It takes years to breed, fit, shoe and school a horse for the show ring or the sale arena. These horses speak volumes for the success of a breeding stable or for the reputation of those individuals who buy and sell a breed’s better horses. The best possible picture should be taken of a champion or a high selling horse, for a photograph of these animals is what the potential buyer wants to see. Only local buyers have an opportunity to view a horse in the flesh.
Take time to ensure you have your champion or high selling horse photographed by a qualified professional. While this will take time and organization on your part, the resulting photograph properly used will make it well worth your while.
All too often photographs are snapped after a champion is shown or a high seller exits the sale arena. Your horse fails to cooperate because it is tired and your patience is short. Give yourself and the horse time to settle. You both need it.
If you are certain you have a winner, snap the photograph before the show or sale, while the horse is still fresh. If you are unable to do this, put the horse away following the show or sale. Give the animal half an hour or more to eat, drink and relax. Then straighten the decorations, give the animal a quick polish and trot it before the professional photographer. You will find the horse far more co-operative and the professional photographer will have less reason to be frustrated. It is a good idea to have a second horse close to the horse you want photographed. This will settle the subject of the photograph, especially if they are a colt or filly, and capture the photographed horse’s attention.
The professional photographer is an artist and, as such, can be temperamental and demanding. He must be if his pictures are going to sell. Give him a chance to do his job. Animals can also be temperamental, which makes the photographer’s task doubly difficult. Have patience, be understanding. This is important.
The Percheron stallion Riverbend Monkoncarlaet was photographed by Strohmeyer & Carpenter at the 1947 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. It took four hours to achieve the result printed in this publication. While this may sound extreme, it is not uncommon. When Jim Rose photographed the $50,000 Shorthorn bull, Bapton Constructor, it took a full day to capture the right picture. This picture was worth its weight in gold, for the owner of this celebrated bull pocketed a million dollars from the offspring sold. It did the trick then; it does the trick today!
A good photograph is worth a thousand words. Win, place or show, the horses with the better pictures in the All-American and All-Canadian breed competitions carried in breed journals and The Draft Horse Journal, always capture the greatest breeder interest ... although they may not be the best horse. However, ensure no picture is altered, for buyers are quick to smell a rat. Keep these thoughts in mind and you will be rewarded. At least this is how I see it!