I love horse shopping because it means I’m about to start a new chapter in my riding career with a new partner. I hate horse shopping because the process can be time consuming, expensive & downright depressing. I love horse shopping. I hate horse shopping. I love… Well, you get the idea.
I am in the fortunate position of being able to shop for my next young prospect. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a long-time rider who loves to dabble in various English styles. My last horse, Tip Toes (Tipsy), was a gem who let me pretend to do Dressage and then would happily cart me around the Adult Amateur Hunter ring.
I sold her this past March so that she can show her next rider the ropes. For those of you that have sold a “heart horse” before, you know the grief that comes with the decision to part ways. I only recently started feeling ready to start looking for my next partner. So began the internet “window shopping” of various horse sale sites.
My favorite websites for horse shopping are www.dreamhorse.com, www.equine.com, www.warmbloods-for-sale.com and www.bigeq.com. The search functionality on each is great because you can query by breed, state, size, sex and so forth to really narrow down the list. Since I have bought and sold several horses in the past and have been looking at a large number of advertisements, I decided to offer a quick tutorial on placing internet ads for horses.
A picture is worth a thousand words
If Mitsy the pony is a nice dapple gray, please give her a bath before snapping her conformation shot. I don’t want to see a palomino when you are marketing a gray. In even more simple terms, the horse should be clean and well groomed. Trim up whiskers, pull manes and make sure there aren’t any burrs in their tales. When I see filthy horses in ads I wonder about the quality of their care and training program. To expand on this more, try to take a picture on level ground with a nice clean backdrop. Mitsy in front of a broken down tractor and old gas cans doesn’t look nearly as good as Mitsy on a grassy knoll.
When taking the time to clean up and photograph your horse, I will also recommend that you take conformation shots of your horse’s front and back legs. While these don’t necessarily need to appear in your ad, you may have buyers contacting you from a distance. They may want to see the leg shots before they make a journey to you. This way, you have them done already!
Show them in action
It’s a buyer’s market and the internet reigns supreme. Between old digital cameras that can take basic footage to Smartphones that can record and upload immediately to YouTube, it is now expected that a video be present with an advertisement. Video should show the horse performing exactly what you declare it is capable of. If you are selling a jumping horse, there should be video of the horse jumping over fences. If you are selling a second level dressage horse, you should show the adequate movements. I will encourage you to warm your horses up before shooting video so they are loose and relaxed when you start taping. The sale video clip should be brief and should show the horse at all of its paces in both directions. I don’t want to see 60 seconds of walking on a long rein…there are too many other horses to look at!
It is important to provide a fair and accurate description of the horse. Please list as much information as you can about your sale horse. Is it a mare or gelding? How old is the horse? How tall? Does it have any particular breeding or bloodlines that should be noted? Once you cover the basics, you can then write a brief description of what makes the horse perfect to be someone’s next prospect! Again, please don’t get into long flowery speech about how Buster the horse will follow you around for treats and how he always knickers at the gate, as well as his love for scratches and carrots…you get the idea. Keep your description brief so that folks actually read it all. Finally, proofread your advertisement for spelling and grammar errors.
Time is of the essence
Quick and thorough follow through is essential! If you are selling a horse you need to be accessible for people to contact you. I love when sellers call or email me back immediately. I like organized people who follow through. It makes me want to do business with them. Sure you will get some tire kickers who may just want to ask a few questions. That’s okay; you never know who will buy your horse, so always treat everyone with respect and prompt honest responses.
I hope you enjoyed my quick tips to get your started with selling your horse. Good luck and happy horses! Make sure to check back in a few weeks for my pointers on buying a horse.
We mentioned some great tips on how to sell your horse. What tips would you offer someone trying to sell their horse?