Monday, December 21, 2009

Why must you take pictures of you lounging on your horses?




These horses are priced $9,500, $22,000, and $15,000. Guess which price belongs to which horse. You are going to get this one wrong!

Anyways, these pictures are pointless for sales ads. I can sort of understand the ones with the ribbons or the ones in the winner's circle, but just standing around? Okay, maybe a Foxhunter. Maybe it's a personal peeve, but I'm generally annoyed seeing pictures of horses being sat on like they were a really nice piece of furniture. It's fine for as a cherished memoir of you and your "heart horse". But for a sales ad? Ride or get off.

Review your own ads!

How about this one?

young with great potential $7,500
He's an eyecatcher!!

<----- That's the picture from the ad.

Yeah, real eye catcher. You're a real funny guy and you paid $25 for a picture ad with a picture that doesn't work. Laff.

Price to Bad Pictures Ratio

If you have a $25,000 horse, I would expect to see, at the very least, a properly groomed horse. If your ad only has one picture it should either be a very good conformation picture or a very good riding picture.

In the case of the former, it should be stood up in a breed appropriate stance. It should be wearing either a clean leather halter or bridle. Your background should not be distracting for example a manure pile or random pieces of cars/farm equipment that hasn't been moved in 30 years.

In the case of the later, a show picture is ideal, but a schooling shot is acceptable. Again, clean tack. Rider should be dressed in subdued colors and proper riding attire as to not distract from the horse. Walking or standing in tack is not acceptable! Trot, canter, or jump is preferable for english. Any action photo for western (other than walking) is acceptable.

What is not acceptable is a photo picturing your $25,000 colored Quarter Horse stud colt being round penned in a dirty breaking saddle whom was pulled straight out of the pasture!
Price $25,000
Location Wagoner, Oklahoma
Breed(s) Quarter Horse
Sex Stallion
Height ?
Color Perlino
Foal Date Jun 2008

These pictures would be acceptable, however, if the horse was not being marketed as a stallion prospect and price tag was at least one zero less. So the point is, if you have an $850 QH broodie, a grazing picture is fine, but it is not Okay to use a grazing picture for your $12,000 show jumper.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dangerous! Questional Parental Judgement.<id=0
Breed(s) Clydesdale
Sex Gelding
Height 17.2 hands
Foal Date Apr 2004

This horse is so cute! He seems like the most perfect giant, hairy pet, but this picture just made my heart sink. Dear unthinking parents, please know that your young child, toddler, or baby does not have fully developed motor skills. I worry most for the baby on the back. He is probably just learning to walk by pulling himself up onto furniture and then falling down after a few triumphantly clumsy steps. If that horse moves he IS falling off. He may take one or both of his cute blondy sisters with him. That horse's hoof if bigger than that child's head. Let's not play "versus".


Inappropriate equipment used by the inadequate trainer.<id=0
Price $7,900
Breed(s) Quarter Horse
Sex Mare
Height 15.1 hands
Color Grulla
Foal Date May 2003

6YO GRULLA DUN, Granddaughter of Shining Spark $18,000 invested 3 yrs w / trainer. Brains, Beauty & Breeding. Beautiful horse always makes a presence and stands out in a crowd, good around children and small animals. She rides both western and english as well as with a bit and natural. Excellent feet, good mover, very willing to please. Has both reining and dressage training and has been shown hunt seat price reduced over $6,000, asking $7,900 OBO to Good home only selling due to travel demands with company as she deserves to be with someone who can spend more time with her she is a wonderful horse.

I first have to wonder if this trainer gave her client permission to use this photo for an ad that will be posted on the internet for the whole world to see. All the photos of this horse are dressage related, so I am assuming (as most other people looking at this ad) that this horse is being marketed mainly as a dressage horse.

An elevator bit is never appropriate for dressage. Not even at home when no-one is looking! Completely illegal in the show ring. This bit is being used in it's most harsh application. Only one rein is being used attached to the last ring creating the most leverage, and there's also a curb chain if the former is not enough. There are very few reasons to use an elevator bit rigged up like this and none of them are to train the dressage horse!

