Let’s Revisit Some (bad) Stallion Photos!

About a year ago, I had a little fun looking at the stallion promo pictures people chose to use to identify their stallion for the upcoming Midwest Horse Fair.

With just a little under 3 weeks to go before this fun event, let’s check out some of the many stallion photos for this year… the good and the not so good….

The MWHF is the premiere event in the entire Midwest.  It’s massive, and it draws in hundreds of horses for demos, competitions and clinics.  It’s a great event, and I simply love going.

The barns are fun to walk through, and the walls are usually plastered with ads for horses and tack and equipment for sale.  It’s a great place to find just what you’re looking for, whether you shop through 140 vendors or look at what horses are for sale in the barns.  And it has all the fair food you could possibly want, including our personal favorites- gigantic Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese curds and Cattleman’s Steak Sandwiches.  Diet be damned when I go to the MWHF!

It’s also a great place to meet and greet new breeds, and see all types of disciplines in action, with demonstrations, clinics, competitions, and nightly entertainment, too.

If you have a breeding stallion, and you service the Midwest, you want to go to this event to be seen and help get your stallion’s name out and promote your breeding operation.

And you should want to do it right.

I’ve got nothing against “BYB’s” back yard breeders.  At least, I’ve got nothing against the BYB’s who don’t have a huge fancy barn and formal promotions, but DO have a quality, papered, competed, and proven stallion, and promote and breed sensibly.

I do have major problems with Joe Schmoe who thinks just because his horse has testicles (or ovaries) it should be “bread”.

At the MWHF you get a really broad smattering of everything.  You see high dollar stallions that come from marvelous facilities with top notch care, you see the “little guy” who has a quality stud or two, and you see the total back yard breeder who hasn’t a clue.  I mean,  none at all.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.. I don’t care if you’re breeding cats, dogs, goldfish… you need to know what you’re doing, have the right set up and education and be prepared to do it right.

If you’re promoting your horse- be it for stud, sale, or whatever, you want to show off the best qualities, and if you are advertising for breed-specific purposes, you want to know and duplicate what is expected out of that breed’s conformation/promotional ads, and the photos you use to represent that animal reflect not only on the stallion, but also on your own operation and level of knowledge.

Pictures really are worth a thousand words…

So, let’s have it.. shall we?

First up, a Bashkir Curly stud.

Ok, you’ve got me.  I have no idea what the breed criteria standards for a Bashkir Curly would be.  I assume you would want to promote their curly coat, but then again, they only get curls part of the year.  So as far as a stallion picture goes, this one is OK.  I don’t have any major problems with it.   Nice pleasing background, no distractions, and a nicely photographed horse.  Bravo.

I just can’t comment on this Impressive Quarter Horse.  Again. I’m sure you can see why I’m so bothered by this horse.  Not necessarily the photo, but the actual horse himself.  Same photo every year.  Let’s at least try something new, people.

This is a grullo Portuguese Lusitano stallion.  Can’t say I know a danged thing about the breed, but I am not impressed by his stallion promo picture.  It shows nothing about the horse other than he can be ridden.  I’m assuming he’s working cattle, so something maybe displaying his cattle working ability a little more would be nice.    At least it has a clean background and a presentable horse & rider, so it’s a good effort.

This palomino American Warmblood is young and just getting started in both the working and breeding world.  The image is fine enough.  Definitely shows off his movement and high quality potential.  The picture would be even better if they dressed up the horse and handler as though they were at an inspection.  I’d like to see the annoying blue barrel and orange cone directly underneath the horse gone, and the handler not in jeans.  Even if the horse isn’t competing at Devon, you can still present him like he is.

This is the same image as last year for this young Arabian stallion. I’ll say it again… This photo was terrible the first time around and definitely not worth repeating a second year.  Seriously?!  If you think your stallion is so great- can’t you at least clean him up, put on a decent halter and better lead and take a presentable photograph?  You’ve had a whole year to plan for the MWHF… what thoughts were running through your mind when you sent in this same photograph… again?

I won’t even get started on all the faults with the horse.  We’re talking about photography here, and this does not come close to cutting it as a stallion image.

If you love Friesians, the MWHF is the place to get up close and personal with them.  The Fair brings out the baroque horses by the groves.  They’re everywhere.  I personally think a Friesian is OK.  I’m not in love with them.  I wouldn’t mind having one as a driving horse, but there are about a dozen other breeds I’d rather have first.

