Whilst reading Jean Halley’s Horse Crazy, there was a reference to
hobby-horsing. Apparently this sport has
built from fantasy horseback riding. It
now appears to be a sport where people ride around on props that are
essentially sticks with a horse head on top.
And these are utilised with riders going over jumps and even carrying
out dressage tests. How unique!
Even more incredible is the fact that a horse business has arisen from this hobby sport. Eponi creates and sells custom made stick horses that sell for 100-300 euros in price. This is equivalent to $160 – $480 Australian dollars. The collection online is incredible! https://eponi.hobbyhorse.fi/#/
I had never heard of
hobby-horsing before reading this non fiction works. And yet, exploring a little online and I am
amazed. I love that a sport can be
created by horse enthusiasts that don’t necessarily have a horse of their own.
And I especially love that from
this, a new horse sport has developed and people are able to establish a horse
business to help cater to this sport.
The equine industry really is exploding in so many areas that I am
amazed at. If you have a passion for
horses and want to make a career out of them, be sure to think outside the
box. Many people have made their passion
much more than a hobby and are living from an income they have earned through a
unique horse business. Incredible stuff.
I recently had an issue with my author email and control panel of my site. I could update my website, but not login to the panel to see if I could problem solve the email account issue. And so I went to my webhost to see if he could fix the problem. He suggested I download TeamViewer so that he could look into the issue for me. And after this experience, I wonder if this free program could be a beneficial tool for someone wanting to manage horse clients that utilise computers.
Once I’d downloaded a copy of
TeamViewer, I was able to give my host a login name and number that correlated
with my particular computer. Over the
internet at the same time, he could then login and access my computer.
I could watch as he edited
settings on the email account that wasn’t working. It wasn’t too long before he’d resolved that
issue and emails were sending and being received. Then he was able to reset the contact details
for the control panel of my site so that I could then receive the email
regarding resetting the password and he left me to it. Easy!
So I got to thinking, why couldn’t
someone utilise the likes of TeamViewer and the internet to carry out tasks for
clients on their computers? Many things
they could do remotely, but others they could do… remotely on their
computer. It may be a handy tool for
those who do computer work for equine businesses. Food for thought.
“He’s of the colour of the nutmeg. And of the heat of the ginger…. he is pure air and fire; and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only in patient stillness while his rider mounts him; he is indeed a horse, and all other jades you may call beasts.” ― William Shakespeare
At work this week I was looking at an education article we referenced for our students. It was put together by Crafty Ponies. Curious, I headed along to the main part of their website to see what it was all about. It turns out Crafty Ponies are plush toys for children! But they are created in a way to educate children about ponies and horse care. Educational soft toys for kids – neat!
I’m all for horse related toys and gadgets, but to find soft
toys that are created to educate children
about horses and horse care really appeals to me. You can find various ponies with their apparel
– saddles, bridles, rugs, etc.
“Crafty Ponies are committed to helping children learn about ponies through Crafty Ponies soft toy ponies and their miniature realistic working toy tack and equipment, on-line videos and cartoon horse and pony lessons.”
It can be nice to get soft toys for children. But perhaps for the youngster who is already showing themselves to be horse crazy, an educational toy is worth considering. I love the idea of the Crafty Ponies Craft Kit. Not only do you get a plush pony and it’s riding accessories, but you also get to make some jumps for the pony. And the coolest bit? The packaging is what gets turned into the jumps. What a great idea!
There are many horse products in the industry that with a little thought can provide more than just the entertainment or the use that that product is designed for. With a little innovation a simple kid’s toy can become a great educational tool, too. What horse product could you provide that works on more than one level?
“But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses.” ― Jane Smiley
Having access to so many different things on the internet means that as an equine entrepreneur, it’s easy to waste time. Although the sites we access may not be bad to utilise, they may not be productive! I recently came across RescueTime and thought I’d check out what it is all about. And it seems to me that it could be of benefit to any horse person that spends time online.
This is a setup that runs in the background on your computer or mobile device. It’s role is to track the time that you spend on applications and websites. In this way, you’re able to see how much of your day is spent in particular online areas. Doing so will highlight any inefficiencies (time wasters) that you can cut back on – or completely cut out! And doing so will then allow you to focus your energies on more productive tasks.
You can also set goals to help you stay focused. Say, you want to spend only 1 hour a day catching up on your horse business emails. An alarm can be set to indicate to you when you’ve hit this timer and so remind you to move onto other tasks.
You can also gain detailed reports from RescueTime. They show you which websites or applications you’re dedicating your time to. You can also receive a weekly summary that highlights what you’ve done online, for how long and where. This can help you to change priorities, set new goals and stay on track for where you should be spending time online relating to your horse business.
