Shooting Video to SELL the Horse!

As more and more folks come online the Internet has allowed us to find Horses that we previously would not have been aware of. The perfect horse may be one that is many miles away and therefore the seller must learn to present their animals in the best light to allow the prospective buyer to have the information that they need to make an informed decision.

Preparation and The Equipment

Get plenty of HELP!! Gather as many people as possible to have plenty of assistanceís on hand. Make sure you have plenty of tape and one or two charged batteries before you begin. Familiarize yourself with the camera's operation and how to turn it on and off. Practice with the zoom and wide angle shots until you can be comfortable with your framing of the horse. Nothing is more disappointing than for the horse to be perfect, but his feet/ears aren't in the frame! The horse should take up 1/2 of the frame in most shots, centered with 1/4 of the frame behind and in front of him. Make sure the camera is held stable, a giggly picture will not sell the horse, and it will only make the prospective buyer seasick. If you can not keep the camera stable, get a tripod or rest the camera on something solid as much as you can when filming. Clean off the lens of the camera with lens paper or a soft paper towel; make sure it is spot and lint free. Use auto focus. Make sure there's nothing between you and the horse to throw off the focus.

The Surroundings

Make sure the area you are planning to shoot the film in is clean and well kept, pick up any debris and have the grass mown and the dogs put up! Your tape will turn out better out of doors, any filming that is to be done indoors (arena or barn aisle) be certain that you have all available lighting turned on and stop and view the tape to see if the lighting is good.

Shots taken indoors can often have poor resolution and coloring, making it hard to see the horse well.

If not move the horse outside to do the filming. In most instances you want your back to the sun when filming outdoors.

This shows good framing, but the sun is above and behind the horse, making him hard to view.

Shots taken with the sun directly overhead will put all the highlights directly on the top - loosing the definition of muscle on the Horses body Early evening or morning shots will often show the horse in the most flattering light.

Fairly good position of horse to sunlight, background is too loud and distracting.

Shots taken with sunlight hitting directly on the side is too harsh and reflective, causing very long and distracting shadows. A good rule of thumb to stand at a position that would be 12 on a clock face, and have the sun at 10:00 or 2:00.

This framing is too close to the horse, and he is not against a contrasting background. Sunlight is also above and in front of the horse. This makes the horse very hard to view.

Try to find a contrasting background. If the horse is light in coloring it often will not show up well when framed by the sky. Make sure the whole horse is in the fram, unless you are intentionally taking close ups of head, legs in gait, etc..

Although it would be better if the horse had more space in front and behind him,the background is good and the horse's legs show in the photo.
Same frame, but too zoomed in, the horses legs are cut off from viewing.

What to Show

Fist things first, make sure the horse, tack and rider are clean PRIOR to beginning the taping. Trim up the fetlocks, bridlepaths, ears and under the chin. Have the horse bathed, coat conditioner applied and white markings WHITE. Brush the horse to a shine and apply flyspray to avoid the horse being distracted by the pests! The rider should be neatly attired and in contrasting colors to the horse. Well-endowed ladies should wear support bras when riding, so as not to make the horse's gait seem rough undersaddle. Long hair should be pulled back for the same reason, bouncing hair LOOKS like a bouncing horse! Clean up the tack that you intend to use on the horse and don't forget the halter! The halter should be new or clean in an earth tone that contrasts and doesn't distract with the horse and well fitted to his head. Use a clean lead rope when handling the horse.

Prior to riding, show the horse:

Some of what you want to show under saddle depends on the horse skills and training, never ask the horse to do something he has not done well previously or that you will have to apologize or make excuses for. If the horse has been advertised as a kidís horse, then have a child handling him for most of the video.

While riding show the horse:

If the horse is being sold as a broodmare or stallion show:

Other things you may want to add if they apply:

Things that should not be taped or deleted prior to mailing the final product:

Getting good videotape to properly market your horse is time consuming and allot of work. But lost sales from poor presentation of the horse cost more in the long run. Take the time to present your horse fully and at his best. Be prepared! When you place that ad saying "video on request" that shouldn't mean that when a request comes in you'll make a video! Try to have the finished tapes already on hand. If the tape is more than a few months old you may want to add recent footage, but the bulk of the presentation should be ready. Time can be of the essence when dealing in the competitive world of marketing horses!

You can get real sick and tired of sending out videos. After you have all that time in preparing and presenting the horse properly, it takes time and money to copy the tapes, package and mail them out.  Make sure the tapes are clearly marked with the name, breed and age of the horse, along with your return address and phone number. Sometimes it seems like "nobody" ever sends them back to you, you may want to consider a $5.00 fee to cover the cost of the tape and shipping and just let them keep it, or make it a refundable deposit. Often of the number of prospective customers who request your horse videos, it turns out that only some are really interested in your horses for sale or stallion at stud anyhow, the rest just like seeing tapes! It can be exasperating! One simple, extremely affordable, commonsense solution is Let us put your horse video on the net, for viewing by thousands of prospective customers all over the country and the world, 24 hours a day! That way, the ones who just want to look at pretty horse videos can do so at no cost to you.  Online video will only give a "taste" of the horse, as it is very limited in duration. But while the customers are waiting for the competition's regular video tapes to arrive in their mailboxes, a bit of YOUR horse can be seen immediately, any time of day, from any computer with Internet access!