“Time to Ride has given us a sense that there ARE people out there that are interested in riding, and that there is HOPE to grow our business,” Dun-Pikin Farm, Pasadena, Maryland.
Time to Ride is an industry initiative to help stable owners reach out to people who are interested in horses, but who don’t know how to become involved with riding.
In the summer of 2014, Time to Ride ran a contest called the 100 Day Horse Challenge that offered great prizes--and more importantly, marketing support--to horse stables and groups who held events to allow non-horse people to have an experience with a horse.
A survey found that 92% of the 25,000 newcomers who participated in a Time to Ride event said they wanted to participate in more horse activities.
There were about 700 events held from May 31 to Sept. 7 that reached newcomers in 49 states. These events were hosted by stables of all sizes and horse organizations such as Horses4Heroes, whose 300 affiliate stables offer free and affordable riding programs to the military, veterans, first responders and their families.
Since surveys have shown the current owners of horses are an aging population, there was a focus on reaching parents with children to help them discover horses. Many of the stables held events to introduce children to horses and to offer parents information on how to get their children involved with riding.
Some good news for those stables that participated--80% of the newcomers considered returning to the host stable for additional riding.
And The Winners Were…
While the entire horse industry won this summer because of the Time to Ride 100 Day Horse Challenge, the divisional winners received some great cash prizes and products.
16 Acres Equine Educational Complex of Union Grove, Wisconsin, took first-place honors in the Small division. Before the Challenge, “People right down the road didn’t know we were there. We horse people have a tendency to stay in our own little world, but we’ve got to get out,” said owner Jody Halladay. “It’s had an extremely positive impact on my business.” 16 Acres’ free community events resulted in 2,840 new connections and significant growth in their lesson program.
Medium division champion Corvin Performance Horses of Canyon, Texas, won $15,000. Owner Melissa Corvin reported that the biggest reward was “giving people a positive first experience with horses and building their confidence. Kids were thrilled to touch and ride real horses.” Within one week of their largest event, six new people called to sign up for lessons.
Horses4Heroes of Las Vegas, Nevada, won the Large division and $25,000 cash through programs such as “Operation Free Ride,” summer activities and partnerships with community events. President Sydney Knott stated, “It’s hard to believe how many people in this country have never seen or touched a horse, and to be there for the first time is so rewarding.” Their efforts resulted in a first-time horse experience for 2,120 new enthusiasts.
Second through sixth place in each division awarded prize packages valuing an estimated total of $50,000 including: Purina Premium Lifestyle horse feed; Dover Saddlery gift certificates; Platinum Performance Equine Health Supplements; Quest, Quest Plus, Strongid, and Anthelcide from Zoetis; Zimectrin Gold from Merial; Clinton Anderson Walkabout Tour tickets provided by Merck; Farnam Super Masks; merchandise from AAEP, USEF, AQHA; magazine subscriptions from Active Interest Media; and more.
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: American Horse Council, American Association of Equine Practitioners, Active Interest Media, American Quarter Horse Association, Dover Saddlery, Farnam, Merck, Merial, National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, SmartPak, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis.
How You Can Get Involved
Time to Ride will offer the Challenge again in 2015 and is developing a grant-style program this winter for stables offering entry-level events. A marketing toolkit for stables and the beginner e-book, “Ready to Ride,” is free and available for download at www.timetoridechallenge.com. To receive more information on the 2015 Time to Ride Challenge, the grant program, and other initiatives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.