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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2010
    Posts
    29

    Default A breeder vent. Selling the younguns'.

    Alter invoked for obvious reasons.

    I am happy to take suggestions and constructive criticism but mostly looking for commiseration! LOL

    I love raising horses, I love everything about it except one big thing.... dealing with buyers. I actually like most of the buyers but so many of them I feel, have unrealistic expectations as to what a breede of a young horse is "all about". IF you are interested in something young, there is going to be some risk. You are also going to have to educate your eye and perhaps go look at something. I think we have become somewhat spoiled in this day of instant pictures and videos. While it has enhanced the sales process beyond what could be imagined in the past, it also has added another layer of required expertise to the breeder's job. I am happy to take pictures and some basic video of babies. But we are a breeding farm. We manage stallions, broodmares and babies on a daily basis. We are not a training facility but a breeding farm. Think KY TB farm set up. Our resources are spent on pastures and fencing, to give the mares and babies the best possible set up. Therefore we don't have extensive training facilities, it's not what we do. When our babies reach the point to which they are ready to go to the training facilities, their prices will reflect the increased effort and money we are spending.

    And here is the crux of it, as breeders we take a huge risk on the future with every decision we make. We take these risks gladly ( most I know love it!). We spend money on vet bills, stud fees, fence, feed, pasture improvement, farm help etc travel, advertising etc on the hope we will produce quality babies. Buying a young horse is somewhat the same risk but on a much smaller scale, large amounts of resources have already be spent to bring that baby to fruition. The best way to evaluate some of these babies might be actually go and look at them. In person. Producing picture after picture and video after video of babies become tiresome and time consuming, especially to us not "media" inclined. I know for me I have never regretted seeing any horse in person and often it changes my opinion of the horse.

    I know people who are fantastic at producing wonderful videos of mediocre horses and I know people with fabulous horses from whom you will never see a video.

    Does anyone else feel the same way? I just get plum tuckered out with requests for more videos, more pictures etc. As breeder's we have taken a large amount of risk already, there is only so much you can show of a baby or youngster with video and pictures. "Risking" a tank of gas or two or some travel time is a small price comparatively to evaluate a prospect. And in our case you can often not only see the baby you are interested in but siblings, the stallion, the mare, other offspring of the same parents etc.

    Anyone else feel the same?


    14 members found this post helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 21, 2007
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    877

    Default

    Sure. I know how you feel. But unfortunately, sometimes people must travel farther than a couple of tanks of gas to see a prospect. It may mean a long flight and time off of work too. They just want to be sure that this particular prospect may be worth the time $$$ and effort. And this is why so many buyers still find it easier to go to Europe where they can see a whole bunch of horses in one spot. It certainly puts NA at a big disadvantage.

    Maybe what's needed are more people for hire who do well produced horse sales videos. Have them out once or twice a year to film the youngsters, and that's that!
    www.sauconycreeksporthorses.com
    Dedicated to breeding Friesian Sporthorses
    with world class pedigrees and sport suitability


    5 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2011
    Location
    Englandshire
    Posts
    572

    Default

    I don't mind doing photos. I like to see them too. I will travel to see a horse but I want to know it's half way worth going to look at. We do travel a long way to look at possibles though so it's not like we are travel adverse. We get an agent if it's out of the country as getting on a plane to have that first look at a horse is a bit too time consuming and costly. So, no, I am happy to do photos for people if they want more, as I would like the same if I asked for them.

    (The photo collectors that want a million photos of various horses and never ever seem to decide on anything, another matter )


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2013
    Posts
    342

    Default

    Last time I bought a horse (usually I breed my own) I went all over the east coast looking at horses that if I would have had better photos and videos I would have never gone to see. I knew the second I watched the video of the horse I finally bought. She had "my horse" stamped all over her, from her look to her way of going. Let me tell you how happy I was that she was everything I thought she would be from her video.
    The day I got her video, I had just come home from a fruitless and frustrating trip and if I would have only received a couple of crappy pictures I wouldn't have gone to see her.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2005
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    3,243

