First I have to say the horse sales industry is unregulated. Meaning there are no rules and no laws that outline the way in which people and businesses should operate in relation to sales of horses. Basically it’s a free for all, as long as it doesn’t break any other laws outside of horse sales. Trainers, agents and sellers can do whatever they want. In other industries there are laws that require the professionals involved to disclose conflicts of interest cases. Ie. The horse was previously owned by the agent.
In the sales market it is expected to pay 10-30% commission on a sale. This price is generally included in the sales price to the buyer and is then paid by the seller. BUT do not make the mistake of not asking when taking an agent or trainer with you to buy a horse. Ensure that you have outlined the expectations from you and what the agent expects from you. There are cases in which a buyer will pay commission to his or her agent. You are effectively asking an agent/coach/trainer to represent you and your best interests using their knowledge and experience in the horse industry.
Sometimes in these arrangements a number of people involved. A seller’s agent, a buyer’s agent, trainer and listing agent. Let’s break down what each of these people’s jobs should be. A seller’s agent or a sales agent should have the horses listed with them, bring people to see the horse, show the horse and should know quite a bit about the horse. The seller’s agent should/may also video the horse for the seller and take good photographs. This person’s ultimate job is to show and represent the horse to the best of their ability. They can also negotiate on behalf of the seller.
A trainer will usually represent the buyer. They are effectively the buyers coach. We use the word trainer but coach might be a more appropriate word. Their job is to use the knowledge they know about the buyer to find a suitable match, negotiate terms of the agreement and price.
One thing that happens here in B.C. is we have both listing agents and sales agents. Its important to know the difference. A listing agent is simply that – they list the horse for sale on sales sites and send people to the seller or sellers agent. There are listing agents who ask for 10% on the sales price.
The best advice I can give someone looking for a horse is take an agent if you don’t have a coach with you or take your coach. Don’t expect them to do it for free but their experience and knowledge is invaluable to finding the right match. And lastly – buy the horse you need now not the horse you want to ride.
Sales Agent at Hylee Training