There are apparently built in productivity scores that cover thousands of websites and applications. And the categories are customizable to suit your needs. What’s even more appealing to me is that there is a free plan you can utilise.
“I’ve loved horses ever since I was a kid, and from the very first riding lesson I ever took, I was hooked. In college, my love of horses helped me discover my major: Agricultural Communications with a minor in Equine Science. My first job out of college was running the communications department for the world’s largest single breed horse show, the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Now, as the founder of The Printable Pony — a blog and Etsy store dedicated to providing stylish and economical solutions for equestrian enthusiasts — I’m putting my degrees to good use!”
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Currently I spend about 15 hours per week writing blog posts, developing new products and staying up to date with the hunter/jumper industry. Plus, I’m at the barn to ride my horses at least 5 days per week. Being able to have the flexibility to ride is one of the best things about being an entrepreneur!
What is it exactly that you do? The Printable Pony is primarily a blog, where I chronicle my journey as an adult amateur showing on the local A circuit in hunter/jumpers. I also have an Etsy store where I sell printables and stationery to equestrians just like you and me! A typical day includes research and writing blog posts, brainstorming and creating new products, designing graphics and also planning social media content. Plus, I read a lot about the industry as a whole.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I know several bloggers as well as Etsy store owners who do earn a full-time living! Currently, The Printable Pony is in its start-up phase. While it’s growing quickly, it’s not quite profitable enough to provide a full-time income (horses are expensive!). One day, I hope it will though! And as I said above, a lot of the skills I use to run my business today I learned from my degree in Agricultural Communications and minor in Equine Science (which did get me a full-time job doing a lot of what I do now). So I definitely think it’s possible!
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Persistence. Dedication. Creativity. Don’t give up because it’s tough and don’t let failure stop you from continuing to innovate!
Favourite horse memory?
The day I bought my very first horse — he was a 16th birthday gift from my parents and ensured that my love of horses didn’t fade throughout high school, college and beyond. He taught me so many life lessons. My time with my first horse, Visa, turned me into the person I am today!
Keep trying new things to make The Printable Pony a fun, creative space for me, as well as my fellow equestrians. And to enjoy the journey, both in and out of the saddle!
Best thing about your sport/profession?
The amazing people you meet — so many equestrians are hardworking, intelligent and generous. I am so blessed to be among such talented and driven men and women every day!!
I am a part of a group Equestrian Bloggers board on Pinterest and keep an eye on the resources shared. One recently added to the board was provided by the Printable Pony. I thought this sounded like it was worth checking out! And indeed it was.
Do you know those people who just have a knack for – or perhaps an obsession with 😉 – organising things? Well according to the website, the Printable Pony is focused on “connecting, educating and organising equestrian enthusiasts”.
Now I’d go so far as to say that all equine enthusiasts would benefit from this site, not just equestrians.
My favourite section provides resources to simplify the equestrian lifestyle. And if you’re willing to sign up to the Printable Pony newsletter, then you can gain access to the free vault of resources – score!
Tracy Beavers has setup this initiative. She boasts a background in marketing and communications whilst also being an avid horse fan. I truly love that the internet allows people to combine their passions and skills to help others. And if they’re able to make some pocket money on the side, why not do this too?
You can read about Tracy’s horse journey over at her blog and you may also be interested in checking out her products over at Etsy. When it comes to managing horses in your job or lifestyle, being able to utilise products that help you to be more organised and efficient is a good thing, surely!
“Horses change lives. They give out young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls, they give us hope.” ― Toni Robinson
A not for profit organisation was set up in 1983 to benefit Farriers in Western Canada. This is known as the Western Canadian Farriers Association. It states on their website that their main purpose is “to organise farriers for the promotion of excellence in the art and science of farriery.”
I like that the act of trimming and treating horses hooves is seen as both a science and an art! The WCFA is governed by a constitution and by-laws and membership occurs annually.
They further state on the WCFA site:
“The WCFA is not only an association concerned with farriers, but with everyone in the horse industry, aiming to inform the public, and particularly the horse owner, of the quality and standard of farrier service that is available.”
On the front page you can focus on their main points:
Find a farrier
Ask a farrier
Join our membership
The Western Canadian Farriers Association
The site has more to offer than the above including business articles and articles by farriers. You can also find out about the association and membership fees. Knowing about associations like this could benefit you. Especially if you’re running a sole proprietorship or small business as is often the case as a farrier.
You’re able to show you run a quality business offering a great service by being part of a recognised association. You can also stay up to date on the latest news in your industry, promote your services and connect with other farriers in the region.