    Default

    I go out of my way to produce pictures and videos of our young horses. In turn most have sold by the time they are 3 months old. Yes it is time consuming and an effort must be apparent from the photos. I groom mine and even will put in braids for a video. Why? Because it helps for the buyer that might not be able to imagine what they will look like "all cleaned up". I am noticing a trend with our buyer who are purchasing young horses are doing so to be able to have the kind of quality animal that they might not afford when it is 4. So they are also taking on the risk. Many of them have never bought something so young and even with a trainers help, they are not experienced at looking at babies. So I want to make it as easy as possible for them to "see" what they are looking for. This has been a successful game plan. We are now accepting young horses from other breeder who want to sell them as weanlings-2 year olds, who might not have the time or the skill to produce the pictures and videos needed to market their young horse.
    Just recently we had a clients weanling come to us. I immediately went out to take pictures and videos and when a prospective buyer wanted to see something else, I took a new video that day. The results were, that foal sold in less than 3 weeks of being here. It can be done, but you have to be willing to cater to buyers wants and needs or hire someone else to do it. If you don't, another breeder will.
    Last edited by alliekat; Mar. 11, 2013 at 09:45 AM.
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    16 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2010
    Posts
    29

    Default

    I certainly understand many of your points and appreciate the input.

    I do think to be competitive you sometimes have to go above and beyond. We raise a fairly uncommon purebred ie - if you are looking at our horses, you are not traveling to Europe to look at upper level dressage prospects. We live within an 8 hour drive to 75% of the US population. We produce pictures and videos of our babies as I mentioned and don't mind doing it but there is only so much you can do with a baby. As someone mentioned above - if they know what they are looking for, one or two good photos should be somewhat telling. A bit of video for movement and you have a really good idea - after that if you have interest, go and look. If you have an untrained eye, going to look is the one of the ways to train that eye.

    Edited to add: We do maintain a very active facebook page, where for example one of our youngsters for sale has over 50 photos of the first two years of his life so far. Admittedly none of them are from the last month but I would think you could get the idea.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2008
    Location
    Sunshine State
    Posts
    2,215

    Default

    It seems like the common lament of breeders in the US is that US buyers go to Europe instead of buying local. The continental US is a MUCH more spread out horse population than anything a buyer will have to deal with in Germany or Ireland. Where you could look at dozens of babies in a single day in Europe, visiting that number of babies here will likely take several trips and plane tickets.

    If US breeders want to be competitive they must make information on what they've got available to prospective clients. It doesn't take huge amounts of time or expensive equipment. A mid range video camera and a still camera, a half way competent assistant, and one day every three months or so (for young babies) of grooming and filming will give you the equipment you need to put together decent sales videos. Windows Movie Maker is an easy and intuitive program that allows someone with little or no training to edit videos.

    Ultimately whether or not videos are done is entirely up to the breeder/owner but if you decide that it's not worth your time to do it, understand why many buyers might not bother to dig deeper to see what you have.
    The rebel in the grey shirt


    10 members found this post helpful.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 27, 2008
    Posts
    2,467

    Default

    Having recently bought a horse, I can just tell you, it was because the seller graciously got me the videos I requested. She did not edit them or polish them up; but she took them.

    We were nearly 2000 miles apart. There was no way for me to just drop by.

    I love the horse! Feel free to see about a million pictures of him linked in my signature line.
    I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


    3 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 9, 2004
    Location
    Elizabethtown, KY
    Posts
    2,689

    Default

    I am a buyer AND a seller. I have a reasonably well trained eye and know what I like. I have purchased several horses from photos and videos without going to see the horse, especially youngsters. There is not a snowballs chance in hell I'm driving eight hours to see an unbroke youngster, much less fly there. I have a FT job and plenty of horses to ride and train.

    It can be a pain to accommodate requests as a seller, but that is what is required to sell the product. Coke wouldn't be coke without marketing. What if the executives just showed a photo of a dark liquid in a plain glass and said 'just come try it for yourself and decide if you like it'? I doubt they'd sell much Coke. I assume if someone can't be bothered to get photos and video they must not be that keen to sell and I'll keep looking.
    Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. - William Jennings Bryan

    http://www.halcyon-hill.com


    4 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2008
    Location
    Maxville, On
    Posts
    580

    Default

    Well I think it's the least we can do. I am aware that I have lost potential buyers in the past because I didn't provide timely current video and I apologize for it but I can only blame myself. This is my responsabilities and it goes with the business. I cannot ask anyone to come and see my horses without them having the opportunities to look at a video.

