The previous three articles illustrated why it was important to use good photos, how to take those photos, and how to add details and a description to catch the attention of the buyer. Now, it’s time to finish and put it all together. Here are few tips to add a bit of extra polish.
1. Use a professional photographer.
The vast majority of photos used in the previous articles were all taken by amateur photographers with either a basic point and shoot camera or an iPhone, except for the final entry in quality in section 2. They capture the basics and translate well enough, but lack the quality of a professional photographer. Good professional photographers have an eye for angles and will create a higher quality image to use. This is especially helpful with action shots.
2. Take your horse to a show to get breed or discipline specific photos.
The best way to prove your horse is prepared to show is take them to one! There are several different options depending on how well the horse is prepared. If a schooling show, opt to either go fully turned out for the show ring or at least wear a nice shirt or polo that is tucked in and pants that fit the discipline shown.
3. Create a mock show.
If transportation or budget issues prevent the horse being shown, the next best thing is to create a mock show environment. Find a ring to ride in, dress in show clothes, and groom the horse to a spit shine. It can be easier to do a photo session this way since there are no other riders to interfere or cover up the horse and rider pair as the photo is taken.
4. Show off those skills!
If the horse isn’t a show horse or isn’t being marketed it as one, show what it can do. Trail horse? Show it crossing water or navigating a trail. Just make sure the rider’s dress is appropriate and withhold any adult beverages from the photograph.
It is important to create a truthful resume for the horse and provide photos that clearly illustrate what it can do.
5. Videos are a great asset… If done correctly.
Most buyers will want to see the horse at the walk, trot or gait, and canter. If the horse isn’t under saddle, in a round pen or on a longe line will work as well. Follow the suggestions from part II and make sure the horse is clean, the equipment fits properly, and get help from others. Keep the camera steady or use a tripod to prevent viewers from getting motion sickness. Videos are especially useful if the buyer is coming from out of state, so they can rule out horses without racking up frequent flyer miles.
6. Be prepared for questions, and lots of them.
Remember, people may still ask for more photos or information no matter what you do. If you provide only under saddle photos, they may want conformation photos and vice versa. They may want specific video, or current photos, especially with young horses. It is best to smile and get the images requested unless the request is unreasonable, remembering not to sacrifice quality for speed. If the horse is covered in mud and burs, it does no good to snap front and back photos of the horse to suit a buyer.
7. Be prepared for people to lowball the price listed, and for tire kickers.
It’s a part of life, and it will never end. People are willing to take a chance and ask, because one will never know unless they try. Either counteroffer or politely decline. One of the worst things a seller can do is go on a tirade or rant about people wasting time – it is a huge turnoff for buyers and the equine world is a much smaller place than one might think. Being professional in responses will help immensely, especially if planning to sell more than one horse in a lifetime.
In the end, selling a horse can be frustrating, or it can be rewarding. Remember that photos are the first thing people see and can either intrigue a buyer, or turn them off to the horse. Ads need to be descriptive (but not too lengthy), spell checked (while still remembering that spell check isn’t always right), and price is important to list. Following the guidelines listed in these articles will help ensure an ad will not end up gracing the pages of satire blogs across the internet. It will also help garner more interest and may help selling the horse more easily.
For more information on how to (and how not to) video a horse, stay tuned for the next article!