Equine Appraisal


 Kristina Novak

Certified Equine Appraiser at your Service

What is the Market Value? 

Economic realities heighten demand for top-quality equine appraisals.  Kristina Novak knows her way around the horse world. As the owner of Santa Ynez Valley View Farm boarding and training facility, a sporthorse breeder, Thoroughbred owner and longtime hunter/jumper competitor, Novak has experience and contacts that enable her to tap into the pulse of the equestrian marketplace. This year, she found a new way to maximize all that as an equine appraiser certified by the American Society of Equine Appraisers. Novak built her impressive resume in the equestrian field while also working 20-plus years in mortgage banking, a changing industry in which she still has many long-time clients. Real estate appraisals, of course, play a huge role in the mortgage banking world and Novak’s knowledge about them gives her another advantage as an equine appraiser. Novak stepped onto this additional career path at a perfect time. Today’s economy has made appraisals all the more important and in a wider swath of circumstances. “Being able to justify and back up the market value of a horse is so important these days, and for many reasons,” she explains. The donation of horses to charitable organizations and insurance disputes are the most common instances in which equine appraisals have traditionally been considered essential. Several other circumstances have joined those ranks: setting up, changing or dispersing estate trusts, personal or business bankruptcies, divorces and farm liquidations all fall into this growing category of economy-triggered events in which a well done appraisal plays a key role. Even in a seemingly simple horse sale, an appraisal can help both parties establish an offer or asking price.

Novak is emphatic that an appraisal does not take the place of a trusted trainer’s assistance or a veterinarian’s thorough assessment of the horse’s health. “An appraisal does not take away the importance of a trainer’s evaluation of any aspect of a buying or selling transaction, especially the suitability between horse and rider,” Novak says.

The trainer also might have a good idea whether the sale or purchase price is right, but typically won’t have the kind of documentation an appraisal provides to explain and justify the price. Gut instincts of a trusted advisor have their place in transactions involving horses,Novak notes, but they won’t stand on their own in a legal context. That’s where a proper and completely objective appraisal comes in. “I provide a professionally bound report that clearly explains the comparable sales and how we’ve arrived at the figure,” Novak explains. From the mortgage business, she has first hand knowledge of the deposition process and is confident of her ability to present her appraisals in that setting when the need arises.  “I have a very good sense of what will hold up in a court of law,” she asserts

Experience Counts

Novak loves the process of gathering the data needed to establish a horse’s value, but it’s not easy. “In real estate, the sale prices are a matter of public record,” she notes. “That’s not the case in the horse world.” Instead, she puts her extensive contacts and experience to use or gather facts and figures. A horse’s competitive record, age and health history are just a few of the variables that affect its value. When the horse is an income producing breeding stallion, those variables are multiplied even further. “There are a lot of appraisers who don’t ride or own horses themselves,” she observes. “I would think that would make it a bit more difficult to have a pulse on the market. I’m breeding, selling, riding and actively competing horses out on the circuit.” Combined with her relationships in the marketplace, that gives Novak a distinct edge. Per the American Society of Equine Appraisers protocol, the appraisals Novak produces follow the Uniform Standards of Appraisal practice such as those used in real estate appraisals. Reports take an average of five to seven days, but this can vary depending on the complexity of the case. Novak specializes in Warmblood sporthorses, Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horse and these breeds’ related disciplines. Demand for appraisals has risen in recent months, and Novak believes that will continue as more horse owners realize their importance. “As more people are reorganizing their assets, there is more realization of the need for appraisals.” Donations of horses to charitable entities are increasing in quantity and in the value of the horses being donated, she observes. The IRS requires an appraisal for all such donations valued over $5,000 in order for the donation to be tax deductible, Novak explains. That’s a clear cut example of an appraisal’s value, and there are many other circumstances, including divorce and estate planning or settlement, in which an appraisal’s role is equally important.

For more information on Kristina Novaks equine appraisals, contact her at:


Ph: (818) 917-5540
or via e-mail at