    But yes, I do hate this part of the business simply because I am not good at it and I need help and my helpers seems to lack the patience required to do a good job. I find it so much more difficult than taking pictures. But I guess they were forgiving because from potential buyers most of them became actual buyers without even coming to see them in flesh.
    Suzanne
    bloomingtonfarm.com
    Breeder of Royal Dutch Sport Horse


    3 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2009
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    556

    Default

    With the two youngsters I sold to the US neither buyer came to see them. They requested photos/videos (aside from what was posted in some cases) and I was sure to get them asap (thanks to my amazing parents!). Sure it was more work, (and NOT professionally done) but they were able to see the horses as they were. I try to keep updated pictures in the farms facebook page, including the casual ones. I keep the nice conformation and show pictures on the website as well.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2005
    Posts
    3,442

    Default

    My daughter's friend hires someone to do professional photos and videos on a regular basis. She takes her babies to a few in hand shows and does a lot of ground work with each youngster. Her youngsters all sell. Many sell as 2 and 3 year olds. Others don't sell until after she has started them under saddle. Most of her youngsters sell to people who are within 100 miles of her breeding farm, but who saw the many videos on her website, Facebook, and YouTube.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2004
    Location
    Still here ~ not yet there
    Posts
    6,497

    Default

    I certainly can commiserate, but it's an unfortunate must for today's US breeder to be media savvy to some degree. Because I am a one man band and must haul to get the best video (although I can get good photos here IF it's the right time of year and IF the horse doesn't have a woolie coat and IF I have an assistant to hold the horse correctly,etc).

    I refuse to go out and snap a pic of a hairy horse standing in the pasture just because it's current. I will explain to a buyer that it's often tough for even an experienced breeder to see through hair, but if it's February, my horses are going to have it -- especially the young stock!

    That being said, when I take my bi-annual pics & videos (at least that's what I aim for), I make sure to get all angles, front, back, head shots, legs ....just about everything a buyer could want.

    After that, I just have to convince the buyer that I've been doing this for a while and have a rep has describing my horses accurately. I have references going back many years.

    So most of the time, this is enough (plus a vet check) to sway most buyers.

    "Sales" is also an important skill for the breeder to have. And the KY TB outfits have someone who covers this area.

    You can breed the best horses in the world, but if you can't get them seen, they won't sell.

    I agree Media 7 Selling is not my favorite part of the breeding package, but I acknowledge it's necessary.

    Anyone else on the place who might be more interested in taking over this chore?


    2 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2000
    Location
    SE WI- Midwest
    Posts
    3,494

    Default

    I'm going to agree on the difficulty of being able to get new media all of the time, it can be a challenge with young horses and limited help.
    That being said, I forced myself to get better with regard to taking photos, as well as making and editing videos, because I do think that is key to a good marketing effort. I found that I enjoy both quite a bit!
    I have been talking with a breeder friend in the area that is strong in the website design and management skills, an area I am proficient but do not enjoy as much. We have kicked around the idea of setting up a service to offer to other breeders to help with both aspects of this part of the sales process. It sounds like it may be something that could be useful to others, so long as it carried a reasonable cost. Would people be willing to pay for that sort of service?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Location
    Wilton, NH USA
    Posts
    134

    Default

    Could we also add to this discussion input from buyers as to what they actually wish to see in a sales video? Specifically foals, yearlings? When buyers ask for more pictures, etc. what information are they really looking for?

    If the obvious conformation and movement has been demonstrated, what do you want/expect to see with additional materials, assuming that the videos and photos are clear and current? Of course there is always room for improvement, and we try our best, but there is only so much for babies to show. Any ideas as to what could be included would be helpful so maybe we could get things right the first time!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2006
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,189

    Default

    One thing that does get disheartening is when you *do* comply with all the requests - photos, then video of conformation and under saddle gaits. Then video of loose walk and trot and canter with specific angles requested. And then get a request from the trainer of more photos and a video of the horse being lunged in a dark saddle with a white saddle pad focussed on the saddle so she can see how much the horse's back moves up and down because her client has a bad back.