“A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.” ― H.R.H. Prince Philip
Recently I had to undertake a training day at work to update my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. The resources provided to us were actually designed by someone outside of the local TAFE. These were very generic units that could be utilised across a wide range of courses – anyone who teaches in any industry at tertiary level would need this upgrade that I was doing. (I was the only equine teacher amongst bakers, nurses, health care workers, etc). Of course I got to thinking about educational resources for the equine industry. Or the Equine Training Resources Hub, let’s call it.
This is the place you go for horse related resources that can be utilised by a Registered Training Organisation. You may or may not be aware, but there are horse qualifications relating to instructing horse riding, racing, training racehorses, working as a stable hand and breeding horses. And so there are many horse units that need to be assessed to deem people competent and provide them with a qualification.
The Equine Training Resources Hub
Although the horse qualifications may be different, there will be many that are the same across these qualifications. Consider
occupational health and safety,
handle horses safely and even apply basic communication skills
This is where the educator who knows horses comes in. They can develop resources that match particular units – or even whole qualifications – within the horse industry.
They then provide these resources – learner guides, assessment items and even teacher answers – to RTOs for a one-off fee. If one was wise with this idea, they’d first write resources for the unit/s that span across many different qualifications. This way they have more potential buyers.
They could then go on to write resources for whole qualifications. An RTO may not offer a horse course because they don’t have the resources. If they were able to purchase them, they could then easily seek out a trainer to assess students based on pre-written units. Food for thought.
I truly love stumbling across businesses that focus on a particular skillset and add horses to it! Take the Reins Virtual Solutions is one such example. You may remember Alyssa as the author of Spike. Since releasing this non fiction book about her horse with lordosis, this mother and entrepreneur has set up quite an online presence!
Take the Reins Virtual Solutions focuses on administrative, website and social media assistance to business owners. What makes this business unique, is that it targets equine and agricultural businesses. As it states on the website:
“Take the Reins Virtual Solutions assists equine and agricultural industry business owners with a variety of administrative, website and social media tasks, so they can worry less about the books and get back to doing the work they love.”
Alyssa focuses on exclusively catering to small businesses within the equine and agricultural industries. And if you think about it, there are many of these! Horse riding schools, horse breeders on a smaller scale, those who train and race horses… family farms. The list goes on! How wonderful to be in contact with someone who knows and is skilled in an area that will help your business promote itself.
But what an added bonus that this person is also a horse lover and familiar with the equine industry. This is just another great example of using your skills – and your horse passion – to cater to a particular niche market. What’s to stop you from doing something similar?
Take the Reins Virtual Solutions
What I love about the online setup of Take the Reins Virtual Solutions is that Alyssa offers packages to equine and also agricultural small businesses. They’re set out at a predetermined price and are also able to be used up over a fortnight or a month. They cover a specific number of hours and Alyssa highlights what could be done with those hours for any business.
Support could come in the form of social media assistance,
website setup and maintenance
and of course administrative assistance
Alyssa can also manage email and phones for clients. For those who are unsure how a virtual assistant (VA) could help their business, she also outlines this in points on her front page. This seems to me a really effective and simple site. It outlines what she does as well as how it can help equine and agricultural small business. Brilliant!
I was recently made aware of an article that discussed effective cooling techniques for performance horses. This article by Dr. David Marlin was backed up with images to explain the concept. This was then shared across Facebook to help get the word out. A friend brought it to my attention and highlighted the importance of an online presence. So what’s so important about developing an online presence as a horse business?
Horse people – and indeed horse businesses – need to develop skills and knowledge in the area of an online presence to help promote their product and/or services. If you have an established online presence and following, then it’s easier to share products, ideas and concepts that are important to you as a business or professional in the equine industry.
So what does an online presence look like? It could involve many different aspects:
a website that promotes you and your product and/or service
a Facebook page or group where you can reach people that are interested in what you have to offer and want to know about the things you may choose to share with them
a Twitter account that can have followers who are notified of any updates/tweets you choose to share
a Pinterest account that shares articles and blog posts of interest to your followers
Developing an Online Presence as a Horse Business
At the end of the day, if you have information that you want to share or feel would benefit people who are interested in your products/services then developing an online presences as a horse business is beneficial to you. It means people can choose to ‘follow’ your business and be kept up to date on issues that are important to you. With social media today, it is very easy for people to like and share this information with others.
This has a follow on effect – it makes others aware of you as well as what you can offer and builds up your brand and knowledge within the equine industry. Have you developed an online presence? Even if you don’t have a business, product or service yet, you can be building a presence as a knowledgeable horse person and gaining followers who want to hear from you.