Winter Planning Tips for First-Touch Equine Experiences

Winter can be a great time to introduce newcomers to horses, or to meet community leaders and businesses for spring equine outreach.
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Plan or host events to introduce newcomers to horses and your equine facility.

For your stable’s growth and for the future of the equine industry, it’s critical to introduce newcomers to horses. These people are the industry’s future, and stables play a key role in fueling their interest and enthusiasm

Winter can be an ideal time to prepare for or offer first touch experiences with horses that lead to new horse enthusiasts—and clients. The American Horse Council’s Time To Ride initiative is designed to connect American families to horse opportunities in their local areas. 

Julie Broadway, president of the American Horse Council, shares tips for implementing a successful “first touch” experience at your stable.

  • Join the Facebook group Time To Ride Challenge. The page allows stables to share ideas for organizing introductory events.
  • Review the Time To Ride Marketing Toolkit. The free toolkit is a download available to stable owners who create an account at https://www.timetoride.com/grow-business/. The guides provide event planning, marketing and advertising ideas.
  • Plan unmounted activities. Pony painting, stick horse races, and horse-related coloring or activity sheets are one way to engage younger newcomers without putting them in the saddle.

Depending on your location, winter might not be conducive to bringing potential horse enthusiasts to the barn. However, it can be an ideal time to connect with community organizations and plan unique interactions. For example, Broadway recommended interacting with other local businesses and offering a “Meet a Horse” event in the spring at the local farmer’s market, feed store, etc.

“The main thing is to introduce yourself and your stable to other local businesses and community members,” she said.

New customers, especially non-horse people, are not always going to come to you. In many cases you must seek them out. This is what will allow the equine industry to flourish with a new generation of passionate, safe and well-educated horse owners for years to come.