The Do's and Don'ts of a Horse For Sale Ad
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Let’s get right down to business - writing a horse for sale ad or in-search-of post is a little bit of an art. It may take some practice that can make all the difference between being completely overlooked and making a quick sale. Lazy, incomplete ads are the WORST!
But what a lot of lazy posters don’t realize is how much they are hurting themselves by not putting in the effort to craft a great ad. Not to mention the collective groan from everyone reading their posts.
Without enough accurate information, readers easily become confused or disinterested and scroll on by your post, leaving you with a lot of lost potential buyers. This tragedy is so common in the horse industry and so preventable that it’s time to finally address it. Below you will find a list of do’s and don’ts for posting a concise “horse for sale” ad or “in-search-of” post for faster sales and more leads.
Don’t let your horse ad get overlooked!
Horse For Sale Ad Do's:
- ✓ Post price and location
The only way a reader/potential buyer will know if your horse is in their price range or located where they can conceivably get him home is if you tell them.
In my personal opinion, I think you should outline exactly what the price is and if it’s firm or if you are willing to accept a best offer (by following price with OBO for “or best offer”). Nothing annoys me more than seeing a picture of a horse I might be interested in and then having to jump through hoops to ask and track down information about them.
In fact, 9.5 times out of 10, I’ll just move on and look elsewhere.
Also from a trainer’s perspective (who lists a lot of horses), it allows potential buyers to make an early decision as to whether or not your horse is within their price range or location without having to contact you. If the horse costs too much or is too far away and shipping is not an option, they can assess that for themselves before contacting you. This will drastically reduce the huge load of emails, texts, and comments coming through for you to answer.
This applies to ISO posts as well, as knowing a budget and distance you are willing to look at will save time having to sort through offers that are not going to work for you.???
Of course, there are those who will ask anyway, even though you DID post it in your ad. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches!
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- ✓ Check Grammar and Spelling
With any kind of marketing, you as the owner/salesman want to instill confidence in your readers that you know your product or item well.
This is difficult to do if you have terrible grammar and spelling in your ad. Your credibility goes down the tube instantly. This is because it’s difficult for anyone to take what you say seriously since your writing is perceived as lazy and inaccurate. Your description is viewed in the same way.
Not to mention, in-coherency can cause an unnecessary amount of confusion and headache for both parties involved. Save everyone the Advil and do a quick spell and punctuation check before clicking POST.
- ✓ Post Recent Pictures
Pictures are essential for grabbing attention and drawing eyes to YOUR post in a sea of words and ads.
But nobody wants to see a picture of a 20 year old horse from 10 years ago. With the advent of the internet, people are able to search for horses from all over the country and need detailed knowledge of what condition the horse is in NOW to make an informed decision.
Getting them done by a professional photographer is ideal, but not completely necessary. You can achieve grade A images by following a few simple tips.
Pictures outside (preferably on a sunny day) without a lot of distractions in the surroundings make for a great image. A field is an ideal background because the lack of surroundings that otherwise are a distraction and draws the eye to the horse, allowing you to select positions that show off desirable features like a shiny coat, large hip, etc.
Have a friend hold the horse on a loose lead off camera. This will allow them to square up the horse’s legs and get their attention for an eyes-and-ears forward moment.
If taking the picture with a camera phone, I like to bend down a little to take because it allows me to capture the muscling of their quarters while an image at normal height tends to make them look flat and long.
To appeal to buyers from farther distances who may not be able to travel unless for the right horse, it’s a good idea to post pictures of both sides and the legs (front and back), or at the very least have some available you can give people who ask for additional photos.
- ✓ Give the Horse a Beauty Brush-up
In a sea of for sale ads, you want your horse to stand out amongst the crowd as THE ONE for someone. So give him a makeover before his photo shoot for maximum WOW factor.
Have his feet done, give him a bath for a polished, gleaming coat, and brush the mane and tail to complete the look. I promise you, it’s always the shiny horses that get more inquiries than the fresh-out-of-the-pasture, bed head look.
Horse For Sale Ad Don’ts:
- X Don't Post Skinny Pictures
Fact: people prefer fat horses. At least when looking to buy. A thin horse screams neglect or underlying health issues, even if that isn’t the case with your horse.
Fat horses are easier to get into shape than thin horses. But even horses that are in shape and not ACTUALLY skinny can wind up looking thinner in pictures. You can play around with angles for the picture but it still might not be a bad idea to get them a teeny bit plumper for the sake of a sale.
So ahead of listing her, give ole Bonnie some extra alfalfa and focus on building a great top line. Check out my post on how to get a great top line for tips.
- X Don't Post Incorrect Height
This is another thing that peeves a lot of people who are looking to buy and that’s incorrect height. As a seller, you NEED to establish yourself as the expert in THIS horse. People can’t trust what you say they are if they can’t even trust your basic understanding of equine measurements.
Horses are measured in hands (abbreviated “hh”) which are in 4 inch increments. So a horse in the 15 hand range has the potential to be 15, 15.1, 15.2, or 15.3 hh. There is no such thing as a 15.4 or 15.5 hh horse. This is actually 16 or 16.1 hands.
- X Post Images of People Standing on Their Back
Whenever I see this, I always scroll on by, no matter what the ad “claims” this horse is. It could be an NFR barrel horse and I wouldn’t waste my time believing it for a second.
You want your ad to look professional, knowledgeable, and be helpful to potential buyers but a picture with someone standing on the horse’s back achieves none of these things. All this tells people is you found someone brave enough to stand on the back for exactly 0.5 seconds, long enough to snap a picture, who (for all we know) got bucked off one second later. It serves no purpose in illustrating to people what the horse can do, what he’s like, etc.
Videos of them loading/unloading from the trailer, riding around, opening gates, pushing cattle, barrel racing or roping, etc. are much better options for conveying the personality and skills of the horse.
- X Don't Be Vague
“ISO rope horse 1500” is a little too vague. I have legitimately seen quite a few ads like this and I’m sorry to say that with this kind of a post, you’re not likely to find the horse you’re looking for. People aren’t going to take the time to find out if you want a head, heel, or calf/breakaway rope horse.
Also, 1500 what? 1500 dollars, pounds, years old, what are you asking? Be specific in your descriptions to eliminate confusion and headache.
On the flip side, buyers please note! Sellers do not have the time, energy, or inclination to repeat information already posted in the ad. I get that sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it all when looking at multiple horses, but at least make the effort.
In the same way you want sellers to save you time by having a thorough, descriptive post, you should remember to have respect for their time as well. Nothing annoys sellers more than having to retype or copy and paste the same information 100 times a day to answer all the tire kickers who message about the horse and never wind up buying them anyway.
Remember that firm means firm, do not offer someone a low ball offer. There are respectful ways to ask or confirm that this price is still their bottom dollar, but fully expect a “no” since they have already stated their bottom dollar. Your interest in the horse beyond reading and responding to the ad is recognition that signifies your consent to the price.
What questions do you have that always go unanswered? I wanna know what you guys want to hear about! So please let me know what you wanna read about next in the comments below!