Thinking of selling that saddle you are not using any more? Want to release its funds for another one? Well, as they say, it’s so easy to buy, but a lot harder to sell. So here are a few essential tips based on our years of experience in selling consigned saddles here at Good Apple Equine Consignment, which may help you realize the money your saddle is really worth.
Think of it this way. The golden rule is to put yourself in the shoes of your prospective customer. If you were in the market for a new (to you) saddle, what would you expect from your purchase? At least the following (not necessarily in order of importance):
- Right Purpose
- Correct Size
- Within Budget
- Good Condition
- Fits Horse and Rider
- Well Designed
So, how can you do your best to ensure you receive what your saddle is worth? Here are a few tips which are often overlooked by sellers and this will help you stay at the top of the selling ladder when you are in competition with a lot of other used saddle sellers out there – both private and retailers.
Ensure the description of your used saddle is accurate, relevant and enticing. Remember the information you leave out is as important as the information you put in. Example: if the saddle has blemishes or weakness (such as billets need replacement), ensure that this is noted, as you may be held responsible or it may result in the return of your saddle – at your expense! Take the time to research your saddle online, find its features and benefits and offer information such as its type, brand, model, size (seat and gullet width), age, stamp marks, blemishes, accessories, etc. It’s often helpful to mention what breed or shape of horse the saddle fits best.
Example of Accurate Description of a Used Dressage Saddle:
TITLE: Kent & Masters (UK) Dressage Saddle, 17.5ins M/Wide
Make: Kent & Masters Ltd UK
Type: Dressage Saddle
Condition: Excellent Used Condition
Flap Length: 16.5ins
Fittings: Leathers & Irons
Trial: This Saddle is Eligible for a FREE 5-DAY SADDLE TRIAL.
Please ask us for details.
Followed by a relevant description:
“Absolutely stunning and beautifully made Kent & Masters Ltd., of Walsall, England dressage saddle for sale. It has been made with top quality premium leather, accommodates variations for billet fittings and is fully adjustable with a SimaTree gullet band system. It currently has a blue band – medium wide measured at 5.5ins. Generous breadth of panel, wide gullet and open-headed tree make this saddle easy to fit. Wool flocked. Three adjustable girthing options ensure saddle stability. The ideal choice for a horse with an average height wither. Built on a SimaTree saddle tree shaped to give wither clearance. Tree positions the rider centrally for a balanced dressage position. Luxurious hide knee pads and seat ensure maximum rider support and comfort. Suitable for flatwork and all levels of dressage. Saddle is believed to be 6 years old. No tears, stitching is in good condition and billet holes are not stretched or worn.” Note if certain places have been repaired or replaced. (Also helpful sometimes to offer the price of the saddle when brand new so people can see how much of a bargain they are getting).
CONDITION – WHO WANTS TO BUY A GROSS SADDLE?
Take the time and trouble to give your saddle a thoroughly deep clean. Unless you have a saddle with a rough out surface, you can safely use warm water with a little gentle dish soap such as ‘Ivory’ to clean off all the grease, mud and dirt and use a toothbrush gently to get into crevices and folds. Let the leather dry then apply a good quality leather cleaner/conditioner. We do not recommend any products not specifically intended to treat leather and especially good brands include Effax, Lord’s, Leather New, Carr, Day & Martin products, etc. Stay away from products that have petroleum based ingredients in them. Rough out leathers can sometimes be cleaned with a stiff brush and even a little water, but should be tested first. Fittings such as buckles, D-rings and conchos should be polished and free of grime, grease and tarnish. Saddle panels – if not made of leather – should be hair-free as much as possible. Consider repairing any suspect components before sale. This will not only bring you more money, but it will also help to protect you from potential disputes or issues.
PRESENTATION – PHOTOGRAPHY
Take lots of good quality, up-close-and-personal photographs of all angles of your saddle. Photographs of the gullet can also be taken with a tape measure shown, which is sometimes helpful, if the tape measure is in the correct place! Take photos of blemishes too, to reduce the risk of your saddle being returned because you did not disclose the defects.
PRICING – THE RIGHT BALANCE
Again, do your market research to see what kind of prices similar saddles are selling for on the internet. Visit websites and look at new ones to see what original prices are currently (sometimes some retailers have closedowns or reductions which could affect the selling price of your used saddle). Visit Ebay, HorseClicks, TackTrader and look at the various horse forums which provide a wealth of information from the people who have actually owned or are looking for similar saddles. Offer a fair price and be prepared to let customers haggle! Be prepared to come down a few dollars or include the price of shipping, which is a big plus. Accessories such as stirrups, leathers, cruppers, breast plates, etc., don’t tend to add a great deal to the value of your saddle, so consider selling them separately, or if you want them gone, treat them as an added bonus. Also consider when to sell your saddle: certain times of the year are better than others – so get a feel of when your ‘target market’ is most likely to start looking for their next saddle.
WHERE TO ADVERTISE – TARGET MARKETS
Now that you have gone to the trouble of cleaning your saddle, crafting its description and photographing it, you can duplicate your advertisements in many kinds of media:
These include: local press (Craig’s List), your own FaceBook page, specialized FaceBook pages, Pinterest, Twitter, HorseClicks, Tack Trader, etc. Also, don’t forget word of mouth, and local feed store noticeboards and pet stores. Be very precious about your security and personal details when advertising and if you allow your saddle to go out on trial, ensure you take full names, address, telephone numbers, email addresses, credit card details and driving licence numbers. If you ship, track your shipments. Speak to your prospective customer personally – don’t rely on emails or messages. Be aware of scams too – people who offer you more money than the saddle and want to give you a check via Western Union, etc.
CONSIGNMENT – THE EASIEST & MOST HASSLE-FREE WAY TO GO!
If you want a top-notch professional and specialized selling service which is safe, secure and hassle-free, then consider using an equine consignment store such as Good Apple Equine Consignment. They are based in Ocala, Florida and they ship to most states of the USA. Built into their commission fee is the cost of the tailored photography, market research, cleaning and maintenance of your saddle, niche marketing and personal presentation for you. They can often command better prices, advise customers, allow free saddle trials, etc. All you have to do is take it in to the store (or ship it by appointment), and wait for the check! Normal commission fees depend on the value of the saddle, but range anything from 20% to 30%. (Some consignment stores may charge more or less).
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
If you want TOP DOLLAR, be prepared to some work into selling your used saddle! It won’t sell itself sitting in your tack room gathering dust. Be open, honest, realistic and helpful. Happy selling!!
© Debbie Hattan, December, 2016