What’s a fair offer?

There is a horse available at my barn I’m giving serious consideration to.

Details on him-
15 yr old grade POA gelding
14.3 hh
Barefoot, no maintenance, no colic or lameness history in the last 5 years he’s been at my barn.
Nicely put together and an all around good citizen on the ground. Loads, ties, clips, leads.

When he was in constant work his job was local show Hunter/jumper stuff. He was quite successful at the local level and could nicely go around 3’6” course.

He has some basic dressage training, schooling 1st level when he was in tip top shape.

Been standing around pretty much unused the last two years.

I got on him today and he’s definitely rusty and would need a couple months of legging up and a refresher course, all of which I can handle.

He’s available as his current junior owner has fallen drastically behind on board due to a series of unfortunate family events. The BO has been more than gracious but has moved to ownership and sale to recoup her costs.

Our barn doesn’t buy/sell or deal with many horses changing hands, so folks are kind of clueless as to what his market value is. I have a number in mind that I think is a fair offer - but was curious as to the opinion of the COTH hive mind.

This isn’t a question of “should I buy the horse”, it’s a question of “what is a fair offer”. I’m not looking to take advantage of the situation but also don’t want to overpay.

For context I’m in the Midwest. What say you?

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Fair is relative. I would say under $5 k as he is rusty older and likely isn’t going back to 3 foot 6. How much lower depends on situation. Barn owner wants him off her payroll too. She’s ahead selling him to you now for $3k even rather than feeding and rehabbing or a couple of months in hopes of a better offer

Edited to add, these are Canadian dollars. Your dollar buys more :slight_smile:


I did a search of my local FB group, and a younger POA (but less well schooled, only jumped around 2’6" and no dressage background) with similar stats went for around $5,000 with a motivated seller.

You might want to do the same–go to your local group, search for “pony” and “POA” and get an idea, or look at some local ads to get a range.

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I was going to say $10-$15k for a safe and fun hony with experience in this market.


I mean, this would be the perfect type of horse for me, so I think he might be worth more to some riders, especially since it’s hard to find safe little honys lately. I think the question is “how rusty” in terms of his value.

The fact he’s a hardy pony type without a significant medical history would also be a big plus to me a as a buyer.


If he jumps over 3’ even as a hony, he would sell for at least 10k in my area. Even needing to be legged up, if ammy safe and easy to deal with.


This is what I would think as well.

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I’d say between $5-$10k. It really just depends on where you live and what comparables are selling for. Considering he’s been out of a program for 2 years and is getting older (and did a lot in his younger days), there may be upcoming health/maintenance issues to deal with. So <$10k in his current situation vs. if he had been kept in a riding and/or show program, which would easily be >$10k.


I was gonna say $5000. He’d be worth more if he was a bit smaller, pony size. Make an offer that you presume they will turn down, but not low enough to insult. If they take it, bonus for you. If they don’t take it, they should come back with a counter offer that you can consider. You may come to a mutually acceptable number. Good luck!


I’m thinking that at 15 yo, no matter how sound he is now, a new owner should expect that he’ll be stepping down the levels at some point. Much sooner than a younger horse, of course. Hoping the next owner is considering the long-term future of this horse.

In my opinion the next buyer needs to be thinking about the end of life plan for him, even if that is 10-15+ years away. Because, bluntly, he will be increasingly less sale-able and harder to re-home as he gets older and has less use left in him. Because he will be needing a low-effort job and/or full retirement for an unknown number of years and depending on where you are it can be hard to find a good place for that.

Just tossing that into the decision salad. :slight_smile:


If you can find out how much the boarder owes the BO, start there. If you can offer at least what is owed in back board, you should be on the right track. If it’s maybe a little bit more then the BO makes some money for her time and trouble in addition to what she’s owed for the missed payments.

Around here (east coast, but also as seen on Facebook) you can’t find anything that sounds like this for under 10,000. If it is safe, relatively sound, walk trot canters, jumps small jumps… that’s what everyone is looking for, even as lesson horses and even as an odd size.


Thanks all.

The BO is completely in charge of the sale at this point, but wants to give anything over what is owed, back to the original owners. It’s a tough situation for everyone involved.

I know roughly how much is owed, and 5k would take care of the back bills and leave a bit extra for them. That was the number I was going to offer.

A couple years ago I would have said he was a 10-15k horse, but now being out of work…and after sticking him today and confirming he’s over pony size… well…

Plus I offer a soft landing and intend to provide a lifetime home so there’s the peace of mind that goes with that.

Going to sleep on it a couple nights and ride him again this weekend.


$7k. He has everything there and no lameness issues- on the lower side due to age only. He sounds just like a solid citizen I recently almost bought for the same price (but for a lousy PPE :disappointed:)


5-7 k. Depending on where you’re located. Horse sounds like a gem. Good luck! :+1:


I think $5k is a reasonable starting place. He sounds like a cool horse but also a mild risk given his age and time off. Plus obviously selling him in barn and keeping him as a boarder would be convenient for the BO.


Commenting from the business perspective of the BO … that is, the people who ended up being owed a lot of money and now have another horse to care for.

In situations like this, where the BO does not benefit from the excess of sales price over what is owed, the goal of the sale is not to maximize the potential value of the horse. It is to make the BO’s whole. Including their costs for him after they took possession, which increases by the day assuming the horse is living on more than grass pasture.

This approach avoids putting pressure on the seller - the BO - to add riding/training, or bring in a sales expert, or anything else to increase the potential sales price. All of which can add to the uncertainty and the time to sell the horse.

The point being that in the OP’s shoes I too would start near the amount that the BO is trying to recover. I would not be concerned about potential market value, unless the BO is concerned about it. Other than for useful information.:slight_smile:

Wonderful. Thank you for thinking of him for the rest of his life. :heart:

I hope you’ll let us know how this turns out. Good luck !!! :slight_smile:


This is soooo helpful.

She wants the best for him, but she’s also running a business (and does so quite well) so her motivations are different from a traditional seller. She would probably take enough to break even, but then I’d feel guilty for taking advantage of a bad situation.


The highlighted part is exactly the right approach. :slight_smile:

You don’t need to feel guilty about other people’s lives and choices. That is not on you. It isn’t your job to financially support their difficulties, whatever sympathy you may have for them. It’s just not possible to fix the world.

If this horse were not so favorably priced, maybe he wouldn’t even be available to you, a kind future owner who will take care of him for the rest of his life. Who is not thinking about resale and/or what she can wring out of him while he’s useful.

If he were on the open market chasing the best price, who knows where he would end up … and where he would end up when that type of buyer was done with him. Have seen some once lovely show horses end up in sad, sad situations at the end of their useful careers.

Anyway. I’m sure that however this works out, the nice BO will help him find a soft landing. I hope the BO comes out of this without a loss. :slight_smile:


You’re not taking advantage, it correlates well to what he’s worth and makes the BO whole on back board, and gives the pony a good home, and and and

5-7K is what I was thinking, if 5k will make BO whole and throw a penny or two at the previous owners, perfect.


I bought a 16 year old, OTTB schoolie 6 years ago. She was more Intro Level, 2’6” jump, sound, safe as houses. Paid $4.5K. I’d offer $7k for this dude.