Time to Ride congratulates the winners of its 2017 Best Practices Contest, a written-entry contest that rewards Challenge contestants for their innovative and effective outreach strategies.
First place winner is Blue Heron Riding Academy in Chandler, Indiana; in second place is Rusty Bar Ranch of Roy, Washington; in third place is Suncoast Stables and Riding Academy in Odessa, Florida; and in fourth place is Nova Quarter Horses in Mokena, Illinois.
The contest judged entries on creativity and innovation; effectiveness at reaching new horse enthusiasts; quality of newcomer horse experience; and efforts made to reach beginners.
Jill Ingram with Blue Heron Riding Academy worked hard on creating interactive and relevant advertising for her barn. “We ran Facebook ads and targeted our local area and parents with kids that are the ages we would like for our programs. We also built up lots of intrigue and interest by posting sneak-peeks and teasers on our Facebook page.” This hard work led to a television feature on two news stations about their events and riding programs. For her outstanding marketing strategies, Jill won $400 cash in the Best Practices Contest.
Second place entry Rusty Bar Ranch of Roy, Washington, brought their horseback rides to a different, but relevant event: an RV and motorhome show! Kathy’s approach to marketing this event revolved around connecting a relevant audience with horses. Although this was a new and different experience for Kathy and her crew, she said: “This gave us the opportunity to meet people completely outside of the horse world who were looking for different experiences,” which is exactly what the Challenge is all about! Her exciting RV adventure rewarded her $300 cash.
In third place is Krystle Lee with Suncoast Stables in Odessa, Florida. Krystle is a great example of intentional relationship building and marketing and how that can produce successful events. The Suncoast team personally invited two local daycares to participate in a half day of learning about horses, grooming and riding. It turns out that was the value the parents and teachers were looking to add to their kids’ education! Krystle said: “This wasn’t just an event that we posted about on Facebook or through word of mouth. We contacted these daycares to give these kids an experience they may have never had before and may not have had ever if we didn’t put this together. Most of these daycares do have a few field trips during the summer and we wanted to be a part of that.” Suncoast Stables’s prize in the contest is $200 cash.
The fourth place spot is occupied by Tiffany Ossowski from Nova Quarter Horses in Mokena, Illinois, for hosting an event at a ‘cool’ location…literally. Nova took their equines to a location that moms and kids frequent, particularly during the hot summer months of the Challenge: an ice cream parlor! Tiffany says: “We believe teaming up with our business neighbor, The Creamery, made our event unique as well as successful. Everyone loved the horses and ice cream combination. We planned to stay for two hours, but because our line was still strong near the end, we extended an additional hour. One little girl stayed the entire time. She would ride and get back in line with her ice cream and wait to ride again. Nova gained many new friends that day and we established a great new business relationship. After a successful day of sharing the large crowd of customers, The Creamery agreed to do this on an annual basis and are now advertising our upcoming events in their store window.” Nova’s ingenuity helped cultivate meaningful business relationships as well as new customers. Their efforts won them $100 in cash in the Best Practices contest.
Event ideas, promotion tips and successful outreach strategies from the Best Practices Contest will be shared with future Challenge Hosts in the marketing toolkit that is provided to all registrants. The Challenge continues to encourage and incentivize hosts to try creative marketing strategies that effectively welcome brand-new enthusiasts to horses while growing their own businesses. For more information, please visit www.timetoride.com or www.facebook.com/timetoridehorse.
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, the American Horse Council, Boehringer Ingelheim, Farnam, Merck, Morris Media Network Equine Group, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, The Right Horse, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis. Program Partners are Absorbine, the American Paint Horse Association, ASPCA, Equibrand, the National Reining Horse Association, Lumina Media, the America’s Mustang Campaign, and Colorado State University Equine Sciences Program.
About the American Horse Council
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.