Monday, 12 November 2012

Blogging for your equestrian business

If you're really serious about starting a blog to help promote your equestrian business take a look at:

ProBlogger who have a whole section on blogging tips for beginners 

You might also want to check out Viper Chill   and Dear Blogger 



Sunday, 14 October 2012

Motivational Monday - The secret - Eileen Caddy


The secret of making something work in your lives is first of all, the deep desire to make it work, then the faith and belief that it can work, then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness and see it working out step by step, without one thought of doubt or disbelief. ~ Eileen Caddy

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Your website and marketing

Here I'm re-blogging (with permission) an article written by Sean D'Souza, it's good, read it.

Is your website Asleep?

Need To Create A Website That's Dynamite?

Websites are a waste of money and time. Well most of them are. Most people go online for just one reason-- Get Information. Yet, what do you see at most websites?
Portfolio!
See the problem? If you stop and think, this is not a website problem. It’s a communication problem, which is why most advertising fails. The customer wants information and help and most communication fails to do that.
They load you with portfolio and with information about the company. It’s all about me, me, me. This primary reason causes more than 90% of all websites to be inefficient, useless and a waste of time.
It is also the prime reason why not many people make money off their website. If you start talking about YOU, no one is interested. To give out credible, useful information is the prime function of every communication piece. If almost everything on your website doesn’t answer the question What’s in it for me?, it's definitely not worth the time of the customer.

What A Good Websites Does

1)It gives information, and builds credibility.
2)It builds the brand and allows you to earn off the brand.
3)It builds customer loyalty.
4)It allows customers to use it as a suggestion box. It’s not a perfect world and customers should be encouraged to let you know what can be fixed.
5)It should achieve basic marketing principles. It should be solving a problem and aimed at a specific target audience.
6)It should generate its own income like any profit centre. It should justify its reason for existing.

How To Create A Near Perfect Website

Consider these factors as important benchmarks for creating a website. If your website doesn't do these things, you have to question, why not?
1)Revenue Generation
2)Data Collection
3)Information Source
4)Feedback and Complaints
5)Distribution
6)Reconstruction
7)Fan Club
8)Associated Tools
9)Meet the Basics of Communication

Show Me The Buckeroos!

While it's all very fine to be a charitable institution, a website costs money. Which person or organization in their right sense would spend US$50 for no return? There would be questions to answer and heads would roll.
Yet, most organizations do just that. They spend anywhere from US$2,000 to US$50,000 on a website that will not generate any return.
We are not talking about straightforward e-commerce here. We are talking about a bigger brand issue and how you can use the brand to achieve the financial goals of the organization. The watchword should always be--Show me the money!
Yes, even schools, hospitals and other organizations can use their websites to make money, and then use the money for a good cause. Charity and good causes are all very fine, but everything costs money. If you can generate revenue, there is no reason on earth why you shouldn’t be doing so.

When You're A Guru, Everyone Listens

It's not what you say, it’s how you say it. Website design is not about design, it’s about thought process. Websites are but a tool to get information that builds the brand further. Articles and material that help the person browsing the site can achieve this.
Information isn’t about getting across what you want them to hear. It’s about asking them what they would like to have. This is endless. The customers' needs keep changing and you must be able to have information that can excite and educate them. This also keeps the other audiences active.

Who Are Your Audiences?

A website imparting information appeals to two simultaneous audiences. It speaks to your current audience like a newsletter or brochure would and it also speaks to a potential audience.
While you are specifically targeting current clients, there is no reason why the information doesn’t impart knowledge to future clients, even potential employees.
There are a zillion bozos out there who are simply selling goods and services and not helping the customer in any way. If you help them and keep in touch with them, when the need arises, you will be first in line.

Clawing Your Way To The Top

This is also a good system to use when you want to capture business from competition. You don’t always have to be #1 with your client. If you don’t have the business, keep plugging at your #2 position and someday #1 will stumble. When that happens, you get an opportunity to move in. Don’t always look at everything as a sale situation. People have innate fears about change. Imparting good information marks you out as a credible, trustworthy source and their desire to work with you will go up as you keep giving them nuggets of useful information.

