I don’t have time for him anymore.
I have too many of them.
I’ve outgrown him.
I can’t afford him.
These are just a few of the many reasons fellow private equestrians finally decide to sell their horse. In the past, traditional/print media was the only option to advertise your “Horse for Sale.” Local newspapers, regional/national equine publications and newsletters of equine/horse organizations were the best locations to place your listing but with it meant costly insertion fees (even for a classified). Although traditional advertising is still used, Social Media has drastically changed how “horses for sale” are listed, viewed and ultimately sold.
So, you’ve decided to sell “Buddy.” You gather his stats, take some pictures, shoot a video and start your campaign.
Writing his ad. Be completely honest about Buddy or any other horse you’re selling. Include his required equine stats (age, sex, height, breed, color/markings, etc.) and any other pertinent facts. Describe his personality and recommend to the potential buyer who and what career he would best fit. You can include his price if preferred but today with online sales occurring nationally, his physical location is also a must. For Sale: “Buddy” 9 yr old gelding,15.2 hand, Quarterhorse (has papers), bay with white star. Nice mover, safe with kids, proven Hunter-Jumper show ring veteran. Excellent on trail too. Buddy excels with young riders over fences. He is UTD on shots and has No vices. Asking $4,500 and he lives in Concord, NH.
Take Buddy pictures to share. Bathe and groom Buddy until he shines. Properly stand him up, (in a bridle or nice halter) and photograph some details as well as his overall body. You may not use them all, but while he is polished, it is a perfect time to create a small group of images (saddle/harness on or off) from which to pull (e.g. Head/face, front, rear, near (left) side, off (right) side).
Create Buddy’s online video. More importantly nowadays is the creation of Buddy’s video. Up until just a few years ago, filming your horse was a laborious venture, that may have involved the hiring of a video-photographer or a friend with a film based video camera. Video editing/duplicating was limited, costly and time-consuming. So you snail-mailed the precious video back and forth to prospective buyers basically “as is.”
However, with today’s hand-held/digital technology that process has become extremely efficient. Videos can be taken and retaken at will, deleted, edited and with very little expertise. This could be a liability unless you have a plan before taking your video. Decide what imagery would best help sell Buddy and then gather help (e.g. a rider) as needed. Include highlights first and then if time/space allows add other video tidbits buyers may find of general interest. For example, properly stand up Buddy and walk around him with the camera…then record all his gaits in each direction (coming and going too) and most importantly his walk. Then capture him enjoying his discipline of choice and/or something to portray his personality.
When editing the final video, keep each segment as short as possible but without compromising Buddy’s story/sales pitch. Did you know YouTube offers video editing? Without worrying about file formats, you can combine videos, trim their lengths, add a sound track and customize the whole video with special tools and effects on YouTube (a must-have location for his video). The average video length on YouTube is 4+ minutes (Sysomos.com, 2010). Keep this in mind because interested buyers want to see your horse but not its life story. Open up a YouTube account (if you don’t have one) and upload/edit his video. You can then link to his video’s URL from any other ad placement online or share it from YouTube.
An important note about your image background/lighting. Whether photographing or videotaping any horse, please make a note of the background and available light. This is very important. The background should be simple and free of “stuff.” You want to highlight the subject matter (aka Buddy) and not have it get lost. A good presentation and first impressions go a long way, so avoid multiple fence lines (horizontal rails), indoor arenas (vertical boards/metal) out-buildings, vehicles, etc. Try to locate your horse in a field or some place outside (best light option) with a simple unified back drop unless showing him over fences where a ring/indoor are required. Check out Crystal’s sample photographs and further photo tips at Rideandsee.com.
Today advertising a “horse of sale” is easy, costs very little and most online placements are free. Now that you have your Buddy sales materials readied…1). Research your best placement options, 2). Prioritize your list of options (use this to eventually keep track of your placements/responses), 3). place Buddy’s materials accordingly and; 4). Follow up on all leads.
Sample ad: http://www.equinenow.com/horse-ad-644059
Photo Source: Horsebreedsinfo.org