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Taking a good picture of your horse for advertising

Updated on August 28, 2011


Boadie standing square
Boadie standing square
Boadie standing unevenly
Boadie standing unevenly

Take a look at the above pictures...

They are taken of the same horse (Boadie) in about the same position. They are both nice pictures and look very similar. But this is an example of minor differences that just make for an overall better picture.

In the top photo, his legs are slightly more even. The background compostion is also plainer and not busy. His mane is banded and he is also wearing a leather halter with silver on it. The photographer was also able to photoshop the lead rope and my hand out of the picture for an overall "prettier" picture. The ground is also more even, whereas in the second picture he is standing in a dirt rut along the fence line which makes him look like he is downhill.

Overall, they are both good photos, but the first just makes him look more "polished" and "neat" and it looks like I took the time to make him look the best I could and it really makes an impression on the buyer.


Eclipse at a show
Eclipse at a show
Eclipse at a lesson
Eclipse at a lesson

Polishing the rough edges...

If you were going for a job interview, you wouldn't show up in your pajamas or cut off jeans would you?

The same goes for photographs when selling horses. If you are expecting a buyer to take your ad seriously, make sure you are displaying your horse in the best light possible. This means making sure your horse is clean, clipped, mane banded or braided or at least tidy, and also making sure your horse and YOU are outfitted in the proper attire.

In these set of photos, you can see that Eclipse is at a horseshow in the first picture. The rider is wearing proper dressage attire and Eclipse is wearing proper dressage tack. His mane is braided and he looks healthy and fit.

In the second photo, he is being ridden for a lesson. Although he is equipped with the proper tack, the rider is wearing relaxed clothing. Also, because of the harsh lighting, the photo looks washed out and Eclipse appears to be faded. In person, he really was jet black as seen in the first photo.


Hanna before
Hanna before
Hanna after
Hanna after

Riding pictures

Take a look at the above photos closely.

They are not of the same rider. They are both professionals. But a second look at the pictures can show a completely different horse - and for serious buyers - this could make or break a sale!

In the first photo, the rider is forcefully pulling Hanna's face back into "frame". What she's actually doing is causing her back to become hollow and her face is now behind the vertical. The rider is also pulling so hard that her center of balance is now behind her! For someone looking to do advanced dressage, they might pass up on the horse shown in the first photo simply because she is being trained improperly and more than likely does not know how to move correctly.

In the second photo, you can see that Hanna is on the bit, trotting in a relaxed manner with suspension in her back and pushing from behind instead of pulling with the front. The rider is sitting perfectly straight and she is not forcing her into frame. Someone looking to do some more advanced dressage would be more willing to look at this horse versus the one in the above photo - even though they are of the same horse!

In Conclusion...

Benjamin & Phantom
Benjamin & Phantom

A photograph is your first impression

When searching for horses for sale on the internet, think of what captures your eye. I know that a good photo - regardless of the color, the breed, the gender, the price, the discipline - will always get me to click on the ad first, and then read the details.

It has been my experience, in both buying and selling, that a good photo is what sells a horse. I know that I have personally purchased horses based on just the way I remember how that horse looked in the photo, regardless if I really actually liked the horse or not once I've gone to try him out. It seems like such a silly thing, but I think as people, when we see a photo, our minds are already made up and it would take alot to change that inital reaction of when your first saw the photo that sucked you in.


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    • thisspice profile image

      thisspice 6 years ago from Asheville, NC

      ponygirl64 - thank you for your compliment. I have bought and sold many horses over the past 5-6 years ranging in breeds, ages, and disciplines. I don't do it as a business, but just as a hobby or if I get a new horse and it doesn't suit my needs or if circumstances forces a sale. I have learned alot from my experiences and thought I could share. Going through some old photos, I realized I had taken some myself (the 2 "bad" pictures posted above) and the better ones (taken by professionals) that were done in a similar fashion - thus, being able to really compare a "before" and "after" type photo. I wished I could have posted the pictures side-by-side, but this was only my 3rd attempt at a hub post so hopefully I will learn quickly on how to do things like that! I plan on posting new articles on a weekly basis so please check back soon!

    • ponygirl64 profile image

      ponygirl64 6 years ago

      A good article and topic with nice pics to compare and prove your point. Thank you for sharing. I am a horse person too so I am always looking for useful articles.