Creative equine pros are bringing newcomers to the horse industry

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Time to Ride
Photo by Virginia State Parks on Flickr/CC BY 2.0

From Time to Ride

Time to Ride’s largest program, the Challenge, provides equine professionals throughout the country with the opportunity to compete by sharing their love of horses with new people. In the fourth year of the Challenge, event hosts are showing serious commitment to the growth of the equine industry. Close to 1,000 creative and beginner-friendly events planned nationwide are providing new people with opportunities to engage with horses for the first time.

Because the Challenge occurs in the summer, hosts take advantage of peak time to introduce families to new extracurricular activities. The summer proves to give moms and dads the time and flexibility to seek out new or additional after school activities for kids, and with free events occurring throughout the country, it’s a win-win for everyone. Kids that interact with horses tend to have greater social skills, increased confidence, and a greater sense of responsibility. Beginner-friendly events give parents a chance to witness these benefits.

Veterinarians are valuable participants in the Challenge who can offer perspective on horse health and care needs. For example, Dr. Tracy Colvin and her team of veterinarians at the Southwest Texas Veterinary Medical Clinic are providing unique opportunities for newcomers in the Challenge this year.

“It was really fun to get a chance to reach out to the non-horse owning public because they have a serious interest in learning more about horses,” Dr. Colvin says of the clinic’s recent public events. “This time they had the unique opportunity to ultrasound the horse heart!”

Veterinarians can also be an excellent resource for families with their contacts to many stables, instructors and other horse professionals in their communities.

This year, the Challenge includes a new attribute that is already bringing new enthusiasts back to a riding stable for more. Phase II of the Challenge rewards hosts for providing a longer and more personalized horse experience for participants. Hosts advertise their events on marketing platforms such as the radio, social media, and print media. At the end of the newcomer’s introductory experience, they receive a coupon for a discounted follow-up opportunity, such as a lesson or trail ride. From there, newcomers can sign up for another lesson or even a package of lessons.

The objective of these follow-up experiences is to encourage newcomers to become regularly involved with horses, through riding or other activities; and incentivize professionals to develop long-term relationships with new clients joining the equestrian community.

“Every year we see more and more new people come out to meet these host’s horses and to learn more about them,” says Christie Schulte, program Marketing Manager. “The demand is there and people want to ride horses, but they may not know where to find them. The Challenge is providing a rewarding platform for these grassroots professionals to show people where and how they can get involved with horses.” Since 2014, the Challenge alone has introduced over 100,000 new people to the benefits of horses. These newcomers are becoming the next generation of riders, owners, members, clients, and participants in the horse industry.

Phase I of the Challenge ends August 31, and The Challenge runs through September 30th, and registration is free and open throughout. Please visit www.timetoride.com or contact info@timetoride.com for more information.

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