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Negotiating Horse Prices

Negotiating prices while horse shopping…
Do you negotiate directly with the buyer? Or do you let your coach take care of it?
When should you bring up a lower offer? Before or after seeing it in-person, or after PPE? I know PPE results can sometimes be leverage for a price reduction in some situations.

I’ve found a great 4yo OTTB gelding that I absolutely adore. He’s been let down for 2-3 months only track trained, not restarted, and he is priced at 12.5k… The seller did explain why the high price tag. She bought him for 6 figures at a breeders sale, and the horse is too slow showing no interest. He’s never run in the money or anything. Don’t get me wrong, He’s a lovely horse, very sound, solid, healthy, and from what she says he has great bloodlines. But for an OTTB that hasn’t been restarted the price seems high to me.

I will pay the 12.5k if I have to. But I would like to try getting her down to 8-10k. I just do not know how to do so. I do not want to lowball her or be disrespectful. Any advice is appreciated!

If you like the horse and can afford the horse, buy the horse. If you find something on a PPE that warrants a lower price, then make an offer. But as a seller, nothing ticks me off more than a buyer who makes a lowball offer for no reason other than they think the price is too high. Then, that buyer almost inevitably gets offended when the horse is sold out from under them for asking price.


In general, I don’t go look at a horse unless I’m prepared to pay the asking price if the horse is as advertised and I like it.

I know that there are people who believe in always offering less because heck, the seller might say yes. But I’m with @Tha_Ridge on this. As a seller, I price my horses realistically and a lowball offer for no good reason just ticks me off. Fortunately, my trainer acts as my agent so I can say, “Tell that bitch not just no, but hell no,” and my trainer communicates the negative in a polite, professional manner. :rofl:


I can relate selling a horse to me selling my condo before I moved to the boonies. There was nothing worse than the low ballers that always wanted you to jump through multiple hoops and then offered to buy the place for a lot less than the place next door. Thank heavens for RE agents so I couldn’t tell them to FO. So - when buying a horse I have never made a lower offer. Most of what I bought was already at a very low price for what the horse was so I would have been embarrassed to offer less. Now if the seller wanted to drop the price - who was I to offer more?

Conversely as I look for a new equine partner I see horses that are to my eye overpriced. And they sit on the market forever. I just look at them, decide I don’t think the horse is worth the asking price and move on. Next… Not going to argue with the seller.

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It depends on the market, if said horse has been sitting on the market, and how easy of a transaction I can make it for the seller.

I’ve purchased a horse with a discount due to bringing cash and a trailer when I tried them. Horse was sound when I tried them and lovely. I didn’t bother with vet check on a horse already doing the job.

In your situation, you like the horse, horse passes a PPE, behaves as advertised… just pay the $$.


Going from 12.5k to 8k is a huge leap and I just don’t believe there would be a way to go about that without offending the seller. I think you might actually forfeit your chance of purchasing if you make that approach. If someone approached me about a horse I had for sale and offered 2k less for no justifiable reason, I wouldn’t think they were serious and I’d stop talking to them. This person is likely very aware of the quality of horse they are selling and has priced them accordingly.

FWIW, I purchased an OTTB in 2008 for 12.5k. He was also not restarted. He would be priced much higher now. He was a high 6 figure horse when sold at Keeneland auction and extremely nice. I never questioned the price - I considered myself lucky to own such a nice horse. A nice horse is a nice horse. Don’t devalue the horse just because he is an OTTB.


Just to be a bit of a devil’s advocate… I know of a situation right now where a trainer acting as agent has a horse priced about double where I think it should be priced. Admittedly, my opinion is non-pro but I am someone who might be considered to be part of the target market for the horse. The fact that there has been almost zero interest in the horse after several months on the market suggests that the market agrees with me. In this case, price started in low fives but has been reduced to high four figures, Trainer has stated that the high price is to make sure the horse attracts the right kind of buyer, and the verbage in the ads always includes “good home most important”. I believe that if someone who was a good match and a verifiable good home for the horse made an offer that was half the current asking price, the offer would be accepted because current owner needs to move the horse.

The price the horse sold at a sale doesn’t determine what it goes for later - plenty of $400k babies out there going for $4k off the track. YMMV - I personally would consider it for a nicely bred mare, less for a gelding.

Anyways, just ask the seller if they’re negotiable on the price! There’s a huge difference between making a lower offer (within reason) on a negotiable horse vs someone who says “no, the price is X”. One is expected, the other is rude af.

