Editor's note: This month, Stable Management is tackling the issue of hiring outside instructors who come to your facility to teach riding lessons. There can be pros and cons to this decision, and we'll give you tips to help you decide what might be right for your equine business.
Hosting clinics are not a new concept for stables. Stables of all sizes and disciplines located across the country have successfully hosted special events with outside riding instructors and trainers for years. Sponsoring a widely known trainer, instructor or rider can be expensive, making it difficult to make a profit or break even. But well-known instructors also have the potential to draw large crowds and command higher prices per attendee.
Bringing in an outside instructor can have multiple benefits. Clinics and special events with outside instructors can generate revenue, provide prospective clients an opportunity to see the facility and get to know the staff, and bring good publicity to your equine business.
Inviting instructors from similar disciplines can attract new clients to the facility as well as serve current clients. In the Wellington, Florida, area, Kaitlin Curington manages a hunter/jumper facility and is also the executive assistant to the president at Staffing, Inc. She has found this to be true.
“We can all use a different perspective on something, and all of our horses benefit from good flat work,” she said.
On the flip side, hosting a clinic in a completely different discipline can be equally rewarding. Curington’s facility has even hosted a Western dressage instructor.
“The Western dressage trainer helped us teach our horses how to relax, because by nature our horses don’t do that,” she said.
In either scenario, the key to success is time management and marketing. A clinic with an outside instructor needs to be planned enough in advance to promote the event and encourage participation. It also has to be scheduled with other events or lessons in mind. Depending on the day, it might be worth canceling or rescheduling lessons. Communicating that to clients is key to hosting a successful event.
When Curington sends the boarders' monthly invoices, she includes the specific dates and times of upcoming events. She also includes a reminder that the field and secondary arena are always available for use.
Make sure your insurance carrier is apprised of any events or clinics that you host and that you are covered in that area.