If You Don’t Do This, Drown Yourself

This is one of the most important and inexpensive tools to corner your target audience. If a person feels the connection and you lead them through the right steps, they will invariably feel the need to get more information.

If you aren’t collecting e-mail addresses off your website, then you’re missing out on the few people (or many as the case may be) that are really interested in your product or service.

How To Get The Data Off Your Customers

The only way to get them to part with their e-mail address is to first establish your credibility and then offer something in return. However, once you have their e-mail address and their permission, you can turn your website into a wonderful marketing machine as long as you don’t overdo it. People get tons of e-mail everyday and the junk goes out very quickly. The more useful your information is, the more chances you have of getting visitors to sign up. You can then use that information to market to that audience selectively. So make sure you're collecting data or your website's true potential becomes pretty dodgy.

Is Your Website Built For Complaints?

You build a car with all the features. You paint it black. The customer wants it red. You try to sell the black car and face resistance. You call the customer stupid and go on trying to promote your black car.
We all do this. We decide that’s what we need to promote. The customer on the other hand would like something else that fulfils their needs. We never stop to ask. Ever!
Every section of your website should have the ability to handle feedback that can then be incorporated within your website and other communication to give the customers what they need.
Feedback also allows you to stay ahead of your competition big time! Once the customers trust you and see changes in the website, they will be encouraged to give more important feedback that could change not just the website but even the working of the organization. Perception is everything, and you need to know at all times what the outside world perceives your organization to be. Once you have that data, it allows you to go ahead and make the changes you need.

Is Your Website Sitting In A Box?

How are you going to promote your website? While most websites rely on getting to the top of the search engines, you may not have that need. You may have a very specific targeted audience you want to reach. That audience would never search for your website online. They would have to know it, or never find it at all.
Companies print brochures and then make sure they go out. They build websites and it sits in the box undistributed. They hope, and this is a big hope, that someone will visit. It doesn’t happen. You have to figure out the distribution process as well, so that your website goes out to your target audience.

If It's Worth Building, It's Worth Renovating

Most organizations make changes to their business to keep competitive. Yet, they think nothing of keeping the website stagnant for 50+ years. (Ok, I’m exaggerating, but on the web 1 year= 10 normal years)
Expect change to be inevitable. The website should be constructed so that it's easily changeable and updateable. It should also not require a degree in rocket science. You should be able to update it while you’re sitting at a cyber cafe in the Bahamas while sipping your Caribbean Punch!
Understand that it’s inevitable and, like all marketing tools, this tool should be reviewed at least every 6-12 months and changed or reconstructed to meet current customer demands.

Are You Signing Autographs Yet?

Most organizations survive on their fan club. People who love you so much, that they’re willing to talk about you to everyone in sight. Many organizations have clients that are well spread out.
The website can be used to keep that Fan Club together. It should be used as a networking tool as well. Most organizations ignore this fact.
If I love eating Indian curries, everyone else in that Indian curry section can be linked up to do business with each other. If they love your company or organization, they will reinforce each other about how great it is, plus they will do business with each other.
The more successful they get, the more it rubs off the organization and eventually, the more business you get to do with them because of their success.

Looking Beyond A Website

Too many people are taken up with the glamour of websites. Websites are just a fa├žade. You must understand the technology that drives business.
Do you have autoresponders? How do you use email? How do you track customers? How can you communicate with customers? How can you make sure your best customers keep coming back? All of these tools have nothing to do with the website itself. However, they need to be thought through every step of the way.

It's The Psychology, Stupid!

If you want to build a website, or do a brochure or have any form of communication, understand the basics of psychology. We are all driven by similar needs and wants.
A Website Shouldn’t Be Deadline Driven. It Should Be Need Driven
What’s the point of having an absolutely stunning website before deadline if it doesn’t do anything for the person viewing it. Too many people in organizations are caught up in their own ego of having a website up. It’s often not worth it.

