The Role of an Equine Appraiser

Hey Guys! Happy Friday! Today I’ve got a special treat for you. Today’s post is from Alison at EquiAppraisal and she’s going to introduce you to her role as an Equine Appraiser.


About Alison

equi appraisal castle

After a childhood immersed in the horse world and following the desire to ride, teach, train, and breed horses, I obtained a four year Bachelor of Science degree in Equestrian Science from William Woods University in Missouri.  While there, I studied and was exposed to hunters and jumpers, dressage, saddle seat and driving, and Western disciplines.  I had classes on veterinary medicine, breeding, conformation and movement, farrier methods, horse management, nutrition, as well as numerous other subjects.  After graduation, I spent a year working in Ireland, primarily at Castle Forbes Stud in County Longford.  Castle Forbes is one of the most prestigious show jumping breeding and training facilities in Ireland.  Lady Georgina Forbes has owned some of the top international competitors, including Castle Forbes Libertina, Castle Forbes Myrtille, Castle Forbes Lord Lancer, Vivaldo, Quibelle, and Maike.

Following my return to the United States, I was the traveling manager for Carl and Rush Weeden of Brookwood Farm, based at Annali Farm, just outside of Chicago.  Brookwood Farm is one of Chicago’s leading hunter and jumper show facilities and travels to some of the most competitive shows in the country, including the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida.

Now, with nearly two decades involvement in the horse industry, I own EquiAppraisal LLC.  We serve primarily the Carolinas and Virginia.  I am a lifetime accredited member of the American Society of Equine Appraisers (ASEA), have completed ASEA seminars on principles of valuation and expert witnessing and have passed all ASEA examinations.  I am continuously seeking ways to expand my knowledge in every discipline and breed while participating in judging clinics and courses–I am even certified to judge non-trotting horses at open horse shows.


What is the purpose of an Equine Appraiser?Equine Appraisal Horses

The need for equine appraisers has grown significantly in the past several years.  An appraisal provides an unbiased monetary value for a horse after market research and analysis.  My reports follow nationally recognized Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) guidelines (the same standards used in real estate appraisals).  I can appraise a horse in most any discipline and breed—from international competitors to trail horses.  My most common call is for the donation of a horse to a school, therapeutic riding center, or other non-profiit organization.  In years past, a horse owner could have any knowledgeable and experienced horse person sign off the value of their horse.  Unfortunately, this system was severely abused and created the need for an unbiased expert in the equine industry with certification and training on the appraisal process.  Now, according to the IRS, “taxpayers are required to obtain a qualified appraisal for donated property for which a deduction of more than $5,000 is claimed.”

Equine appraisers are also being used more frequently in court rooms (such as a divorce, bankruptcy, IRS audits and disputes, lawsuits, etc.) and are qualified as a consultant or to testify as an expert witness.  Some equine insurance companies are now hiring appraisers for higher monetary policies or disputes.  It is even possible to appraise a deceased horse for insurance purposes or legal issues!  Other uses for equine appraisers include fraud, bank collateral, contract disputes, purchases, sales and syndications.


How is the value of a horse determined?

When determining the value of a horse, I typically focus on how good this horse is at its “job.”  A trail horse’s job is to have a good disposition and to be serviceably sound.  This horse’s pedigree and appearance will not have much weight on its value.  On the other hand, a stallion that is an international competitor in the Dressage ring and standing at stud is going to rely on his show records, bloodlines, success of his offspring, conformation and movement to determine his value.

After an on-site inspection is made of my subject horse (when possible), I search for horses with similarities that have sold recently in a relative market.  For example, if I am appraising a nine year old Saddlebred gelding that competes successfully in the amateur and ladies 3-gaited divisions, I would look for other 3-gaited amateur/ladies horses that are in the same age range and show similar success in the show ring.  The comparable horses I use must have sold recently within the region that my subject horse might be marketed and sold.  In this instance, the largest factors in value for this amateur 3-gaited Saddlebred are its show records and its disposition/level of training.  The horse’s health and soundness, pedigree, conformation, eye appeal, and numerous other factors also weigh into the horse’s value.

This process typically takes a couple of weeks to complete (depending mostly on the difficulty of finding comparable horses that have recently sold).  Where real estate appraisers search a database for comparable figures, equine appraisers rely on contacts and phonecalls.  The cost of the appraisal report will depend on several factors, including the scope of work, traveling fees, and time constraints.  At EquiAppraisal, we try to make our appraisals as reasonably priced as possible and even offer a multiple horse discount if a client needs more than one horse appraised.  Follow EquiAppraisal on Facebook and Twitter to be informed of news and discounts!

Equine Appraisal


If you are interested in learning more about equine appraising or EquiAppraisal, please visit


Question for You

Have you ever had your horse appraised? Was the appraised value of your horse in line with what you thought your horse’s value is?

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