In this age of digital overload, getting in front of potential horse buyer is easy—but selling them on your horse be the tricky part.
By Sarah E. Coleman
With the advent of online selling platforms, it’s much easier to get your horse seen by buyers far outside your local area, but with this ease of access comes quite a few potential pitfalls, among them the scrutiny that every since piece of your video will undergo.
Know that any video you post will be seen by (hopefully!) thousands of people, especially is a buyer is interested. It will be seen by the buyer’s trainer, vet, farrier, friends, colleagues and barn mates (at a minimum!). Because of this, it’s imperative that you present your sale horse in the best light as possible, combining many small details to make a video that’s clean and enticing to get buyers to contact you to learn more.
- Know your equipment before you begin. If you’re having someone use your camera, iPad or phone, be sure they are familiar with how to use it before beginning. Take a few practice videos and watch them together before getting ready to film the actual sale video. Fumbling for the start/stop button and losing the subject are annoying and off-putting enough that many people may stop watching the video entirely. Consider investing in a tripod that will eliminate all shakiness and jitters of the camera.
- Keep it fairly short. Though you know your horse is fantastic and you want to show off every single thing he does well, sales videos that are under 5-10 minutes are best. If you care to add in some “highlight reels” of your horse showing or at liberty, here is the place to do it, but edit the segments so they flow smoothly.
- Edit wisely. Some potential buyers get suspicious if the video is choppy, cutting out in odd places or a mishmash of clips from different days all put together. People always wonder why the cameraman turned off the camera: Was the horse bad? Did he miss the change he was set up for?
- Turn down the sound. It can be wise to consider turning off the volume on the filming device, especially if it’s windy or the rider and camera person are chatting as the piece is filmed. Nothing is quite as annoying as the camera man yelling at a dog or kid or hearing nothing but wind when you’re trying to focus on the horse.
- Take the video when lighting is best. Making people squint through bright light to decipher what they’re looking at does your horse no favors and will make sure they don’t stick around on your sales page long enough to see just what your horse can do.
- Eliminate distractions in the arena. if you know you’ll be filming a sale horse, it’s wise to take out as many objects in the area that are cluttering the view as possible. Remove some jumps, take out clutter like buckets of jump cups, stools and other things that are visually distracting to the viewer. Have the videographer stand where she doesn’t have to move around objects to film the horse. While it may seem like a lot of work to move things in and out of the arena for such a short video, it will be worth it in the end if you get your full asking price!
- Clean up! While your horse doesn’t have to be braided for a sales video, he should be clean and tidy, with mane pulled (if acceptable in your breed and discipline) and trimmer whiskers. His tack and pads should be clean as well, and the rider should be presented in neat clothes with shirttails tucked in. Remember: You’re essentially selling yourself, too, so put your best foot forward. Consider neutral colors for pads and polos to create as little distraction from the horse as possible. While the horse is neat and tidy, take some good conformation videos, as well, which will also help him sell.
- If possible, consider overlaying text over the parts of the video, explaining who the horse is and where he is located, as well as how to contact you and an intro to any other clips you are including (like what show, how the horse finished, etc.).