Sunday, May 10, 2015

How to (and how not to) sell a horse on Facebook


I have spent the last year listing thoroughbreds for sale on facebook for my friend (the lady I bought Scottie from) for free to try and network new homes for these horses.  We have been successful!  I think I am on about 25 horses, and I thought I would share some of the tips I have learned.

1.  ASK FOR REFERENCES!  Always, always, always, always ask for references. 
I ask for 2 equine references, one being a vet.  If they can't or won't provide them, they are immediately removed from consideration.  It's not that hard.  I literally have 20 horse references that I could give at a drop of a hat, depending on what kind of information you want.  Not only do I have CURRENT vet and farrier references, I have OLD vet and farrier references.  I have professional references, old trainers, current trainers, barn owners, ex-barn owners, friends....So, asking to provide 2 is not that big of a deal.  And if you are so sketchy that you can't provide two references, immediately, why would I give you a horse?

2.  ASK PEOPLE TO EMAIL YOU INSTEAD OF PM.  Because 95% of people "shopping" for horses on facebook are either one or all of the following: a) tirekickers, b) stupid, c) lazy, d) illiterate, e) stupid, f) crazy, g) crazy or h) crazy or i) a minor/under 18... someone who can follow instructions on an ad that says "email me at XXXX@gmail.com for more information" is immediately more serious (or at least can follow through).  It filters a lot of the riff-raff.  It's also easier to forward pictures.  It's also easier to hide what you are doing at work ;) (I kid, I kid)

3.  TAKE A DECENT PICTURE
Each ad should have the following if at all possible
- side picture (each side)
- front picture, showing face, chest, and legs
- picture from behind, showing butt and back legs
- head/face picture
- picture capturing horses personality
- pictures zooming in on potential injury area (large knee, etc)

OH AND BRUSH YOUR FREAKING HORSE!!! SERIOUSLY.  Put a halter on the creature, pull it out of the mudpit you keep it in, hose of its legs, comb its mane.  Include a tacked picture if a show horse.  Show the horse doing something useful, if it is trained (jumping a fence, barrels, going over a tarp).


4. INCLUDE RELEVANT INFORMATION
I can't tell you how many ads I see that say "kid-safe paint gelding $1500" or "genital stud colt 3 years" (spelling intentional) or other such nonsense.

Include at a MINIMUM
- sex (mare, gelding, stallion)
- age
- height
- price
- location

Other useful information
- handling information (does she pick up her feet, is she mild mannered, does she load well,  any optional information that can provide information on the horse)
- soundness or problem areas (body or behavioral)
- if a TB, why retiring or selling (injury, done running, etc)
- bloodlines, jockey club name, race record

5. BUMP YOUR AD OFTEN, ESPECIALLY IN BUSY GROUPS
How often you bump your ad is dependent on how busy the group is.  In groups like OTTB Connect with 20,000 members, I will put a 'bump' or '.' every few hours.  In other groups, once a day is sufficient.

6.  SOMETIMES ITS BETTER TO START OVER.  
If I don't get a bunch of hits after 5-6 days, I delete my old ad, use the same information, but put a different picture up.  It grabs different people's attention.

7. LIST IN AS MANY GROUPS AS POSSIBLE
You never know who is going to look at which sites - Post on breed specific pages, location specific pages, and discipline specific pages.  For example,  a young off the track filly can be posted in thoroughbred groups, broodmare groups, state for sale groups, and polo prospect groups (or hunter or whatever, etc).

Now lets talk a little bit about acceptable pictures.

These pictures are NOT acceptable.  Even if they are cute.  They do not provide any information or show the buyer what you are selling 

This picture is cute, but does not represent the horse for sale (note: mare not for sale :) )


This picture is too far away and at a bad angle

This is not a good photo.  No one is handling the filly, she is dirty and matted (although I've seen much much worse!!)

Again, just not a good photo for sale.

 Two many horses in the pic.  Which one is it?
Not bad, but not great pics
 Decent angle, but the barn is dark (this was winter, so not much to be done).  Try to get outside shots in good lighting

 This picture doesn't show her legs well enough (bad lighting), but it does show a cute side to the mare's personality so it could be used as an additional shot

 Side shot, but with head down, hard to see.

