How to sell a Horse


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Selling a horse can be tricky but if you follow the tips below, it will hopefully make the process easier!

The first thing to consider is advertising. The Top Horse horses for sale section is the perfect place to list your horse and is free for horses under $5,000. Adverts can be placed any time and become instantly viewable. You can use photos and video of the horse, which gives prospective buyers a great idea of your horse's conformation and movement.

Internet listings mean adverts remain online indefinitely, as opposed to print magazines, which are transient (meaning your ad is only current during the limited time the magazine remains on sale).

Internet ads are a fraction of the price of print and once posted, are at the fingertips of hundreds of thousands of people throughout Australia.

Include photos of your horse in action or out competing. Include photos of your horse in action or out competing.

PHOTOS

Having decided on your advertising campaign strategy, the next most important consideration is photos.

As pictures are worth a thousand words, photos should be top quality, in focus and showing the horse at all angles both standing still and moving.

Photographing horses is an art (and could probably be the subject of an article in itself!) but here's some basic tips:

• Use current photos.

• Try to photograph your horse on a bright overcast day, which provides ideal lighting by eliminating shadows.

• If you do photograph in bright sunshine, stand so the sun is BEHIND you, which will light the horse. If you stand with the sun behind the horse, you will end up with a gloomy silhouette.

• Choose an attractive background such as hills or trees. Avoid bricks or corrugated iron, which will detract from the overall impression you are trying to create.

• Make sure your horse is well groomed. If his coat is on the fluffy side, work him for a bit so it lays flat. Never include a photo of a horse for sale wearing a rug (it happens!)

• 'Dress' your horse in his best bridle. Avoid using headstalls, rope halters (unless it's a breed standard) or old work bridles. You're aiming to create a good impression!

• Whatever discipline you are selling the horse for, include photos of the horse performing in that discipline...for example an eventer soaring over a cross country jump, or a show pony winning a championship. Look through the Top Horse horses for sale section and see what kinds of photos other sellers use.

• It's a good idea to include photos showing your horse moving. These can be tricky to capture and require a digital SLR camera on sports setting, which can take multiple photos of movement without blur. Then you can simply choose the nicest one showing your horse working his best.

• Go through all your photos and pick which ones you want to use, then CROP them tightly so the horse is the main feature of the photo. It's pointless showing your horse surrounded by lots of background.

• If you know someone who can manipulate images in Photoshop, ask them to tweak the photo for optimum brightness, contrast and sharpness. They may also be able to remove any ugly background elements. Do not be tempted to 'erase' any blemishes on your horse...this is dishonest and you will be caught out when a potential buyer views your horse in person.

• If you don't have any quality photos of your horse, considering having a professional photographer take some. These could pay for themselves when it comes to achieving your horse's asking price.

• If you already have a professional photo of your horse taken at a show, don't use them in any advertising without asking the photographer for permission. Even though you purchased a copy of the photo from them, they retain copyright.

Your horse should be in peak condition for all photos. If he's a bit light, then wait until he's gained weight. Make sure his hooves, are trimmed, and his mane and tail tidy.

Undesirable backgrounds can be removed in Photoshop. Undesirable backgrounds can be removed in Photoshop.

VIDEO

Video footage is especially helpful for buyers living interstate. Edit footage down to around three minutes, and don't include any sound, especially music (not everyone shares your taste).

The same tips for photos apply to video...you need scenic backgrounds, good contrast and lighting (eg. not a bay horse against a dark background!) If showing a horse jumping at home, make the jump look businesslike and not one comprising rusty tins and tyres. If the horse is being sold as a child's mount, show it being ridden by a child.

When it comes to selling a horse, appearance is everything!

DESCRIPTION

Wording is also important. List your horse's background information and his strong points. Pick a catchy title for your ad, something that will grab a buyer's attention, then keep the interest by writing a great first sentence.

Spend some time wording the advert...does your horse have any claim to fame? Include it in the title! Then proofread your ad to make sure there's no spelling errors, although the benefits of advertising in the Top Horse horses for sale section means you can change or update your ad any time.

Don't get carried away with adjectives...let the photos (and video if you have one) do the selling.

Keep your description short but informative, listing the horse's sex, age and price. A survey of prospective buyers revealed that ads without a price, or simply with POA (price on application) was the main reason for not responding to a horse for sale ad, so this might be something to consider avoiding.

Be honest with your description, remember that the horse will probably be undergoing a vet check on behalf of his new owner.

If your horse is okay with floating, clipping and shoeing, make sure you mention this in the description.

If showing your horse jumping at home, make it an attractive looking jump! If showing your horse jumping at home, make it an attractive looking jump!

PRICE

This can be tricky...you naturally want a fair price for your horse but the market can sometimes seem fickle. You can always set the price at the upper end of what you think and make it negotiable, meaning buyers will offer a lower amount...just how much depends on what THEY consider is a fair price.

Price depends on the horse's age, breeding, health and competition experience. A well performed horse such as a champion hack , or dressage horse in the upper grades will reasonably attract high prices.

If you don't really know what price to set for your horse, ask for honest opinions from horsey friends. You can always adjust the price in your online ad if you don't get any response.

So the horse you are selling has attracted some interest, and potential buyers are coming to inspect him. Here's a few tips to help things go smoothly.

• Train your horse to stand still when being mounted. A lot of horses have a bad habit of walking forwards, so take some time teaching him to stand.

• Make sure your horse is comfortable being ridden by a variety of riders.

• Some potential buyers might ask to see your horse being worked on the lunge first, so make sure he is confident doing this.

• If you don't have anywhere suitable for buyers to ride your horse, consider floating him to a property that has better facilities, eg. cross country jumps for an eventer.

• If you are selling a youngster, have them used to handling...leading, tying up, groomed and having their feet picked up.

• Make sure your horse is spotless, trimmed and is wearing quality, well fitting gear. This not only gives that all-important first impression, but shows you are a serious and knowledgeable seller which will help buyers feel more at ease about trusting you.

• If a buyer is interstate and wants more information, have a collection of photos ready to email, preferably ones didn't appear in the ad.

• Respond to all phone calls, texts and emails promptly and courteously as in a way, you are selling yourself as well as your horse, and want to make it a positive experience for buyers.

So when it comes to selling a horse...get your photos up to scratch, work on a great description and wait for the phone calls and emails!

Fingers crossed your horse will go to a great new home with someone who loves him or her as much as you did.

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