Websites Aren’t For The Organization. They Are For The Customer

Websites are a marketing tool. Use the principles of marketing to build and promote them. That of course, means having a target audience. Having a problem you can solve. Flag off that problem and then provide a solution.
Yahoo might be the wonder of yesterday but Google.com is the one that gets the most converts. Yahoo is trying to be everything to everyone, Google isn’t. Don’t get lost in the hype of technology because everything on this planet is based on psychology and emotion.
Most websites have no objectives at all. They have no target audience. They are created because it’s fashionable to do so.
Dump the fashion. Understand the basics of internet marketing and communication. And if you don’t understand the basics, get someone who can! Otherwise you’re doing what a zillion websites across the world do-
Nothing!

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Article written by Sean D'Souza.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Your horse business needs a platform

What's a "platform"?

Very simply, a platform is the thing you have to stand on to get heard. It’s your stage. But unlike a stage in the theater, today’s platform is built of people. Contacts. Connections. Followers. - Michael Hyatt  Platform - How to get noticed in a noisy world

So if "today's platform is built of people. Contacts. Connections. Followers." how are you going to establish a platform for your equine / equestrian business? 

Answer : Through the internet.
Through Blogging, social media and an email list.

Lets take a quick look at these three key ways to establish a platform for your horse business.

Blogging
Blogging is a great way to establish an online presence, grow an audience and establish yourself as an authority in the horse world. They can be linked to websites or be your own websites. You can start a blog for free with Blogger or Wordpress or you can pay for a blogging platform with eg. Typepad. It's a good idea to buy a domain name so that your blog’s address can be yourname.com rather than yourname.blogger.com.

Social Media
There are loads of different social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ to name some of the most popular, you can't possibly be on all of them and run a horse business so chose one or two social networks that you think will work for you and put some work into them, don't try and stretch yourself too thin.

Email list
An email list will enable you to contact your customers directly with special offers etc but if you take the time to email a monthly newsletter you'll be able to offer so much more to your clients, eg. tips and advice you could also include links to some of your blog posts.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Effective Marketing on Facebook - 7 Tips

Are you using Facebook to market your equine or equestrian business?
If so, or if you're thinking about it, take a look at his article : Effective B2B Marketing on Facebook by Naomi Ruth Ganhinhin. Don't worry about the B2B (business to business) bit in the title it has lots of tips to offer anyone hoping to get business via their FB such as:

Completing all available fields
Uploading a cover photo
Highlight important posts
Feature company milestone
Keep it short and sweet
Balance your content
Consult Insights

Pop over and take a look for yourself you'll find some interesting tips and all for free.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Motivational Monday - Character

Character is doing the right thing when nobody is looking - J.C.Watts

Friday, 28 September 2012

Pinterest for your equestrian business

The top social networking sites are as follows:
Facebook (7 billion), Twitter (182 million), Pinterest (104 million), and LinkedIn (86 million).

Here are a few facts about Pinterest:
 50% of Pinterest users have children
 Almost 70% of Pinterest users are female
 Pinterest receives almost 1.5 million visitors each day
 Pinterest provides more referral traffic to other sites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined

Looks like Pinterest might be the new place to be to promote your equine / equestrian business, what do you think could it work for yours?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Motivational Monday - Nothing is Impossible

Nothing is Impossible
The Word Itself Says
I'M POSSIBLE

BHS Riding Instructors Survey - How Riding Instructors Market Themselves

The British Horse Society is carrying out market research to understand more about how Riding Instructors currently market themselves.
To participate in the survey please go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Riding_Instructors
The findings from this survey will be announced at a conference on 3 October 2012 entitled 'Marketing yourself and your business'. The conference, organised by The Association of Fellows and Instructors, is supported by The British Horse Society and will be held at the BHS headquarters in Warwickshire. At the conference a range of marketing and social media experts will speak to delegates to help them get the most from their business.

