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Buy/Sell part 3 – Good & bad adverts

For those that missed part one in this buying and selling feature look back at our article about what to include in an advert. Today we will be comparing good and bad adverts for the same horse to show just how much an advert can influence a potential buyer before looking at some current adverts to see how they could be improved.

Horse 1

Good
16h2 11yo TBxID attractive bay gelding. Super RC horse competed DR/SJ/XC including area teams with good results. 12 BE foundation points including placings  & DCs at BE100. Suit competent teenager or adult. 100% shoe/box/clip/vet/hack etc. No vices & nice person. Job forces sad sale. Devon Tel: 07777777777 £4000

Bad
11yo bay gelding. Has XC/SJ. Not novice ride. Previous leg injury left blemish hence £4000 Tel: 07777777777

Here the bad advert is just too brief. If the word count is that brief I would concentrate on BE results/points over leg injuries which on it’s own would leave me running for the hills even if it would not cause any ongoing problems for the horse.

Horse 2

Good
POTENTIAL EVENTER –  2009 16h grey mare WBxTB by Mill Law out of a Unbelievable Darco mare. Showing great scope & technique over a fence. Easy to do. Started competing unaffil DR/SJ with good results and great attitude, aimed for age classes in autumn. Serious prospect in right hands. Pregnancy forces sale. Based with XYZ. Devon Tel: 07777777777 £4000

Bad
2009 16h grey mare WBxTB by Mill Law out of a Unbelievable Darco mare. Showing good scope jumping but needs to now learn to collect and improve the canter. Started competing unaffil DR/SJ with scores ranging 50-65% and now gaining clears showjumping 2ft3. Follows me round like a dog and loves attention, handled by my small child, granny and non horsey husband. Bred her ourselves out of a homebred Unbelievable Darco mare who competed to Intermediate. We are currently aiming her for BE age classes with a pro in autumn if not sold. Serious prospect in right hands. Tel: 07777777777 £POA

Although here the bad advert isn’t exactly bad by any stretch there are a few things that would discourage me from calling. Why is the horse with a pro if it’s a homebred? The first states due to pregnancy but the second might make you think it is not suitable for an amateur. The results are not great and better phrasing would be ‘with scores up to 65%’. Also the price and lack of location would put me off.

Real adverts

Now I will look at some real live adverts and analyse what I think is right and wrong and how I would improve them.

Advert 1
Liver chestnut, Gelding, 15.2 hands. Approx 15.2hh. Ideal PC / RC event or ladies allrounder. Beautifully bred gentleman. Easy, well-schooled mannerly ride. Snaffle mouthed. Polite honest jump. Great in traffic / hacking alone or in company. A smasher to do in all ways! With his kind sensible willing nature, In or out of stable. (mobile number) price

My main problem in this advert (in addition to a poor photo) is the lack of information. How old is it? Has it competed? Where is it? Otherwise it sounds a potentially lovely horse but I wouldn’t enquire further due to a complete lack of even a mention of competition record especially as the photo (standing but not conformation shot) is not at a competition.

Advert 2

KWPN, Bay, Stallion, 4 years, 16.1 hands
Stallion by Amadeus X Guidam out of an Indorado X Abantos mare
Registered AES, jumping British Novice & Discovery
9th at Badminton in the BYEH showing potential in any sphere
Easy to handle and do
contact number, location, price

Ok now this is potentially an exceptional horse and the advert itself is good as it is informative and to the point BUT (and there is always a but) the photo (which I can’t share due to copyright!) it’s a head shot. For a stallion (or any horse) I want either a conformation or action shot not a head shot. The lack of decent photo makes me think (probably incorrectly) that it has a conformation fault (but if you read the BYEH results it had 2nd best conformation score which would suggest otherwise) or the owner just couldn’t be bothered as it takes no time at all to take a decent photo even with a camera phone especially when they are asking for a substantial amount of money.

Advert 3

Anglo Arab, Grey, Gelding, 7 years, 15 hands
Fully registered, fully vaccinated, good to box, farrier etc. Lovely mover, snaffle mouth, placed dressage. For Sale due to loss of grazing and family commitments. This lovely boy must be SOLD so open to any reasonable offer. mobile number, south east

This advert has no price, no photo, no location (I don’t count south east as location 😉 ) and no real competition record details. It could be a cracking pony/riding club or show horse or a low level eventer but the advert is never going to encourage me to ring due to the lack of essential details. Again get out the camera phone and take a photo!

Advert 4

15hh 5 year old chestnut mare
Good mover and a good jump
She is a nice event type and is ready to go out BE90
Price, Number

No breeding, photo, location or to be honest much else! This wasn’t from a site with a word limit so please be more generous with your descriptions! To be honest though I would potentially call as the price is right but as a chestnut mare not a great project prospect (face it if buying a project and it’s a mare it has to be a pretty/unusual colour!).

Advert 5

Chestnut, Gelding, 11 years, 16.2 hands

This magnificent horse’s performance matches his looks. We have had him for 3 years, he belongs to my daughter ABC; XYZ is a very settled character now, we are selling him to place in a home for life

The facts are:-

Insert 11 paragraphs here (yes 11)

Price includes fitted saddle and his Rambo turnout rug

Now I haven’t included the full advert as well there is no need. If you read it though he is a lovely sounding horse with decent competition results after a bad start in life with a previous owner. I do like that they are being honest and without question they love him to pieces but there is just too much information to the point you have to scroll to read the whole advert. When there is that much people will turn off and skip past if they even start reading at all. My point of including this advert (in part) is keep it brief and factual to ensure everyone at the very least skim reads your advert rather than skipping right past.

About the author

Katie