Now, you would never know that this Friesian stallion is an upper level trained horse capable of displaying his high quality movements going off this picture alone.  Why?  Because as a stallion promo photo, this image sucks.  It’s OK for a medieval knights poster, or some grim movie poster, but the grays and horrible half-rear pose of the horse offer nothing to promote him as a high quality breeding stud.  I’d like to see him moving out under saddle, or performing one of the many upper level movements or tricks that he knows.

It’s pretty amazing that you can take 2 breeds I’m really unimpressed with, cross them together, and get this outstanding stallion.  I’ve seen him at the fair before, and he’s an incredible horse.  This picture is well done and shows off plenty of his unique qualities.  If you don’t know what breeds he’s crossed with, you need to go back to equine 101.  🙂

Now we’ve hit a breed I really do like.  In my fantasy land, I’d own one.  Oh heck, no, scratch that.  I’m into driving 2 horses now a days, so I’d own 2.  I love Vanners.  However, this image as a stallion promo image is really really lacking.

This is a pretty bad crop job.  I won’t complain that the feathers aren’t clean, I could only imagine how hard it must be to keep them white.  The stallion looks dull and lethargic and the image does nothing to show off his good qualities.  Is he a nice mover?  Is he a proven working horse?  Does he ride or drive, and how well does he look doing it…?  Does he actually have a lower half to his left hind leg?  Shouldn’t have to wonder these things….. And the strands of wire fencing isn’t working either.  That at least would have been a easy clone-out job in Photoshop.

Moving on…

I will never… I repeat never… understand why people feel the need to pose with their stallions?  If you’re riding/handling/working the horse for an actual reason, of course, that’s one thing.  But I have seen stallion ads with high school aged girls draped over their backs, with farmer John proudly standing next to them over the stall door, and I’ve seen so many huggy/cuddly pictures as stallion sale ads it is just absurd.

This is not a stallion photo.  If you want a photo like this for your scrap book, go have at it. You obliviously love your horse and that’s great.  But leaning in to give him a cuddly kiss on his furry muzzle does not show what a good quality stallion your horse is.  This picture does not show anything.  He’s advertised as a jack of all trades, impressive in Western, Dressage, trail, and jumping.  Show one of those qualities in your stallion picture next time .  Or at least show him moving out.

Only a couple more, I promise…

Here’s a horse after my own heart!  It’s a hackney horse.  But you probably wouldn’t know that by looking at this picture… why?  Because he’s standing still!  If you have a breed that is particularly known for a certain movement quality…. for the love of all things horses, SHOW IT in your stallion promo picture!

This is a decent photo.  It would be better having been taken in lower light without the huge shadow under the horse and the glaring highlights through his barrel and blown out whites on the hind socks.  I don’t like that’s standing mostly square-ish semi parked out (pick one or the other) and his head is cocked to the side.  If you must show your horse standing there, at least have him straight.  The quarter-shoulder-angle is fine, but the head should be straight.  A horse like this should be shown moving freely or doing his job.  Can’t wait to meet him at the horse fair, though!

And last but not least… the winner of this year’s stallion avenue.  I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.  Maybe these people read my blog last year about their image, lol…

To recap… this was last year:

Firstly, I’m not sure why you would want to operate a mustang breeding program anyway.  There are so many mustangs fresh off the range that needs homes and training, why breed more purposely?  Having said that, last year’s picture of this little buckskin mustang is awful….  simply awful, and in no way what a stallion picture should be.

Looks like someone got it together this year, though!  Well done!

They hired a pro, got a NICE background that doesn’t distract.  The horse is standing square, not moving off with one leg cocked, and the sunlight is mostly even.  I’ve noticed a lot of the horses pictured for this year’s stallion avenue have this lovely green field and pond as their back ground – are all these horses at the same barn or something?

Anyway, while this isn’t a conformation picture, and does not display that he even has a job in life other than breeding, it is a heck of an improvement over last year.  Usually, I’m not fond of a rope halter for a stallion image, but bearing in mind that this is a mustang and rope halters are popular with Western people (I’ve got one, too – neon green, of course 😉 ), it does work for this image.  At least it’s clean and crisp.

Very nice job cleaning up your stallion image.  If you’re making the same quality of improvements in general with your breeding operation, you may win the gold star.  Now, I just can only hope you don’t advertise on Craigslist.

Good job mustang owner!

Looking forward to the horse fair as usual!


About kshai1715

I am a lifelong equestrian, photography enthusiast, sci-fi lover, and sci-fi convention & costuming geek that also loves movies and video games. I am a hard working 30 something woman that survived cancer and am looking forward to a long, healthy, self-empowered life. Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy reading about my horses (and the rest of my life) as much as I like writing about them.
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