    And that was the point I said no. If "feel" was the most important criteria and the mare met all the other criteria then the buyer had to take time to fly down and ride as far as I was concerned.

    The customer is always right, but good lord there's a limit!

    (The horse sold to the first person who came to see her in person)


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 3, 2002
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    884

    Default

    As a buyer of young horses, I've both flown cross country to see them and also bought sight unseen. When buying without seeing them first it takes a co-operative seller who patiently provides the long distance buyer with decent photos and videos of requested things- such as feet, mother's feet, video of young horse being handled, groomed, tied, being led, etc. Also I like seeing the mother's movement and demeanor and conformation photos of her.

    When a seller doesn't want to provide those things in a timely manner, I move on. I can generally tell in the first phone call, whether or not I want to deal with the seller. If you're in the business of trying to sell horses, you darn well should bend over backwards accomodating buyers. And time is of the essence.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2000
    Location
    Southern Pines, N.C.
    Posts
    11,543

    Default

    As a buyer (who just bought a horse from Silver Creek) I can tell breeders with certainty that, unless they plan to keep everything they breed, that they are not just breeders. They are also marketers and sellers.

    I know that some breeders do not want to take pictures on demand because the young stock is fuzzy and/or going through an ugly stage. Well, I guarantee you that, if a potential buyer would not like pictures/videos of such a horse, she sure isn't going to appreciate spending time and money by going to see the horse in person.

    In the former case (sending out current pics/videos), you may not make that one sale, but in the latter case, you have probably lost the buyer forever (and possibly her friends, too) because of the wasted time and money the buyer incurred.

    The one thing that makes the US "smaller" is video. The last 2 young horses I have bought, I have not seen before I wrote the check. The first of these has exceeded my hopes by a mile and I have unlimited excitement that the second one will, too. Both sellers were cooperative in taking a video of things I wanted to see -- and it made all the difference.

    To the OP, vent all you want. But breeders/sellers who acommodate potential buyers' requests will be selling their young stock, while you are sitting on yours. You may have God's gift tot he GP ring sitting in your fields, but unless you let people know what you have, yours will not get sold as quickly and/or for the price you want.
    "I used to have money, now I have horses."


    9 members found this post helpful.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2011
    Location
    Englandshire
    Posts
    572

    Default

    I also see just taking the photos as way less hassle and less time consuming (for me!) than people potentially turning up to view a horse they aren't even half sure they would want and everyone's time being wasted.

    (Not sure I'm making complete sense there, sorry. Need coffee.)


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 27, 2005
    Location
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Posts
    3,243

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Helpus View Post
    As a buyer (who just bought a horse from Silver Creek) I can tell breeders with certainty that, unless they plan to keep everything they breed, that they are not just breeders. They are also marketers and sellers.

    I know that some breeders do not want to take pictures on demand because the young stock is fuzzy and/or going through an ugly stage. Well, I guarantee you that, if a potential buyer would not like pictures/videos of such a horse, she sure isn't going to appreciate spending time and money by going to see the horse in person.

    In the former case (sending out current pics/videos), you may not make that one sale, but in the latter case, you have probably lost the buyer forever (and possibly her friends, too) because of the wasted time and money the buyer incurred.

    The one thing that makes the US "smaller" is video. The last 2 young horses I have bought, I have not seen before I wrote the check. The first of these has exceeded my hopes by a mile and I have unlimited excitement that the second one will, too. Both sellers were cooperative in taking a video of things I wanted to see -- and it made all the difference.

    To the OP, vent all you want. But breeders/sellers who acommodate potential buyers' requests will be selling their young stock, while you are sitting on yours. You may have God's gift tot he GP ring sitting in your fields, but unless you let people know what you have, yours will not get sold as quickly and/or for the price you want.
    You are absolutely right. We just helped market a yearling for someone. Of course it was Feb. and in the midst of his winter woolies. I bathed him, trimmed him up with the clippers, pulled his mane and braided him. I shot a video of him and there was someone else to take pictures. He looked fantastic and although he was not slick coated like he would be in the spring, he cleaned up well. For the couple hours put in to prepare him for his pics an videos, he sold in less than a week. The effort was apparent. In fact even the owner was blown away with how well he cleaned up.
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    1 members found this post helpful.

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