New Poll – March 23-10, 2008; Do Auctions Hurt Private Sales?

The new poll for this week is up.  It comes to us from a fellow user of Above Level.  Let us know what you think by commenting on this post.

Do you think that the numerous Morgan horse auctions that are cropping up hurt private Morgan horse sales? Let us know why or why not.

7 Responses to New Poll – March 23-10, 2008; Do Auctions Hurt Private Sales?

  1. Black Eye Beth says:

    As many of you know, we have had a discussion on this topic earlier in the year (See “Morgan Horse Auctions on the Rise“). I do believe auctions hurt private sales. Before their proliferation, buyers were forced to go to various barns to see and “try out” each horse. Now they can make one trip, see many horses at once and purchase something in their price range. If it doesn’t work out, they can just stick the horse right back in the next auction.

    Although I can certainly understand the economics of buying a horse through that route, I don’t think it is good for the Morgan industry as a whole. It is causing Morgans to be an “auction breed”. I also think it doesn’t promote responsible breeding.

    So..that’s my 2 pennies

  2. mydoglovesme says:

    I agree with Blackeye Beth. We have been in this business since the early 1980′s. At that time there were NO auctions to take a registered Morgan to unless the local horse auction had a special registered horse sale. Or unless a breeding farm was having a production sale, or disperals. Those were pretty rare events. Now with several auctions all being regular annual events, as a buyer, of course you’re going to cruise those first looking for a bargain instead of making the indiviual trips to several different areas of the country spending more time and money doing so than going to an auction to find your next champion. Part of it is convienence and part of it is the total economy of the situation. Therefore, I do believe that it is much harder to get interest in what we have for sale here at the farm privately than in those pre-annual sale years. I as a consummer myself read the Sunday paper and clip coupons and check out the sale fliers before I go shopping. In today’s economy, every little advantage helps. So I can’t blame anyone for wanting to get the best deal possible when it comes to purchasing their next horse either. Who it really matters to is the person who is still brave enough to invest in breeding and raising “those bargains” that we all purchase. How long can the industry survive if we continue to expect breeders to invest 5-20 thousand getting the foal on the ground,and we buy them at auction for a fraction of that cost? Note the ever depleating number of breeding farms left out there. Certainly gives us all food for thought the next trip we make to an auction house.

  3. Mocha Mom says:

    I should probably keep my mouth shut as I have never purchased a horse, but I haven’t finished my coffee yet, so here goes. I suspect that the recent proliferation of auctions is the result of our overbooked lifestyles. Let’s face it, auctions are easier and more time-effective for both the buyer and the seller. The seller doesn’t have to spend time and money marketing the horse and the buyer doesn’t have to spend time and money travelling around to look at horses. As you say BEB, if it doesn’t work out, just throw the horse back in the next auction.

    Perhaps the internet and sites like Above Level, with its unlimited capacity for multiple photos and video, will help to connect buyers and sellers more effectively.

  4. Alicia says:

    I absolutely think that auctions affect private sales. And I think the ladies above have hit the nail on the head in regards to their popularity. I know lots and lots of trainers and amateurs and breeders who find great bargains at a sale. I, however, never attend them, and here’s why. First of all, who I am purchasing a horse from/through is very important to me. I wan to know the horse’s background, its training level, the environment it works well in, etc. I have talked a lot about this in previous posts regarding this topic. But there is a other thing for me to think about as a trainer helping a client find a horse, and that is emotional attachment. While in theory it is easy enough just to throw the horse back in another auction if he doesn’t work out, I think it is a very difficult thing for the horse owner to actually do. Now I am in the thankless position of trying to put together a team where the two partners are not compatible. This is also something that is much easier to deal with through a private sale. I can talk to another trainer about my rider, their needs and goals, and together we can find a good fit. And more often than not, the horse that is flashiest and therefore a great “impulse buy” at an auction, is not the one we would take home in a private sale. I think auctions should be reserved for horses that have no other alternatives and really need a buyer beware environment to get sold. To that end, I would assume that the majority of horses going through an auction are there because they are difficult to represent privately for one reason or another.

  5. Merlcann08 says:

    I’ll agree with Alicia. I think that shopping by word of mouth and the web is more effective than auctions. I’m not sure if it hurts the private sales because I think there are two seperate markets.
    As technology has increased I see an increase in births without the means to complete their education as trainers just don’t have time.

  6. Mocha Mom says:

    What Alicia is describing is the way that buying and selling a horse SHOULD be. Have you had much success actually selling horses this way? My experience has been that the buyers are the ones lacking in the private sales. I had a horse for sale, with a trainer, for two years, and in all that time had only ONE serious inquiry. It was not a good match and I ended up putting the horse through an auction. What are those people who buy a horse at an auction thinking? Sure, everyone wants a bargain, but I would think that the chances are much greater that they will end up with a horse that is not well-suited to them. Rather than risk having to put another horse through an auction, I’ve stopped putting them on the ground.

  7. Alicia says:

    To answer your question, we have had some success selling horses this way. Although we have seen a definite decline in the interest level from buyers in the last two months, I would say that we receive 2-5 sales calls in any given week, and I usually send out 1-3 videos per week as a result. We usually have buyers on the farm about once a month, and it is about 50/50 trainers/regular owners. Horses priced under $10,000 tend to sell within 90 days, especially if they have any show record. In 2007, we sold 8 registered Morgan show horses, and their average price was $18,500, with our most expensive horse going for $32,000 and the cheapest going for $5,000. The average price of the horses purchased through my business is $16,500 with the highest being $35,000 and the lowest being $3,000 (15 year old school horse). To our knowledge all of the clients who purchased horses from us, still have them and are happy with their purchases, and I can say for sure that all of the horses we’ve purchased are still here and getting ready to show with happy owners. I think those numbers vary greatly from auction numbers, and I am certain the happy client ratio is much higher with a private sale.

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