Up the Odds of Selling Your Horse
I can guarantee you can sell your horse through the Horse and Livestock Trader because I've sold a lot of them over the last decade through this magazine. But there are definitely things you can do to help present your horse. Just like car dealers keep their cars clean, and dress shops carefully do displays, If you want to sell horse, you need to put some effort into it.
Be sure you don't lose interested buyers before they even call to find out more! You would be surprised what small things can turn a buyer off of a good horse.
First, take the time to get a good photo. Yes, it's a lot of effort, but with digital cameras and even cell phones, it's a lot easier than it used to be when you had to shoot a roll of film and hope for the best when you got them back. Get someone to help you get a few good shots.
Avoid shots of the horse grazing, it throws the topline off, moves the legs out of line under him, and drops the shoulder. No one can get an idea of how nice a horse is with it's head down. You can’t see the neck.
Do a little bit of thinking about the photo before you shoot it. Why would someone want your horse? Not all horses are right for all people. If you have a horse that is a good riding horse, show it RIDING. Show it doing what people would want it to do. If you look through this magazine, you will see remarkably few photos of horses under saddle. Yet, those pictured moving nicely with a rider on them always attract the eye of the buyer who is looking for a riding horse.
If it's a young, unbroke horse, get a good photo of it standing, from the side. AVOID photos from the front or rear. Although in the 50's and 60's it was popular to picture Quarter Horses from the rear at a 3/4 angle, no one does that any more. A nice sideshot will always be the most flattering. Try to get the ears up. Forward ears impress people that the horse is kind and nice. Get someone off camera to shake a bucket of feed or throw keys and snap the photo when the horse looks interested and picks up his ears. The object is always to make the reader interested and attracted to the horse.
Don't take a shot with an upward or downward angle. Horses are beautiful animals, but they can look VERY out of proportion and you have to pay attention to the angle or they can look very awkward.
Angles make a big difference. Many breeds, especially Quarter Horses, have a tendency to look high in the rear end. So be careful that you don't tip the camera so they look even more downhill. If you get a nice shot and it slopes downhill, rotate it in your photo processing software. Even the most basic uploading software has the ability to rotate and crop. It's worth it to take the time and keep your horse looking level. And YES, buyers do look at that. I learned the hard way early on when I had a customer who didn’t want to look at a good horse because she said he was built downhill. He wasn’t but the photo tipped downhill and made him look like he was.
Consider the background. Dark horses need to be photographed against a lighter background. They don't stand out from trees, especially in the winter when the light is weaker. Light horses can easily be photographed against dark trees. Make sure backgrounds are as uncluttered as possible. Jumbled, junky or uneven backgrounds are very distracting. And the light and darkshadows swallow critical lines of the horse and make it hard to appreciate the best parts of the animal. A solid background always makes the horse look better.
And I know it sounds like a sales pitch, but consider a paid ad. Obviously color is better than black and white, but a larger photo just makes it easier for readers to appreciate your horse. The small free ads make it much harder to appreciate the best parts of the horse. It amazes me when people place free ads for horses they expect to get thousands of dollars for. If you don't believe it is worth even $3 to bring your horse to the public, why should people believe in the horse enough to pay thousands of dollars for?