Selling Your Dressage Horse? Start With The Video! Lights, camera, action! The horse sales video is a requirement in todays competitive horse selling market.
As a horse seller you can stand out above the competition with a good sales video of your horse.
Think like a dressage horse buyer when you are selling your horse.
I am asked on a regular basis to evaluate dressage horses offered for sale. Perhaps the owner or trainer is thinking of consigning the horse with us or they want to know if we have buyers for it. More often than not, I do not have enough information to answer the questions they have about their horse specifically.
If you were a horse buyer what would be the most important piece of information you would like to know about a prospective horse for sale. Would it be the written description of the horse, the photos, or a video?
All things being equal and of adequate quality, I will pick the video EVERY time!
Here's why. When writing about a horse for sale, many sellers talk about the things that they think are important about their horse, and about dressage horses in general. For example, they may tell you the horse has FEI potential, upper level potential, or grand prix potential. That is their opinion, or probably more likely just an attempt at 'selling.'
Nobody cares what you think about your horse!
I am sorry to be blunt but it's true. A dressage horse buyer does not want to know your opinions, they want to see for them selves what the horse is all about. They want to know things like the history of a horse's health and its record of any unsafe behavior.
Dressage horse buyers want the following information about your horse
- quality of gaits for dressage
- history of soundness and health
- is it attractive?
- will it be competitive?
- is it trainable?
Talking to you gives them a lot of insight into what the horse is all about. Photos can show the horse's conformation, and show how attractive the horse is, but the video can show all of this and more. A video can incorporate stills, can show gaits, conformation, disposition, lameness, and show performance.
The horse sales video is the new photo!
It used to be that people did not even contact a horse seller if there was no photos in a horse ad. Now many don't bother contacting sellers if there is no video to see. If you are one of those people who places ads with no photos, I have news for you. You are wasting your time and money. This fact is becoming more true of ads without videos now more than ever before.
Personally, I have given up on requesting videos of horses for sale a rule. Often, you get no response from the seller, you receive a bad video, you have to wait for it to crawl through the mail, and the horse is almost never what I want anyway.
Quick tips on dressage horse sales videos
- Use the zoom. Don't cut off the rider's head or the horse's legs, but also try to fill the frame without getting so close that the viewer will be distracted by a riders movements with hands and legs unnecessarily.
- Show the horse's training. I can understand if a horse that is showing at first level is presented in a video doing first level even if it is training 2nd or 3rd level. Just be prepared for those buyers that want custom clips of the training level. What is not good, is to advertise a horse training at the FEI level and showing only basic walk, trot and canter in your video!
- Avoid the jitters. Hold you camera steady. Consider using a tripod or a camera with image stabilization to avoid inducing motion sickness. My new video camera actually comes with a warning about this! You may not create motion sickness but your videos can be very unpleasant to watch.
- Water your arena. It can be really hard to evaluate a horse of you can't see its legs. We installed sprinklers in our arena for this very reason. Every time we host a dressage show or we are going to shoot a video a horse for sale, we water first. There is an obvious investment here, but if you can do it, it's a big help for horse buyers.
- Include extras. You can include still photos, pedigrees, and conformation shots in your videos too, just avoid loading up on this at the expense of showing less movement.
- Keep it relatively brief. People will tell you they want to see a lot, but a long sales video can be hard to finish. Especially if the more advanced or interesting parts are near the end.
- Think about music. One of the biggest cons for using music in your dressage horse sales videos are that some buyers may want to hear the horse's breathing. Another con is that your music selection may be out of tempo with the horse and it could appear sluggish or too fast moving. Still music can be quite nice if use properly. Drown out that highway or wind noise with an appropriate tune.
- Ride well. Don't let the rider prevent your horse from showing it's full potential. If you are the rider, ride as well as you can. If you cannot present your horse to it's fullest potential, consider having someone else ride your horse, for the video, that would show off your horse. There is nothing worse than trying to figure out if the horse is better than the rider, who is preventing it from moving, or if the rider is not demonstrating the movements well.
- Consider lighting. Some of the best lighting for a horse can be on an overcast day. The lighting is even and even a black horse can be well lit. The color is usually pretty good too. Some of the worst lighting can be had indoors and where the rider alternates between shade and sun. Plan ahead for the best lighting. Take it outside or at least avoid riding in mixed light.
- Think about editing. Usually, its best to have one video. To trim off excess footage, merge multiple clips, add music, include still photos, and add pedigrees you need to edit your video. Luckily this software can be relatively inexpensive- usually around $100. A relatively new computer and video camera are extremely helpful to get this done. Plan to spend a fair amount of time learning the software.
In another article I will address more in depth about how and what do do to create good videos. I will talk about camera types and features, editing software choices, as well as online optimization tips for showing your finished videos online in the highest quality possible online.
Ultimately, your goal is to sell your horse to the right home and get the price you want as well. When selling your dressage horse you have to kiss a lot of frogs, so just speed the process up a little by making a good video. A video is they best way to show potential horse buyers what your horse is all about.