Do you have a horse or two (or ten) you would like to sell? Get intimidated staring at that blank ad form? You aren’t alone! I’ve been selling the colts we raise off our website for about fifteen years and I still struggle or want to cut corners on occasion. Dont’ do it! Instead, use these tips to prepare an ad that will sell horses.
Here’s 3 components that will help you prepare an ad that will attract the attention of a serious buyer. We’ll dig into all of this in more detail in future articles, but for now, these 3 are a critical starting place.
- Great photos and video
- Text that includes what the buyer needs to know
- Complete Pedigree
Photos and Video
Obviously, this topic could fill a book. In fact, it has, several times. But we have to consider it the most important feature of any horse for sale ad. If you want to sell horses, you have to do the best you can with photos. At a minimum, it means finding a decent camera. DSLR cameras are by far the best. Camera phones, even iPhones, really are not acceptable because they distort the horse’s conformation. You also need an assistant to hold the horse, or at least the horse’s attention. Take a lot of photos and find the best later. If you aren’t an accomplished horse photographer, please read Sandy Wilson’s excellent article on horse photography.
Good video will really help sell a horse, especially a riding horse. Take about a minute to really show off the horse’s conformation – without a saddle. It’s hard when someone is riding around to really get a feel for what the horse looks like. Show the horse off under saddle or loose in large area after that. Try to keep your video under five minutes. Really, two minutes is probably better . . . humans have short attention spans these days.
Complete Ad Text
This is the hard one, isn’t it? Most of us would rather scrub a filthy horse than write about him. Make sure you address at least these items:
- What is the horse’s most impressive characteristic?
- Does he have any vices? Does he bite, kick, buck, crib, etc?
- How tall is he? Measure him with a stick and level – no one guesses right.
- If he’s broke, what level of rider will get along with him? Is he a beginner’s horse? A professionals-only horse?
- What is his disposition? This requires some detail.
- What is his health like? Any health issues?
- What horses in his pedigree merit particular mention?
You’ll see I mentioned some potentially not so positive items like vices and health problems. Some people will tell you to skip those items in the ad because that’s the potential buyer’s first glance at the horse and it’s too easy for them to click away without giving your horse a serious consideration. Maybe those people are right. However, it isn’t my approach. Now does that mean you should stress the flaws or only write about them? No, of course not. But in my opinion, when you present a complete picture of the horse, you are more likely to attract the right buyer and have them start out taking you seriously.
How long should your text be? It depends, of course. I’d suggest a rule of thumb of two to three paragraphs. And remember, on the ‘net we try to have shorter paragraphs than we tended to write in English class. Screen readers get eye strain easier so white space is helpful.
An above all, please, please, please use proper capitalization for sentences. All caps really is yelling on the internet. It’s also very much harder for people to read and comprehend – really, studies have been done and everything.
Ok, if you are selling a grade, 12 year old kids horse gelding, I’ll grant you that no one cares that you don’t have a pedigree.
But when you are selling a registered horse, that pedigree is important. It shows that you, the seller, care enough about this horse to fill out complete information about him. Obviously, it presents information that people will want to know.
I’ve seen all sorts of ads over the years with incomplete or missing pedigrees. Some of them have been broodmares and even stallions or stallion prospects. I buy studs and broodmares on occasion. How many do you think I’ve bought with incomplete pedigrees? You guessed it. Zero.
With more attention being paid to genetic diseases in horses, pedigrees will increasingly be scrutinized for links to disease. In addition to the pedigree, don’t forget to mention whatever you know about any testing that has been done.
Horse people care about pedigrees from lots of directions. They want one that fits the discipline they do. They want one that fits well with their breeding operation. They like to see a favorite bloodline they like – and it might not always be the big name horse you expect.
The next step to Sell Your Horse
Now that you have some tips for preparing a great ad for your horse, why not advertise at Horses of the West? Just go to our Horse For Sale Input Form (you’ll have to enter the password “horse” to get in) and enter your ad. Then, send us a message on our contract form and we’ll check out your ad and publish it once we receive payment.
Want to be notified when we publish articles like this? Sign up for our weekly (at the most) newsletter!