With a bit of smart strategy applied, you can list your show gelding or lovely mare to get more interest and better offers on any major website. Follow these proven tips below and learn how.
When posting on a large sales website, you have a lot of competition! In order to get people interested in YOUR horse, use a professional photo. Data proves that the higher quality and more professional looking photo used, the more money that sale will generate by creating a higher perceived value of that horse.
If investing in a $300 shoot means you receive an extra $1000 on the asking price, the session just paid for itself and then some. Understanding how to shoot with proper lighting, angles and positioning is not something most people have learned. An equine photographer brings all of these things to the table and will give you a correct result that will portray your horse accurately and beautifully.
See the examples below:
#1 Ad views 470, #2 Ad views 280, #3 Ad views 2,438
All Friesian geldings listed in USA of same age, height and asking price, and were posted within the same 10 days.
Which one caught your eye?
(Actual Ads and Data from dreamhorse.com)
But what if you really don’t have the budget to use a professional? Not to worry.
Groom your horse like you were heading to a show. Get those fetlocks white. Braid if appropriate and shine up those hooves. Clean all of the tack, including the halter and lead if leather for head shots.
Stand at the center belly point of the horse when shooting from the side to avoid any distortion of form. Keep the camera square and level with the point on the horse that you are shooting. A common problem with cell phone photos is that you will see distortion, if the photo is taken standing too closely.
You will need to capture:
– Square conformation shots from both sides, behind and in front.
– A well-lit head shot
– An under-saddle photo ridden by a competent rider to show the best movement. Keep tack and clothing simple and coordinated to keep the focus on the horse.
In focus, brightly-lit video of walk/trot/canter in both direction. Keep it short, around 2 minutes. Anything longer and people lose interest.
Here is an example of a relatively good non-pro photo. The overhead sun is creating some heavy shadows making it hard to see details and the background is a bit busy, but the horse and rider are presenting well. You would need some additional shots to see the horse in more detail.
Lighting. Bright overcast days are the best to shoot in. Unless your indoor is really brightly lit, shoot outside whenever possible. Keep the background quiet – dog, child and observer free. Stand with your back to the sun and keep your cast shadow out of the photo. Tripods are a great help if you have one.
A word about image software. Unless you already own Photoshop, I recommend Canva for most people that need to quickly edit images. It works on tablets and smart phones as well and allows for resizing, lighting shifts and cropping.
Be creative with your description. If you have available X-rays or supporting vet information, the more the better. People will often purchase a known issue if you are above board about it. And please be realistic with the level of rider that your horse needs. If they are green or need a supportive, firm rider, be clear about that. “Needing a refresher” is a very different level than “needing brakes and steering installed.”
Leverage social media for your listing. Even if you listing your horse on a large sales website, post a video or good still shots with a short description and a link to the larger more complete listing to help people find your horse. There are large Facebook groups regarding all types of horse topics and some especially for sales that you can join and use for this purpose. You can do the same for Instagram, and sure to include the link in your bio section (and tell people it is there). The more people that you reach with your additional promotion, the faster you will find your horse’s new owner, as people tag their friends to alert them.
When using sales and other images on your website …
Not using a big website to sell your horse? If you self list on your own website, keep in mind that all websites and branding efforts that your business uses will make or break at first impression. People are very quick to dismiss a perfectly good option if shown on a dated looking website with blurry or dark images. Using attractive and engaging photography to create an inviting and appealing image of your business will encourage more people to dig deeper, read more about what you offer. If you aren’t getting calls for new students or boarders, go back and look at the photos you are using to see if the visuals used are portraying the proper level of quality or if your website needs work. If your site is more than 3-4 years old, it’s likely due for a revamp.
Making the effort to present a horse in the best light possible by following the tips above will help to attract more interested people, show that you are serious about selling, and garner you more dollars per sale than you might otherwise find. With a little planning and thought, you can get great exposure and reach the people that will be most interested in making an offer.
Amanda MacDonald, Founder of Full Gallop Communications, is an equestrian marketing consultant who specializes in helping equine businesses to define their marketing strategies and grow brand equity to attract more leads and sales. Leverage her marketing experience and equestrian industry knowledge and start feeling confident about your marketing decisions. Contact her at email@example.com