Each year, January 1st brings the same renewed focus on New Year resolutions, such as losing holiday ‘indulgence’ weight and developing a healthier regime. Since there are many, many healthier habits that come with an equestrian lifestyle, you could be missing out on new customers if you’re not including those messages in your marketing outreach.
If you’ve grown up with horses, you already know that interaction with them can have positive effects in areas such as leadership, communication, fitness, responsibility, and commitment. But for the increasing numbers of suburban and urban dwellers who aren’t lucky enough to have that horse exposure early, they don’t realize the benefits of riding and horse ownership. It’s up to our industry to show them.
One area that’s a ‘no-brainer’ this time of year involves fitness. Several articles from Gizmag.com show ‘horseback riding machines’ that were introduced in the Japanese and American markets; these machines build the all-important ‘core’ muscles, and Japanese studies showed that users increased their metabolic rate after only three months of regular use. They’re also low-impact, and the articles report they’re well-suited for those with pulmonary, diabetic, and cardiac limitations.
Now I’m not saying that you should take a cardiac patient and throw them up on a horse for a romp around the arena, but horse businesses can use this type of information in their own marketing and promotion efforts:
- Look at the studies on this type of exercise, and include some of the relevant data points in your own communications about healthier lifestyles.
- Include links to articles about these types of machines, and their fitness benefits, at your Web site.
- Ask your current customers for quotes about their own fitness habits and how riding helps them stay fit, to use in promotions.
- Offer to work with new customers (and their physicians!) to develop a fitness and/or weight loss program.
- And, include information about how much more FUN a live horse can be!
These approaches can work for lesson stables and horse farms, but if you’re a tack & feed business, you might want to look into carrying these kinds of machines (which are now even available through Target.com!) in your inventory. They could help the ‘occasional’ rider to improve fitness and get more out of their ‘live’ rides, or even to help riders come back to riding after a physical setback.
The New Year ‘fitness train’ rolls around at the same time each year; it’s because folks have fitness needs and wants that surface during the next few months. It’s a perfect opportunity to get into the media and into the minds of potential customers, and show them the fitness and lifestyle benefits that go along with riding horses.