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RIDING LESSON PROGRAMS

"From the Horse's Mouth"

It's the opinion of this writer that lesson programs are absolutely crucial to the future growth of equestrian sports.  Real growth is from the bottom up. Without a steady flow of newcomers to the world of horses, our boarding and training stables, and instructors face declining revenue and lost job opportunities. All related services face the same losses.  It's a fact the foal registrations have declined. How do we "stop the drop"?

Scenario: Child loves horses, begs parents for riding lessons; progress leads to parents buying child first horse; horse and rider now in full training; enters horse show competition; outgrows first horse; gets a new horse;  continues in competition. Lifelong hobby is now established. Or the growth pattern begins with the adult who has always had an interest and now has the time and resources to make a lifelong dream come true!

More riding instruction programs are needed and in more locations. When convenient to the centers of population or major highways more prospects may be attracted to your stable. Your business is competing with a wide variety of options open to our youth that are sponsored by local schools and/or community organizations, i.e. soccer, football, track, field hockey and so on. How you promote your business to attract prospects calls for an effective marketing plan. Advertising in local newspapers, placing flyers on bulletin boards in public places, having an open house, generating a direct mail campaign are all part of the mix. Encourage your clients to refer people to you - provide incentives. Add the necessity of having an internet marketing strategy as part of your plan. Learning how to use social media effectively has become a necessity! All of your advertising will include contact information and point people to your website.

Your website is your online brochure containing all the info your prospects (and your clients) are looking for. And it is available to the multitudes who shop online 24/7/365. Consider this: according to Edelman Digital, every minute there are 2.1 million Google searches and that's just one of the search engines! Studies report that about 80% of consumers shop online before making a buying decision. So use all the tools available to you to market your horse training/boarding/breeding business and please include riding lessons in your plans to expand and grow!

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