I have spent so long on this! With exams coming up I have only had five minutes here or there to work on it. So... enjoy!
Unfortunately, I am in the market for a new horse. I have been searching all over the Internet looking at ads an various websites (none of which are craigslist). I realize that not everybody is a professional horse person nor can they afford one. But why, might I ask, do people (even some "professionals) seem to use the most unflattering pictures of their horses? There are many problem areas that absolutely make no sense to me. None of them relate to how much money a person has, just laziness and/or incompetence. I have compiled a list of common problems that I have found from photo ads.
1. Wrong Information
These types of ads are usually posted by the craigslist horse people. The kind that name their horses Midnight, Lightning, and Spot. It doesn't matter how long they have been around horses, they will never learn. Just not born a horsey person even though their intentions are sometimes the best (of course sometimes not, too). These ads typically send a grammar-Nazi in to seizures. Here is an example:
I could talk forever about the presentation but that is not what this example is about. The ad says a few things that just don't quite match up with the picture.
-Black- Nope he is most defiantly dark bay. Even a horse that at times appears back but fades is not truly a black horse. So.... FALSE!
-15.5hh- Um... what? In what world would a horse be 15.5hh? 15.0hh, 15.1hh, 15.2hh, 15.3hh....ready for the next one? 16HH! What is this? You mean to tell me that there are only four inches in a hand?
-1000.0lbs- I can't figure out if he is 15.2hh or 16.1hh, but either way he does NOT weigh 1000lbs! My 15.1 petite TB mare weighs at least 1100+. He doesn't look that skinny but what ever you say! I know that isn't right!
-GENTEL- What is this speak? Oh, it is all coming together now! 15.5hh and GENTEL! You are from outer space on the island I like to call Ignorantopia. Here is a map:
But not to worry! Who ever buys that horse is probably from Ignorantopia, too.
2. Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!
Of course another good way to make me foam at the mouth is to lie to me. I will not post an example of this kind of ad from the Internet because it is impossible to find (or just hard and I am lazy?). Either way this is bad! People do this all the time drugging the horse, wearing it out before the rider gets there, not telling about diseases and vices when asked, etc. This is why, when I invest in an animal I always get a pre-purchase exam. Not exactly the full-body x-rays, but I have a thorough medical exam done by my favorite vet. Trust me always worth the extra cash because if, for whatever reason, you decide to sell the horse and you discovered a disease such a navicular is present then, it is going to be extremely difficult to try and sell the horse (at least for me, I would never lie to a buyer). Even if you don't find the disease the next owner might! POOF! There goes your reputation! The Bad-Luck-Fairy strikes again!
Not to say that the fanciest farm needs to be behind your horse when you take an ad picture but, at least make it simple, safe, and not distracting. I mean, I could barely see the horse around all that stuff laying around! Of course I once more got distracted by the horse (more on that later).
4. Proper Set-Up
I don't mean that the horse needs to be braided, square and in a silver plated halter conformation shot; but I shouldn't have to squint to make the horse look good. I also shouldn't need glasses to find which end is his head. Candid shots are cute but really not the best if you ACTUALLY want to sell your horse. I always do a double-take when I come across an ad like the one above, and not just because of the background.
Why would you choose to post a picture of your horse like this. It is impossible to tell anything about this horse (except for the malnourished part). I costs no more money to take a picture like this:
5. Bad Riders
Not to nit-pick and be one of those people that gives advice when not asked, but this is another interesting topic that I feel I should bring up. I will not show it but I recently just watched a video of a rider and a horse competing in showjumping for the sale video. Now, in this video I found it impossible to tell whether it was the horse pulling the rider or vise verse.
Another instance I found was a rider that sat down FAR too early over the jump. This was causing the horse to jump hollow and incorrectly. I could NOT see what this horse had to offer. What a shame, he was out of my price range by about $50,000. (Yeesh)
6. And of course, the ever common bad color coordination, dangerous situation, taking jump pictures at the wrong time, etc. These are things that can easily be fixed!
Sometimes it is possible to look past these things and use a well trained eye to spot a diamond in the rough. This is not always easy or possible. Spending just five extra minutes on preparation, safety, and not to mention color coordination, can make the difference between a trip out to look at the horse or hitting the back button on the search bar.