefer to meet the horse first & not gamble on a Euro auction.
The other options in that price range are nowhere near show-ready for 2022 or have 3 feet in the grave.


At 4, this horse is old for being unstarted. A two year old from a well known breeding program with good bloodlines could definitely be worth 25k. Every year past 3 the horse isn’t under saddle it’s worth is going to drop significantly.


No worries! I appreciate your opinion! I definitely agree with you, it’s so hard to get out of that mentality that if your horse isn’t in work or showing that he’s “wasting his potential”.

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Not to argue with anyone but around here getting started at 4 or 5 is the norm, especially if they’re over 16.2. It won’t affect his price at all, like I said he’s almost 17 hands and both my vets agreed that giving him an extra year or two is the right call. I find it interesting that many of you see it as a huge downside, and always start at 3.

About 25k for an unstarted 4 year old - It’s what the market looks like around me (btw I’m Canadian so that’s 25k Canadian). Once started you’d be looking at 30-45k list price, I’ve seen just going 5 and 6 year olds listed for anywhere from 50k-125k… 3 foot packers are listed over 65k…

No one wants to import right now so the price of local horses has gone up considerably. Once again not trying to argue with anyone this is just what I see.