Honestly though if they are motivated to sell, and it’s the end of the month and you have a trailer to go grab the horse, you can often get a deal. If they’re content to sit on it for a few more months, you’re either going to cough up $12k or have to wait and risk it.


Exactly. I got two former six-figure OTTB mares off the track for FREE.

That being said, the seller can ask whatever they want for their horse, whether they’re deluded or not.


If I was interested in the horse but thought it might be overpriced, one of my earlier questions to the seller would be “is there any room for negotiation on the price?” If you get an emphatic “No” I would not proceed unless I was prepared to pay the asking price. I typically got something like “there might be a little to the right situation”. Then I would feel comfortable offering 1 or 2K less if that was how I valued the horse. I would not offer 4K less. Then the discussion continues. I generally am able to pay a bit under asking. I do know some people see a horse on the market a while and show up with cash and a trailer and are sometimes able to get a considerably lower price.

And, to me, his previous price as a racing prospect is irrelevant. And as an adult gelding, his bloodlines dont mean much unless it is a known sport horse line.


I also think the tone and how one asks if the price is negotiable is very important.


Totally. Don’t ever come at it from a perspective of “I think Dobbin is overpriced so I want to offer you X,” but if you make a rational argument (“I really love Dobbin, but it looks like it’s going to cost me $2k to ship him home which is a little more than I expected—could you account for that in the price?”) and I think you’re the best home for my horse, I will listen.

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Just a curiosity question: I keep hearing of folks who got the $80k horse for $65k. And I have heard of differences of 20% on a regular basis. This is SoCal. Is everyone lying?

Don’t you think most sellers price high expecting to be negotiated down? (Unless they are breeder, in which case, I believe the do know the market and price appropriately.)

From having dealt at both ends, I think there’s a very big difference between the types of negotiations that happen on high-five and six-figure animals versus the $5-10k market. This is partly because the higher prices are usually so padded with commissions to dealers and trainers that if someone agrees to forego or reduce their cut to get a deal done, that immediately can translate to a 10-20% drop in a horse’s price.


The exceptions and what-ifs that people are posting are different from the situation described by the OP.

If someone asks upfront if the price is negotiable, that’s fine. You ask, I’ll tell you the degree to which I might be negotiable and conditions under which that might happen and we can go from there, no problem. And if I was interested in a horse that had been on the market for a while, I would absolutely ask upfront if the price was negotiable.

I have also gotten $1500 off on a really cheap, old, step-way-down horse that I bought sight unseen because transport turned out to be “holy crap, I had no idea how much both ends of the trip being in the middle of freakin’ nowhere added to the cost.” The seller was in a situation that she was willing to help offset transport costs.

There are many reasons why the price of a horse might be negotiable but my reading of the OP was that the owner felt justified in the asking price and the buyer “absolutely adored” the horse but just wanted to pay a lot less for no real reason other than yeah, who doesn’t want to pay a lot less? If I was the seller in that situation, I would not look kindly on an offer of $8-10K on a horse I thought was worth $12.5K.


The sunk cost of the horse from auction, as a race horse, has zip, nada, no bearing on his “worth” as a riding horse.

Does he know anything? He can still lame himself tomorrow and be worth nothing to you.

Negotiation is a skill, and it’s cultural. Lots of people are offended just by the very idea. Be prepared for that. You risk losing the horse if you offend the seller.

You risk retaining some cash if you don’t.

How much is he worth to you?


We have sold many pieces for farm equipment ( excellently maintained) as well as animals we slave over daily to keep healthy and in my experience, one of the most insulting things you can say to a person with something of actual value for sale---- before you even see it----- is " will you take less"? or immediately ask if I will take x amount $$$$ …

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I had someone offer me less for a horse for sale to pay for the vet check. I nixed that right away.

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never have negotiated the price but have negotiated the terms of how the payment was to be made so that payment was favorable to both parties

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Once upon a time, I went a very long way at very short notice to see a horse who was exactly what I wanted on paper. Clicked with the owners, clicked with the horse. I could afford him, and I would have paid full price for him, but I did ask if they might be open to offers as I was sitting having a cup of coffee with them after I’d tried him. Evidently, they liked me and felt I could provide an appropriate home for him. They offered him to me for half their original asking price. I wrote that deposit check so fast…

We stayed friends for the rest of that horse’s life, and we are still in contact now.