Horse industry professionals have less than a week remaining to sign up for the Time to Ride Challenge, a grassroots competition to grow the horse industry by making horses more accessible to families nationwide. May 26 is the registration deadline for stables, clubs, and businesses interested in competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes while gaining new clients and reinvigorating the horse industry. Registration is free at www.timetoride.com.
In 2014, the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance launched the Time to Ride “100 Day Horse Challenge,” which provided over 25,000 “newcomers” with a fun, first-time horse experience. The 2015 Challenge promises added cash prizes, with payouts to 10 places in three divisions, and hopes to double that number this year. Over 775 “Hosts” have signed up since March 1.
“The Marketing Alliance is excited and hopeful about Time to Ride’s potential to introduce thousands of new people to horses this year,” stated Patti Colbert, Time to Ride marketing manager. “We’re building a community of 'Hosts' who are committed to providing fun, beginner-friendly horse experiences across the country, and welcoming the next generation of horse riders and owners to our industry.”
In 2014, Hosts offered a variety of fun entry-level events including free rides, demonstrations, “pony painting” parties, crafts and free rides. According to survey data, the majority of newcomers attending these Challenge events had interacted with horses three or fewer times in the past three years, making them perfect candidates for an introductory horse experience. Sixty-three percent of parents who attended an event said they were either interested or actively seeking horseback riding for themselves; 71% reported they were interested or actively seeking horse activities for their kids or family.
Last year’s Small Division champion, Jody Halladay of 16 Acres Equine Educational Complex in Union Grove, Wisconsin, had this to say about her experience with Time to Ride: “I can’t tell you how much last year’s Challenge has grown this business. I am so busy I almost can’t think straight. I’ve had new adults buy horses and learn how to partner with them so they can enjoy them, and my apprentice is completely booked with beginner lessons. I now have adults, who were newcomers last year, helping plan this year’s Challenge. Some have gone into helping [local rescue] Namaste Equine Rescue. This concept is working for me. Horses are making a comeback into the lives of all who have a passion to be around horses."
Stables, instructors, veterinarians, businesses, clubs, retailers, groups, and all other horse industry providers are invited to sign up for the Challenge by Tuesday, May 26, at www.timetoride.com. The Challenge will take place May 30-September 30.
The American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance
Time to Ride is an initiative of the American Horse Council’s marketing alliance, formed to connect people with horses. It is designed to encourage horse-interested consumers to enjoy the benefits of horse activities. The AHC marketing alliance is made up of the following organizations: the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Active Interest Media, the American Quarter Horse Association, Dover Saddlery, Farnam, Merck, Merial, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, SmartPak, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis. Program Partners are Absorbine, the American Paint Horse Association, Morris Media Network Equine Group, the National Cutting Horse Association, the National Reining Horse Association, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, and the Texas A&M University Equine Initiative.
The American Horse Council is a non-profit organization that includes all segments of the horse industry. While its primary mission is to represent the industry before Congress and the federal regulatory agencies in Washington, DC, it also undertakes national initiatives for the horse industry. Time to Ride, the AHC’s marketing alliance to connect horses and people, is such an effort. The American Horse Council hopes that Time to Ride will encourage people and businesses to participate in the industry, enjoy our horses, and support our equine activities and events. The AHC believes a healthy horse industry contributes to the health of Americans and America in many ways.