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Tips For Selling Your Horse

"Only YOU can insure that your horse has a humane ending. No matter how old the horse is and no matter what the horse's condition, the horse has a value as meat. Get It In Writing!!!"   ~ EPN/HEART NETWORK WEBSITE


It can even be profitable to keep your old horse. By keeping ownership of your horse, you retain control of your horse's future care. Once you have sold the horse, you no longer have control of what happens to your horse.
  • Board horse at retirement farm - the horse is still yours, you have complete control over his care and handling.
  • Lease horse to 4-H or pony club - horses that are very calm and like kids will benefit well from this type of arrangement.
  • Lease to therapeutic riding program - benefits handicapped children while also assuring that your horse will never be beaten or slaughtered. NARHA (800) 369-RIDE
  • Lease to college for research or teaching.


If you decide to donate your horse, you are no longer the owner and no longer in complete control of your horse's destiny. However, contracts may be designed in a way that your horse will never be treated inhumanely and never re-sold. Donating to police departments are always a good option because police departments never sell their horses, the horses will have humane treatment all the way through their last days. In addition, donating to equine welfare organizations for adoption are sometimes a good idea, however, be aware of the buying guidelines at the organization. Some organizations sell the horses for cheap, and don't demand the horse never be re-sold - and they don't ask for updates on the animals.

When donating a horse, it is strongly recommended that it be put in writing that when the organization receiving the horse can no longer utilize the horse, that the horse be humanely euthanised. It is preferable that the donor pay the cost of euthanasia to insure that the veterinarian is working for the donor. Death Certificates and follow-up phone calls are a must. Reportedly organizations receiving donated horses have routinely sold the horses directly or indirectly to "killer buyers". As long as a horse is breathing, he has a value as meat for human consumption.
  • PA State Police 1-717-533-9111
  • Pittsburgh Mounted Police 1-412-255-2830
  • New York City Parks Dept 1-212-496-2000
  • United States Government 1-703-696-3568
  • Mounted Police Training 1-888-668-6860
  • National Mounted Services 1-914-359-3854
  • Harness Horse Standardbreds 1-570-725-7979


If you have an horse that is no longer of use for you, or one that you just can't afford any longer, there is always someone out there who will love and care for him! However, finding that special person can be pretty hard! You may sell your horse to a "good home", but even "good homes" may be unable to keep the horse due to death, disability, unemployment...etc.

To be sure that your horse will never go to slaughter and is never treated inhumanely or neglected, when selling him be sure to include in your contract that the new owner must:
  • Send pictures (front, each side, and hind) every 6 months.
  • Return the horse to you if conditions permit them from keeping the horse.
  • Send you a letter written from the horse's veterinarian once per year stating that the horse's condition is well and he is up-to-date on all shots and vaccinations, hoof trimming and dental work.
  • If the horse can no longer be utilized for work or as a companion due to health, the horse must be humanely euthanised.

Other good ideas before selling:

- Brand your horse with a number for identification.
- Register your horse with a registry (supposedly increases value).
- Ask your vet about placing a chip in your horse's neck for tracking.


When choosing a retirement farm owners must choose if they want a personalized facility or a large turnout with little personal care. The care a horse requires now will change as he grows older. Many larger farms are not interested in caring for labor intensive horses. Smaller farms tend to have higher board rates than larger farms because there are less boarders to cover overhead costs. Overhead includes, facility and equipment cost and maintenance, taxes, insurance, supplies, feed, labor costs, and a profit. The board rate must cover all of this. Ridiculously low board rates should be questioned. The horse's welfare is at stake.

  • Plan early, before your horse is ready for retirement or a new home.
  • People are more apt to follow the rules if there is a contract.
  • Have contracts witnessed and notarized.
  • When entering a contract obtain the others' Social Security and Driver License numbers.
  • Check references and visit the stabling facilities.
  • Some dealers will tell a horse owner whatever the owner wants to hear so that the horse owner will sell or give the horse to them.

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This article was published on: 2000. Last updated on: 2000.