Do you have enough property to have a trails system for yourself and your boarders? Is your property adjacent to public lands that are open for horse riding? Are you wondering if your clients and potential clients want places to trail ride without having to trailer away from your boarding facility?
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The best way to find out is to ask.
When clients come out to your facility, take a few minutes to ask their opinions about trail riding. A barn-wide survey via email or a note on the message board can provide insight.
Another option is to set up a private Facebook group for your boarders and use the polling option to gauge interest. You also can place a public poll on your business Facebook page to provide information on whether potential clients see trails as a benefit. That could tell you if the investment in trails on your property might attract new business.
Equine business owners can create an Amazon Business Account.
“You can look at it as a business opportunity and a way to stay competitive,” said Holley Groshek, executive director of The Equestrian Land Conservation Resource (ELCR). “If your barn is close to public land, building access trails on your land to those trails can also give you an advantage.”
Ask current and potential clients what types of trails they are most interested in. Some riders are satisfied with a loop around the property or through the woods where they can give their horses' minds a break and expose them to new sights during a warm-up or cool down. Other riders crave miles of trails.
Also ask about the degree of difficulty they prefer. Not all riders are up for challenging terrains. Some prefer flat, well-maintained trails, whereas others are looking for varied landscapes, water crossings, bridges and other natural features. For stables located adjacent to public trails, a simple access path from the stable to the larger system might be the perfect addition to your facility.
Groshek encouraged barn owners to run a cost/benefit analysis on having trails before beginning to mow or cut paths through the woods. It takes time, labor and in some cases materials to make safe, enjoyable riding trails. Before investing in building trails on your property, you’ll want to know that boarders will appreciate and use the improvements.
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