The standing martingale. This is Ok to use at home. When properly adjusted, this piece of equipment may stop a high-headed bolter from taking off or could save your nose from getting busted by a head flinger. If a horse is going correctly on the bit or a neutral position, it won't come into play. It's like it's not even there. However, it is not properly adjusted in this picture. I think the trainer wants to get the horse's head down by keeping the martingale unacceptably short, but the neck piece is so high, it would be impossible!

This 6 y/o QH who isn't even a training level dressage horse is being sold with $18,000 worth of training. For that kind of money, in the course of 3 years I expect my horse to not only be on the bit, but starting 3rd level work and competing 2nd. I won't even bother talking about this "trainer's" position and what I think of said "trainer" but I will say is somebody is seriously getting ripped off!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Marketing Your Horse - The Fox Trotter
Horse Name J.A.K.S.
Price $30,000
Location Liberty hill, Texas
Breed(s) Missouri Fox Trotting Horse
Sex Mare
Height 15.1 hands
Color Palomino
Foal Date Jun 2005

The Missouri Fox Trotter. A gaited breed known best for it's namesake, the smooth Fox Trot gait. Unbeknownst to me, there are shows just for Fox Trotters that cover pretty much every discipline imaginable. I am impressed with how versatile this breed seems to be. However, if this is the reserve world championship jumper, they should stick to Fox Trotting. When I saw "world champion" I thought, What world? Not this world. Oh the BREED champion! Nice gate panels. The above picture is not a fluke; there isn't a flattering jump in any of the ad's pictures. For 30k, the market for such a horse must be very small and someone looking for a competitive jumper in the real world, this horse isn't going to cut it.

If you really want to sell your horse, it needs to be priced realistically to a large market of buyers. Many breeds can do multiple disciplines, but some are just made for them better than others. On a whole, the jumping world is dominated by Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods, and for good reason. They are good at it!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cowboys and Warmbloods
Breed: Dutch Warmblood
Date Foaled: MAR 1996
Gender: Mare
Height: 16.1 hh
Color: Bay
Markings: White Blaze,white socks
Temperament: 6
Registered? Yes
Reg. Assn: I SportHorse
Asking Price: $12,000 (US)

I got a terrible case of the giggles when I read the text of this ad:
The poster girl of any stable of quality horses. 16 one, magnificant bay with blaze with socks left front and left hind.Registered International Sporthorse as Edlweiss. Born 96 and owned most of her life by a professional trainer. An outstanding brood mare to her one colt now two year old in Tucson. Loads,clips,stands,and loves to be pampered and brushed. heavy thick mane and tail,just a beautiful animal. Katie is powerfull and a pleasure on the trail.

Translation in my best cowboy accent:
This hear is the nicest lookin' horse and belongs in your DQ stable 'cuz I can't ride the damned thing which is why her temperament is a "6". I don't know a whole lot about her breeding 'cept she's a registered sport horse. The person who owned her before me was a professional who told me she's trained real good. She's a pretty color with some white. I thought I'd tell you all that since I dun have nothing else to say about her and thought you might not notice from the picture. Oh yeah, she's good on the ground 'cuz I spent lots of time in the round pen with her. She's a real life my little pony so one a you english gals needs to come get this hairy princess outta my barn. I really wanted a quiet QH but I ended up with a big mover that ain't real comfy on the trail.

A Deserving Bad Rap For Bad Wraps

It's debatable whether polo wraps add any significant support, but it's a proven fact that applying polo wraps improperly can cause serious damage to a horse's legs. If you don't know how, don't do it! And certainly don't take pictures of it and post it on your sales ad.

Wrap do's and don'ts:
1) Do it right or don't do it at all.
2) Don't use them in conformation photos (along with any tack other than a bridle). It looks suspicious and buyers need to see the legs good or bad.
3) Do ride in them to show off your horse's flashy movement for your sales ad.
4) Don't ride in them if you horse's movement is poor or uneven for your sales ad. It will draw attention to it in a picture or video.

