April 14, 2015–The Time to Ride Challenge, offering $100,000 in cash and prizes, has signed up over 400 participants since opening for registration March 1st. Motivated by a desire to grow their businesses while reinvigorating the horse industry, providers have signed on to host beginner-friendly events between May 30-September 30. The top 10 hosts in three divisions that reach the most newcomers will win cash prizes up to $10,000.
As of April 10th, 403 Hosts from 43 states have registered. They represent stables, instructors, camps, dude ranches, therapeutic riding programs, businesses, veterinarians, rescues, and more.
The Challenge encourages Hosts to provide a variety of fun, beginner-friendly horse experiences. In 2014, the most popular activity offered by Hosts was meeting/petting a horse (84%), followed by riding, grooming, and educational activities. Golden Ridge Stables of Lakeville, MN found huge success with their event on National Night Out, “a well known national event held the first Tuesday in August encouraging neighbors to get to know each other. We offered pony rides on our school horses, a hay ride shuttle to and from a nearby neighborhood, hands-on grooming demonstrations, and fun games like learning to rope, egg and spoon on foot, horseshoes and musical hay bales,” reported owner Ann Hoffman. “This event was a big success for us because it increased our visibility in the community and helped us foster good relations with nearby neighborhoods. We have several new housing developments being built near us so we’re trying to capitalize on the building boom by increasing awareness of our lesson program. The goal was to meet new people and we definitely did that!” Hoffman and Golden Ridge Stables were awarded first prize in the “Best Practices” Contest, an additional incentive within the Challenge that rewarded Hosts for sharing their innovative event ideas.
Eighty-one percent of families who attended a 2014 Challenge event were at some point in the process of researching and beginning horse activities, offering a prime opportunity for stables to provide a great first experience and capture new clients. Sixty-eight percent of Hosts saw an immediate positive impact on their business in the form of new contacts and clients, and 94% felt their outreach efforts were well worth the time and effort.
Registration for the Challenge will be open through May 26, 2015. To learn more about the Challenge and other Time to Ride initiatives, please visit www.timetoridechallenge.com or email [email protected].