Between riding and selling horse properties, Sally Slater knows the ins and outs when it comes to everything from buying your first equestrian estate, to how taking care of horses teaches you how to relate to people.
What is a lesson you’ve learned while riding that has helped you personally?
Sally Slater: Riding and working with horses has taught me so much about life! It has taught me never to give up. Horses, like deals, take time and it can be frustrating. Some days are bad and some days are incredible. Lot of ups and downs. Attention to detail is so important in both. There are so many hours spent in both selling real estate and keeping horses, so you better really love what you do.
You’re known for representing some of the best equestrian homes on the market. Tell us about how your background in riding has helped you build that reputation.
SS: Starting when I was very young, my brother and I took care of our own ponies and horses at home. We worked with veterinarians, farriers, hay and grain deliveries. We cleaned stalls, transported our own horses around the country and figured out, by watching and learning, which trainers were the best. My parents didn’t know one horse from another so we had to learn everything ourselves. I have competed in the jumper division starting as a teenager and my husband and I owned our own horse farm in Bedford. I have had tremendous success in the show jumper world over the years and it opened up a wide world for me giving me the confidence to relate to all kinds of people. The knowledge accumulated from all this experience has made it easy to market horse farms of all levels. I know the shows, the trails, the barn builders, the fencing companies, the trainers, the zoning regulations and I can tell if a bare piece of land will work for keeping horses.
What is a detail about your discipline that the lay person would never know?
SS: Non-horse people often don’t realize that keeping horses is a commitment. You can’t just go away and leave your horses unattended for the weekend, like you can with a cat, and expect that everything will be okay. It is a daily commitment.
What is your favorite equestrian event of the year and why?
SS: I love the Devon horse show. It is a fancy one-ring show with a huge attendance that really gets into the performances—lots of cheering. It Is a throwback to the shows in the 70s through the 90s without a dozen rings going at the same time. I have heard that the Olympia horse show in London is amazing but I haven’t been there myself.
What are the top three things to consider when looking to buy a horse property?
SS: 1) It is really important to make sure that the property conforms with the zoning laws. Every town has different regulations and permitting processes.
2) Make sure you are in a horse-friendly area.
3) Make sure your broker is familiar with horses—keeping horses and all the details of the sport.