Insights from the founder of the Mane Street Market App
As the holidays draw near and thoughts of buying and/or selling a new horse for Christmas or in the New Year become front and center, The Tech Equestrian knew to reach out to India Lynn Wilkinson, founder and creator of the Mane Street Market app to learn more about her digital solution and gain insight on what’s trending in the horse market plus gather tips to help in the process.
The App Defined
“I designed the app to be ‘alive’ – since many of the horse selling websites are static,” shared India. “The app is very simple - it allows you to list and view horses for sale along with promoting equine businesses and services.” The app and online site feature an intelligent search to view on a map or as a list, plus you can text directly from the app. There is an alert feature which provides notifications when new horses are listed that meet your criteria – great for trainers who are shopping for multiple clients. “I also wanted to create something that gives equestrians and businesses a more professional feel.”
An Integrated Approach
India’s focus is to drive more downloads, get more visibility, and have more eyes on horses and services through her solution. “As a seller, you can count on us to promote a horse and service every day on our social platforms. We also answer ‘in search of’ posts from other equestrian platforms.” Advertising packages offer flexible plans and pricing based on your goals. “Every single download and followers are real – I can authentically say – you are reaching an actual equestrian – which is extremely important to advertisers,” pointed out India. The businesses are there because of the equestrians coming to the app.
On the Auction Block
As India looks to build her business, she noticed an area of opportunity in offering an auction platform. “Starting in December, we are launching Mane Street Market Auctions that will showcase a select number of sport horses.” The impetus for the idea came to India from the Western/Quarter horse world. “They do a really good job with their auctions, similar to Europe and I noticed that in the US for sport horses we were missing a targeted price point that has a simple, easy to use platform.”
To simplify the process, they created a downable pdf guide to help educate the buyer and the seller in a step-by-step way. “In my decades of experience, I’ve found the more educated people are with a product, the more they will use and feel comfortable with it.” The current process can be intimidating, and India thinks that has kept people from participating in auctions. “We really want to develop that personal connection with the buyers and the sellers, so people feel comfortable in this space.”
What’s Trending: Amateur Friendly Horses are in Demand
Over the past year and especially now, the big trend in the market and what India has seen from the horses for sale on the Mane Street Market app is that the amateur friendly horse is in high demand. “My theory is that so many people are working from home nowadays that they have more time to either start the sport or get back into it,” she shared. This type of horse is hard to find, and trainers are aware of the need. India has also noticed some of the top breeds that can deliver on being versatile in nature are more of the Draft crosses and Thoroughbred crosses. “Those types of breeds are more amateur friendly because they can perform in the show ring and be great on trails.” Many want a horse they consider a partner, that they love and that’s part of the family. Plus, they are looking for a horse that can self-load, is easy to clip and you can put an amateur on them. Because of the demand, the price point can be high depending on the horse’s demeanor, age, breed/bloodline and ability. “The pleasure horse and the competition horse are now one in the same for the amateur rider,” said India.
She also cited other top selling breeds include the Dutch Warmblood and, believe it or not, the Dutch Harness Horse- especially in the dressage world is really growing. “The Dutch Harness horses are great for amateurs looking to ride low level dressage – they are fancy enough and they are priced in the mid-fives range.” India is also seeing that Trakehners are on the rise. “There is a big push for their breeding program in the states now – where it used to be they were only imported. Many top professionals in Eventing and Dressage compete Trakehners so I’m seeing more of a demand for them.” Rounding out the top breeds for sale, India is also seeing Friesian Sport Horses and Friesian crosses as popular options.
The Younger the Better
“One thing to note is that in the last year there is a trend for buying yearlings,” said India. “A lot of equestrians really want that control of managing their horses’ soundness and care.” More amateurs see the value in doing this with young horses and have the money to keep them in a training program.
Selling & Buying Tips
“It’s very interesting because one of the things I’m seeing is that horse selling is following the trends of the housing market,” India said and shared that horses are selling, but they are requiring more work to gain attention. In parallel you see it with the real estate agents who are having to work a lot harder to promote homes using listings, videos and social. This is also what is happening in the horse world. “In talking with people, those who are looking to buy are also thinking of the resale factor, where you would not see that in the last few years during a hot market. Buyers are being much more careful than in the past.”
If you are looking to sell using a social media channel beware that Facebook is starting to shut down real estate pages, and India thinks that we must be aware that it could happen in the equestrian world. “Facebook has caught on that people are using their channel to sell without Facebook benefiting from those transactions.” Using just one platform to sell horses isn’t effective anymore. “As an example, one of our Mane Street Market sellers not only leverages us as a partner, but she combines that with creating reels on Instagram, Facebook posts and Tik Tok videos for the horses she is selling.” With competition high it is even more important to establish your reputation and build awareness when selling horses.
“I recommend my sellers to be very clear when they advertise their horse(s) and to include accurate and complete information. You don’t have to put everything – but enough so you can match the right buyer/experience type, and be honest because you want to attract an ideal buyer.” She also recommends keeping the messaging consistent when posting multiple horses and to include a variety of performance and conformation pictures/videos.
As a buyer, India suggests making sure you let the seller know what you can afford and ask for options if you need more flexibility on price and payout. “In the past when I have been horse shopping, I had a situation where the horse was out of my price range, but it was truly the perfect match for my daughter. I approached the seller with some ‘work with me’ options and the seller allowed me to sign a contract and make payments. If you are really interested in a horse but can’t come up with the cash, approach the seller and make a case that you are going to offer a great home; let them know what kind of life the horse would have if they chose you. In this new economic and competitive environment, I think people are going to have to get creative.”
The Mane Street Market App is free to download on: App Store and Google Play
Visit the Mane Street Market website at: https://manestreetmarket.com
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