October 1, 2014–As part of the 100 Day Horse Challenge, the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance introduced a “Best Practices” Contest, giving entrants a platform and cash incentives to share creative strategies they used to network with new horse enthusiasts. The top three winning Hosts were selected based on written entries describing their outreach to newcomers this summer. First place was awarded to Golden Ridge Stables of Lakeville, Minnesota, who declared 2014 the “Summer of Outreach.” Their most successful event was on National Night Out. Golden Ridge offered pony rides, a hay ride shuttle for nearby neighborhood, ‘hands on’ grooming demonstrations, and games like learning to rope, egg & spoon on foot, horse shoes and musical hay bales. Over 300 people attended, thanks to Golden Ridge’s successful publicity efforts: they customized a press release template provided by Time to Ride, partnered with the Chamber of Commerce, and used flyers and postcards to invite families in nearby residential neighborhoods. Golden Ridge Stables credited the event with greatly improving their visibility within their local community.
Shepherd Youth Ranch of Raleigh, North Carolina, took home second place honors. Their stand-out event was a collaboration with the local YMCA entitled “A Triple Crown Day,” a father-daughter event combining horse racing with a princess theme. “Princess” participants learned about the history of horse racing, horse care and grooming, and created custom “silks” with spray paint and t-shirts. Shepherd Youth Ranch used the printable posters provided by Time to Ride to publicize the event. Ashley Boswell, President and Founder of Shepherd Youth Ranch, stated: “This group has already scheduled to return for another event and also to attend a large event we have open to the public in October!”
Winning third place was Jericho Creek Farm II, of Eagle, Wisconsin. They partnered with the local library and veterinary clinic to celebrate the “Year of the Horse!” The three-step educational series taught participants about horse safety, equipment, and grooming; followed by hands-on practice handling and grooming horses; and culminated in a tour of the veterinary clinic and surgery facility. A partnership with the local library and veterinary clinic was key to their success, as were newspaper ads, social media promotion, and help from the Time to Ride Marketing Toolkit.
Time to Ride and the American Horse Council’s Marketing Alliance congratulates these horse industry professionals for their innovation, and commends all 100 Day Horse Challenge Hosts. The Best Practices Contest yielded dozens of creative and effective strategies to network, increase business, and reinvigorate the horse industry, which will be shared in future Time to Ride materials. Interested horse industry professionals are invited to email [email protected] to be included in future communications.
100 Day Horse Challenge winners will be announced Wednesday, October 1 on the Time to Ride Facebook page. For more information on Time to Ride and the 100 Day Horse Challenge, please visit www.timetoride.com.
About “Time to Ride”
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 Alliance Members: the American Horse Council, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Active Interest Media, the American Quarter Horse Association, Dover Saddlery, Farnam, Merck, Merial, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Platinum Performance, SmartPak, United States Equestrian Federation, and Zoetis; with support from Program Partners: the National Reining Horse Association, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, and Morris Media Network Equine Group.
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.