Here's a video made by a couple of teenagers about how to put on polo wraps. Good job girls. This looks like it may have been a school project, so I hope you both got an A.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pricing your horse: OTTB's

The economy is not so hot right now. Horses are luxuries. A lot of people who are selling right now are trying to get out from under the burden of horse ownership. Very few people are buying. Those that are, are looking to get a deal. Consider yourself lucky if you find a buyer willing to pay half of what your horse would have been worth before the economy went down the proverbial pooper.

Thoroughbreds. I love TB's. They have heart and they are sporty. Sadly, they aren't worth a whole lot unless the have extensive, successful show careers and aren't ancient.

People looking for Warmbloods consider a registered foal or horse by an approved TB dam a lesser horse than a full Warmblood. I certainly don't agree with them, but the market says it is so.

Thoroughbreds off the track are worth even less. People are giving away perfectly sound, green OTTB's. Do not expect people to pay big money for your OT prospect no matter how nice it might be. For some reason, plain bay seems to be very common and undesirable as well. I applaud those of you who can take one of these guys in and retrain them as riding horse, but it's not a venture you can expect to make money on.

I have my own experience to share. Last Christmas I took on a young, gray, beautiful, sound OTTB who was talented beyond belief. I spent a couple months trying to sell him. I actually had a lot of responses to my ads. Dozens in fact, but was unable to find a taker for even $2k. I ended up giving him away as a prospect to an open grand prix jumper rider. I guess she thought he was plenty nice, but still buyers were just not buying.

This is the ad that prompted this blog entry:

Price $10,000
Breed(s) Thoroughbred
Sex Gelding
Height 16.0 hands
Color Bay
Foal Date May 2005
"This guy is a big puppy dog. As sweet as they come. Great mover. Gorgeous canter with a big stride. Jumping 2' courses and getting changes. Very quiet with great brakes. Super smart and willing. Trail rides and fox hunted. Off the track, but I cant imagine this one ever really ran. No track behaviors in any way. He is green but will be easily finished. Ready to start his show career. Eligible everything. Price will increase with training."

A long list on this on reference alone for free off track horses:

And a long list of adoptive agencies and rehab facilities of OTTB's:

Is this safe?

What the hell people?!? Sigh.

For $15,000 you can buy this oh so kissable face!

What a cutesy whootsie picture! Alas, but NO! It's unprofessional to use sentimental pictures to sell your horse. Be sure to tell them when they contact you to tell them that this horse is very loved and loves to be loved on.

Aside from the unprofessional picture, the closest thing to a conformation picture where you can evaluate the horse is from the wrong angle and cuts off the horses legs. The only good thing about the ad is the horse is groomed but the halter is ill fitting. See, there's always a but. I just don't have anything nice to say and then it gets worse.

This is the text from the ad:

Danny is a 17+ hand, 8 years old, dark bay gelding. He is a Warmblood/Thoroughbred cross. He has had some show experience in both the equitation and the hunters. Very easy on the ground-bathes, clips, loads, ect. Danny is very quiet and safe. Unfortunately Danny's current owner can no longer afford 2 horses. Danny is for lease or sale. Please call if interested .

This ad was placed by the owner of the horse. Maybe they should have left it up to the trainer. For 15k I'd certainly like to know what shows he's showing at, what level, and how he is placing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

This is not a picture of a 12k jump.
Breed: Thoroughbred
Date Foaled: MAR 2005
Gender: Gelding
Height: 17.1 hh
Asking Price: $12,000 (US)

It's possible this horse can actually jump, but the picture shows him in very poor form. When you put up picture like this it does 2 things: 1) Turns a buyer off because the horse looks like a cow hurling itself over a 2' jump. 2) Discredits you as a seller. If you use a picture such as this one with horribly hanging knees and then claim this horse can be an eventer, it basically says you don't know what you're doing or talking about.

Sellers Law #3:
Better to post no jumping picture than a bad jumping picture.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh, what a pretty head shot of a $30k schoolmaster!