Now for some decent examples of sales pictures (especially for off-track TBs)

Clearly shows mare's conformation and cute face.

A bit dark, but shows conformation (and lovely tail).


Another decent conformation shot - shots entire body, plus hooves.  Why is this so hard to people?

Good shot from behind 

Cute head shot, showing face and personality


 Showing a cute face - can get a feel for this colt's personality

If selling a broodmare, showing an example of the offspring is a good idea.

And last but not least, show the horse doing something useful, if it can :)


 I'm probably going to keep this updated regularly.










Three thoroughbred fillies needing homes - Lexington, KY (NOW WITH VIDEO)

Ok, so here's the main story on these ladies

These are the last three fillies left out of 24 that the current owner took in from an abuse/neglect/starvation case last fall.  He has spent a lot of time and money getting them into shape and now they need new homes.  For lack of better names, I've called them Uno, Dos, and Tres to keep them separate.

In general:

- asking $400/horse OBO - make an offer!!
- all appx 3 years old
- all purebred, but no papers/tattoo
- HALTER BROKE ONLY - not broke to ride
- all are friendly, with good dispositions
- no soundness problems
- can brush/pick up feet with no problems
- all are expected to grow a bit more


Uno

This is Uno BEFORE...


This is Uno NOW!!

Stats on UNO:
3 years old, 15.3 hands, easy to hands, good conformation, LOOK AT THAT LONG MANE AND TAIL!! 


video


Dos

This is Dos BEFORE






THIS IS DOS NOW!!

Stats on Dos:
3 years old, good disposition, 15.3 1/2 hands... looks like NICE BIG GIRL - I can see major sporthorse potential here!!  She does have a cloudy eye, but vet has examined her and she can see out of it. 




video

Tres

This is Tres BEFORE




THIS IS TRES NOW!!

Stats on Tres:

On the smaller side 15.1 hands - filly is FEISTY!  Will need experienced handler, but athletic, with lots of drive.  FANCY MOVER!!


video


REFERENCES REQUIRED - email me at howard.annie@gmail.com for more information

Equi-trek, a competitive trail riding organization in southeastern Louisiana aka Scottie wins her first blue :)

I have found something that is cheap, easy, and super fun to do in the Baton Rouge area.  It is a group called Equi-trek (http://www.equi-trek.org) , and it is a competitive trail ride organization for southeast Louisiana.



The people are extremely supportive and friendly.  If you own a TB or are an English rider (like myself haha) and you think that a group like this might be a little judgey, do not worry.  You can ride english and no one care one bit.

 I do not have a trailer at the moment, and I have met a new friend, simply by asking a member of the group if she would give me a ride (shout-out to Tami!).  And she said yes!  And now I have a new friend, and I have a new equine activity.


The premise is simple: six to ten miles of trails with approximately six judged trail obstacles, which range from inclines/ravines to crossing bridges to backing through an L to jumping a log to dragging a barrel behind your horse.  They are all super fun!  

If the obstacle is too scary or makes you uncomfortable, you just simply don't do it.  There is no pressure from other riders.  If you don't want to compete for ribbons, you can just ride as a "companion", which means you can try or not try any of the obstacles and still enjoy the trail ride.


It was a goal of mine to haul Scottie a few times this spring because I wanted to see how she would handle herself off the farm.  She is an ex-racehorse, so I wasn't expecting any major problems, and lo and behold there were none.  It also increased her confidence enormously at home, and she has been better behaved.


She really seems to get out and look at new things.  She didn't balk at water crossings, foot bridges, other horses running, birds in the trees, weird cones, dogs barking, trucks passing, mud, etc.  She also did the majority of the obstacles or gave it a good try (most of the time it was human error, not horse error haha).  Its a great bonding experience with your horse because you try things that you don't think they can do... when they do it....well, its an amazing feeling!!


I have taken Scottie on two Equi-treks and she has won her divisions both times.  :)


Equi-trek is done for the summer, but should start up again in the fall.  Keep tuned to the website for more information.