Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring is Here~ It must be Horse Selling Time!

Do you remember the days of real horse trading?  Looking back on them, it seemed so simple. Buy a horse. Sell a horse. Trade a horse. You had to be sharp, knowledgeable and sometimes skeptical. You learned as you progressed. " Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I made some good deals and some bad deals, but I didn't make the same mistakes twice.

I began selling horses about age 11. People didn't seem to care that I was making these deals with out benefit of adult supervision. My money was green and that was all that mattered. Once I wanted a pony and cart, so I bought the cart and talked my older sister into buying the pony. She paid a lot for her too- I think $50! Horses were cheap then. $100 for a older broke gelding, $300 for a younger one.

But buying and selling horses today is almost a completely different thing. Now we have Cell phones, personal computers, web pages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so many equine sites that I can't even begin to name them instead of the local paper or a post card tacked up at the feed store.
You have trainers of every sort with YouTube Videos and you can even post your own video faster than you could recite the Pledge of Allegiance.You have the power and knowledge of the planet in the palm of your hands!

So why, oh why,do we still see ads that are SO bad? Just some local examples~

"Bay Overo Gelding. Rides Western, Pleasure and Some Trail. Loads, Ties, Baths and stands for Ferrier. Sound with no issues. Very Athletic, Excellent Barrel Prospect, Just needs a Job!"

 "3 little Horses for my daughter but they need more care and attention than we can give. Beautiful animals need loving home. Pictures did not come out good because of rain. Must see.... if you have any technical question about them I don't have answer because I m not a right person to ask but you are more than welcome to stop and see them and check your self"

"I have my 10 year old gilding for sale or trade. I broke him about 4-5 months ago. He's pretty gentle and easy to handle. But he is an Arab and a little green so he needs a rider who isn't afraid to show him who's boss. He's a great trail horse. Lifts all his feet. Had his teeth floated when I got him. He's also gun broke. You can shoot what ever you want off his back and he won't throw you off. I don't have any paper work on him hints why I'm only asking 500 or trade. I'm willing to trade for other horses,cows,guns, ranch quad, or really any man stuff. "

"Horse for sale he's bout 20 years old gelding quarter horse please call or text if interested" 

I haven't included the pictures that headed up these ads, but I'll get to that too. 

These are the information tags that get me shaking my head:

 " Barrel Prospect" 
" Just needs a job"
"I don't have time for him" 
"Has no kick,buck,bite or rear in him"

  Selling a horse is hard enough! Horse ownership is dying luxury. To sell a horse,( or almost anything else,) you have to create desire. Make the reader of your ad just drool over your horse. Make your sale animal the best thing he's ever read about- and do it all without over exaggerating your horses skill level! 

What information could you get from a picture like this?
Not much! 

Begin by writing your ad as if you were buying a horse yourself. What are you looking for and why does your horse qualify? You must have had a reason for buying him in the first place.
Take a moment to read SOLD ads on big websites like DreamHorse. What made those horses appealing? 

Amatuer friendly,willing, talented, APSL! (Gala)
Bay Lusitano Gelding

 Look at this SOLD ad. It announces up front that this is a horse that an Amatuer could ride, It's friendly, willing and talented. Then it says Bay Lusitano Gelding. The rest of the ad shows several well taken pictures , the age of the horse and a price. Contact information that is clear and concise. 

Use your best description, use positive words. Say what your horse is NOW- not what you think he may turn out to be, a last resort... if someone who knows horses can get him and train him.  Not every horse is a "barrel prospect" and in fact just saying that means that you have never taught that horse the word Whoa.

EXAMPLE: Wonderfully Marked Bay Overo Gelding. Fun to ride. Friendly in your pocket kind of horse. Can turn on some speed. Needs an intermediate rider. Price $XXXX Come take him for spin around the Ring, load him up and take him home! 

Overusing phrases like " He needs a job", or " I don't have time for him" tells me that he is probably as wild as the East Wind and will need a lot of work. And FYI ...every horse will bite, kick rear and buck if frightened,threatened or hurt, so STOP putting those things in your ads. 

Please take the time to actually put a halter on your horse when you take his picture. Call your spouse, kid,neighbors or friends to come hold him while you take his picture. And here is a novel idea; how about a curry comb? They are cheap enough to own- use one with some vigor before the picture is snapped. 

Butt pictures of your pony? STOP! No one cares! In the early 50's it was fashionable to take those butt snaps of heavily muscled quarter horse stallions. What interested buyers want to see now is conformation. Take those pictures in a flat pasture, driveway or even the street, but take them! 

I do not want to see your helmet-less two year old riding, leading, kissing or brushing the horse. I don't want to see any person in the picture unless they are riding the horse in the way you are intending him to be sold. If you are jumping the horse, have proper footgear and headgear.