Too bad that's the ONLY picture.

There's no additional link to a website for more pictures or video. They say the horse has been show by everyone and their Mothers, so where are THOSE pictures? This is a nicely bred, been there/done that, solid 2nd level, and playing around with FEI dressage horse. Which leads me to...

Sellers Law #2:
If you are selling a riding horse you should probably get some pictures of it being ridden.

Draw Reins On A "Classically Trained" Horse
Horse Name Lucimiento Del Sur
Price $15,000
Location Ocala, Florida
Breed(s) Andalusian
Sex Gelding
Height 16.0 hands
Color Grey
Foal Date Jan 2001

Shows dressage. Exhibition horse. classically trained. SWEET horse. LOVES people and other horses. easy keeper.

I'm not a hater nor a proponent of draw reins. They simply shouldn't be used in a sales photo. Or in this case, shown being used on at least 3 separate occasions and then claim your that the horse is classically trained. I don't think so! And what exactly does exhibition horse mean? I assume it does tricks like the Spanish Walk. The pictures in this ad do not match the claims in the text. Also, please note in the comments what you think the movement in that last picture might be. I'm thinking it's leg yield away from the wall. An odd choice for an ad.

Just tell the lady what she wants to know!

Sellers Law #1:
Bare minimum, these are things you must list on your ad: breed, sex, height, age, and a way to contact you.

Seller fail example:

Warmblood for sale, $10,000
Gelding for sale, bay. Very athletic – well bred and would make a superb dressage or jumper. Very motivated seller. Must sell now! Call or email for more pics and video!
On: October 20th

Hi there,

Is this horse still for sale? I’m very interested.

Can you answer a few questions?
1. How tall?
2. Age?
3. What breeding
4. Would love more pics and video
5. Would he be suitable for eventing?

Please call me if it’s easier to answer questions that way
On: October 30th


Yes! Still for sale! I am a very motivated seller! Please let me know if you have more questions!!!

On: October 30th

Hi there,

Thanks for responding. I did have a couple questions Smile
1. How tall?
2. Age?
3. What breeding
4. Would love more pics and video
5. Would he be suitable for eventing?

Please do call me if it’s easier to answer questions that way
415.333.4444 <- my number

On: November 5th

OK no problem I am driving now but she is tall my husband is 6’6 and when he rides her feet drag ground hfwipkxS[V46….

Sent from my Mobile Annoyance Device
On: November 5th

Hi there,

Thanks for responding. I thought this was a gelding?

Please do call me if it’s easier to answer questions that way
415.333.4444 <- my number, any time of the night or day!

On: November 10th

Sorreee!!!! Was thinking of the yearling we have for sale! LOL!
I will send pix when I have got my hubby to take some next week. He’s a really great horse! He hasn't been shod in a while the shoer hates him, hahaha, but I can get him done if you want him?
On: November 11th

Are you still interested in this horse? I am taking him to someone to try this week. He has bad thrush so he can’t be turned out and sore heels – don’t know why. Also he eats 13.5 scoops of pellets per day - he is very big. He is a lazy jumper and knocks 2’ jumps – he does dressage. Please let me know – I am VERY motivated to sell!! My hubby says it’s him or the horses! LOL!
On: November 11th

hubby says horse has to go to auction - i would appreciate it if you would make your mind up!

On: November 11th

go to hell.

Ok, now really, does this person want to sell this horse or not? I think I can safely assume english is this sellers first language, but she must have a severe learning disability. That or posts far too often on lolcats.

Thank you Xan of the UDBB for sharing her fruitless yet entertaining experience with us!

Ok, we get the point.
Horse Name KING
Price $2,700
Location millersburg, Ohio
Breed(s) Draft
Sex Gelding
Height 16.3 hands
Color White
Foal Date Apr 1995

This does indeed appear to be a bombproof horse. However, it's not appropriate to prove the point by jeopardizing your daughter's safety. Horses, no matter how dumb and lazy, are still horses. Worse, she's in no position to get out of the way. Add in a dog. Real marketing genius!