52 Fridays – #49 Innovate Or Die? Why Horsebiz Change Is Natural, And Needed


52 Fridays is a year-long series for equestrian professionals and equine business owners and managers, with marketing and public relations information, ideas, tips, & resources shared here each Friday throughout 2011.

Image courtesy NASA

A recent show I saw on the Science Channel made an interesting point about ‘survival innovations’ by the human race in the face of Earth’s natural (and sometimes sudden) cycles of climate change. These conceived adaptations have been in response to externally imposed circumstances, but have given us the world we know today, including agriculture, science, art, and all the conveniences of modern life.

I think we forget that the horse world is also one subject to change and innovation. Many say ‘we have to use this tack/gear/hat/clothing because it’s always been that way.’ But really, it hasn’t. So when it comes to horsebiz, doesn’t it make sense to embrace change in response to changes in the world around us, rather than resist it? For some examples of the good that can come from embracing change, here are some equestrian adaptations that weren’t in existence even a few years ago.

  • Horse Radio Network logo http://www.horseradionetwork.com/The Horse Radio Network has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years, and they now have nine different shows, including one launched just this year. Equestrian Legends captures the thoughts of women and men who have shaped equestrian activities and sport, from various disciplines within the horse world. I love this idea, capturing and documenting the wisdom and history of how our industry has evolved while these folks are still around. I’ve done the same with feature articles I’ve written, but the innovation here is using the podcast format to record the voices of these leaders. Great job, HRN!
  • Brittany Bevis, a young American Paint Horse competitor who has achieved both World and Reserve World Championships, has put her horse knowledge, writing skills, and technology to good use in her latest project. Bevis has written a children’s book titled ‘Two Foals, a Dash of Sprinkles and a Cherry on Top!‘ – it’s the story of how Paint horses got their spots. I’ve interviewed her for an upcoming article, but the innovation here is that not only is the book available in hardback and paperback, it’s also available in 20 different e-book formats, including Nook and Kindle. It’s a cute story, with adorable pictures; I was able to see a preview version before the November launch. With e-reader sales on the rise and e-publishing as an increasing trend, this is a smart use of technology to revolutionize bedtime storytelling and car-ride activities.
  • Martha Thompson-Hoyt and I partnered on a presentation titled Why The Mid-Life Woman Should Be Your Target Market: How To Find Her, How To Keep Her at the Chicagoland Equestrian Lifestyle Expo & Holiday Market; Thompson-Hoyt brought some excellent real-world examples of innovations she’s implemented at her Palos Hills Riding Stables and New Traditions Riding Academy, LLC. One of those innovations was the introduction of a driving program to address the desire of some of her mid-life students to continue having lessons and hands-on horse experiences even though they could no longer physically ride. But Thompson-Hoyt got an unexpected bonus from adding that new program…she found that her younger students were just as enthusiastic about learning how to drive! With many Baby Boomer equestrians wanting to continue their activities with horses despite physical ailments, we could be at the beginning of a renaissance in driving, with a resulting increase in harness, vehicles, and trained-to-drive horses as a possible future horsebiz and economic trend.

Tough financial times have been the catalyst for many recent horsebiz adaptations and innovations; I saw some great new ideas at the August AETA (American Equestrian Trade Association) tradeshow, and also at the Equestrian Lifestyle Expo in November. People are developing and launching new products in spite of the challenge in getting bank funding, at least partially through leveraging the power of the Internet and social media as part of their marketing strategy.

Humans have innovated throughout history in response to challenging times. In a potentially ‘innovate or die’ horsebiz environment, it’s time to put on the old thinking cap and dream of what might be, then translate that into step-by-step plans and real-life results.

What horsebiz innovations have you discovered recently? Use the Comments link below to share your thoughts, and if you liked this article, you can easily tell others about it via Facebook, Twitter, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, and even by email with the Share button belo. Pssst, pass it along, and see you here next Friday for 52 Fridays #50!

Read other posts by clicking on the Sort Posts By Topic dropdown menu to the right and selecting a category, or you can select 52 Fridays to read posts #1 through #48.

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This article and the site contents are copyright Lisa Kemp and Kemp Equine, all rights reserved. Brands and trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. Content may be linked to from your site or social media, but not copied, in whole or in part, without prior permission. It’s also good karma, and good ethics, to give source credit. Thanks.

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Filed under 52 Fridays, Equine Industry Marketing, horsebiz

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