Same horse as below, although the picture dose not show his conformation, you can see that he is quiet enough to take to a local show. Rider is focused on the ride and the horse, so is not distracting in the picture. Add this picture to the next one and you've got your self a great ad started. 

 If you are reining, show me a picture of him loping. Pleasure horses; how about a nice framed jog picture? 
And even a simple picture will do the trick. 
Set your horse up as squarely as possible. Have him clean as a whistle! Mane and tail brushed, feet trimmed. A simple background helps focus on the horse.
Same horse, on a trail ride. Can't see his pretty head because he has too much tack on. Legs are not visible because of leg protection. Bad angle doesn't show his conformation, and he looks light in the hind end. Plus no one wants to see an old lady riding him- they want to envision themselves riding him. 

Use the Video function of your cell phone to take controlled video of your horse.CONTROL being the word I stress here.  I sure don't want to see him tearing around your corral, a debris strewn pasture or muddy paddock. Not everyone has a beautiful indoor arena, but almost everyone has a flat, safe space to lunge their horse. 

And my most hated type of picture in a horse ad... people standing on their horses. Really. Just Don't!

If you are going to try to sell your horses yourself this year, I hope these guidelines will resonate with you. It takes a lot more effort to sell your animal, but the rewards will be greater. Not just monetarily, but for the new Owner as well. You know that your new buyer will see this horse as valuable, loved and that someone will hold him responsible for treating the horse as you did- with respect.

                                                              Happy Horse Trading!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bloody Hell

Not that long ago, not so very far away, I was a bright eyed teenager going out on my own into the world. I went to an Interview for a local retailer and was ushered into the cubicle of a low level manager and his dumpling of a secretary. I wore a short skirt, because that is what I owned in 1974. I sat down, adjusted my skirt, and came to attention. The manager greeted me as Miss and asked me a series of questions, most of which I do not remember. But there was one question I DO remember- quite clearly in fact. He asked me if I would have any trouble directing servants.

Yep. Servants.

I was taken aback, because in my family I WAS the servant.

Now before I tell you the rest of the story and my reason for blogging today, let me just take you in the Way-Back Machine ( And if you know what that is, you can skip this section if you like!)

In the days of Black and White Television, there was a little show called " Hazel", She was the maid of a middle-class white family. She was sassy, and bossy and got into some hi-jinks or other every week. She kept her family safe and happy while doing her job with a smile. I take the time to add, Hazel was a middle aged white woman.

Then there was The Brady Bunch and their lovable maid named Alice. She ran the kitchen, deferring to Mr. Brady's wise and sage advice all while keep the brood of six children well fed and rounded -up. Mrs Brady did nothing but sit on the couch and look pretty.

Since there were seven of us children in our house, I used to ask my mother," Why don't we have a maid?" Her standard answer; "You all are the Maids."

So When Mr Manager asked me if I could direct servants, I didn't hesitate, I said "of course."

Then he asked me if I was planning to get married and have children.

After escaping the above-mentioned family with 6 children and all my families chores, of course I said, "No.".

I learned much later that those kinds of questions were really inappropriate. The reason they asked was to determine how much training they were going to give me in my job. If I was only there to look for a husband, they were only going to give me basic work. If I wanted a career, ( AKA No Children) then the Company would invest in more training and a higher salary for me.

A few years later, I applied for another job. I again went to the interview in a short skirt. The Interviewer asked me why I wanted a job at UPS. I told him I liked trucks, and showed him my work hardened hands. He hired me on the spot. I don't know if it was my hands or the fact that I had a great pair of pins- it didn't matter. I got the job, and for the next 12 years I fought like a wildcat to keep it.

Why? Because men did not want to give a young girl a job in a man's industry- driving trucks.
I was asked daily why I wanted to take away a MAN's job? I guess it didn't occur to them that I was supporting a young daughter by myself.

If I had ever called in sick because of a bad cramp, or said I couldn't lift the boxes, or couldn't haul the truck around, I would have lost my job. I did that job- rain or shine. I did it while sick. I did it while pregnant and I even lost two babies while doing it.

Feminism~ bah! When the men on the line are watching you, waiting for you to fail, waiting for you to cry Uncle, waiting for you to break down, you learn to just bear down and work. Because of me and a few hardy women like me, we made it possible for other women to have those higher paying but difficult jobs. Our mantra: Anything you can do,I can do too. And we did. And we looked good doing it.  

Like Tom Hanks said in a League Of Their Own, " There is no crying in baseball.."

So when I heard on the news the other day that Italy has implemented a Menstrual Day Off Policy I just about croaked. I feel like the rug was pulled out from under our feet and that all the sacrifices that my women friends and I made are for nothing.
For so many years we worked like men. Demanded the same pay, the same days off, the same benefits as our men counter parts, only to now have some bull shit legislator undermine it by giving us Menstrual Days off.

As if having a Period was a sickness, or worse, a weakness.

I am ashamed of our young women, to use our femininity like this.

What next?
Ordering servants around?