For full details and how to apply please click here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

How to Launch Your Business into Succcess

Jeff Walker talks about launching your business / product in 5 straightforward steps here and tells us his 16 rules for internet success here go take a look it might give you some good ideas.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Equine Industry facts

  • Over £4 billion is spent on equestrianism every year
  • 720,000 people own horses in the UK
  • Over half of equine businesses employ less than 5 members of staff
  • It costs as much to buy a horse as it does to keep it for a year
  • The industry is dominated by women - about 70% of total employment
  • In 2008, over 341,700 people participated in equestrianism every week
  • Source: Lantra
  • Sunday, 9 September 2012

    Motivational Monday - You are never too old

    "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" - C.S.Lewis

    5 Ways to help you get noticed and advance in your horse career

    1. Be Charming

    It may be mistakenly identified with pleasing personality or be confused with it. But what divides the pleasing from the charming is that the latter is able to win the person’s heart by gaining his confidence and unknowingly open up more.
    Apart from keeping an appealing physical appearance, you need to learn how to make a conversation and consciously lead the person to open up. A charming person usually is able to do this within 10 minutes and as such win a lot of friends.
    In the professional sense, try to practice this by preparing for it with a topic to discuss, finding out more about the person you are going to talk to and rehearsing your tone of voice.

    2.Invest in Relationships

    Someone who is willing to go an extra mile to give or provide a good service is someone who is willing to develop a relationship. This is a general concept in account management or in winning a girl’s heart. However, we usually take this for granted in our day-to-day interaction.
    By extra mile, we refer to being able to open up yourself – this time- and sometimes to the point of vulnerability. In short, it can be giving away something not necessarily intangible.
    Try doing this consciously among your colleagues at work. Stop by and spend a few moments to talk to those involved in your projects. Tension breaks out if people have developed some relationship and allowed some relaxed non-work discussions

    3. Be Warm

    Come across as someone who genuinely cares by showing your concern for people.
    Ask how people are doing with their work once in a while or how they are coping with some recent pressure or load of work. Remember birthdays, names of your colleagues’ wife or kid, and other personal details. Without being too invasive, get interested in someone’s personal life to some extent.
    Be interested with people.

    4. Have Strong Ambitions

    Dreaming big is not a problem. Expressing these visions matter too. If it has been executed and made successful, it also has to be known and appreciated.
    Tell your boss even your mini-visions and your successes as well. We would tend to avoid being a ‘show’ in our work environment. However, it is inevitable that we need to let people know who we are and what good we do. This is because there are people who are only good for show-offs and they will get ahead of you. Nobody wants people getting up in the ranks who do not deserve it.
    Show your low hanging fruits in regular meetings but let it appear like reporting what happened. Talk about your plans for your work or team that are promising

    5. Have a ‘can do’ attitude.

    It’s not about always saying yes. It’s about showing your openness to new challenges and showing interest on both the pros and cons of these issues.
    Show a positive outlook without losing realism. Given a difficult assignment that is almost impossible, say what you think can be done and cannot be done without closing the doors. Say that you will investigate further instead of saying “I don’t know the answer” .

    Great tips taken from a blog post written by Rob Leonardo for Pick the Brain

    Friday, 7 September 2012

    Dubarry and a lesson in selling

    So last weekend at the Burghley Horse Trials Dubarry 's stand was heaving with customers and Dubarry sales people handing out champagne. At £299 a pair of boots they will have taken thousands and thousands of £££'s.
    BUT
    watching one particular sale Dubarry missed out on extra sales simply by not offering care products for their boots. It wouldn't even have been difficult for the sales person as the gentleman concerned actually asked how he should care for his new purchase. He was told to use saddle soap. Now that's great, equestrians usually have loads of saddle soap
    BUT
    Dubarry have loads of leather care products
    Leather Cream £12
    Footwear Cleaner £8
    Footwear Conditioner £8
    Nubeuck Protector £8
    Footwear Care Trial Pack £10
    Replace-a-lace kit £10
    just what was the sales person thinking when he was given the golden opportunity to increase the value of his sale?
    In all honesty he shouldn't have to have been asked about care he should have told his customer and suggested products without prompting.
    Now there is a lesson to be learned here by all you folk out there with equestrian businesses, maximise your sales!



    Who is a "horse professional" some stats

    Interesting statistics here  presented by Stable Management Magazine in their  to 2012 $alary $urvey:

    70% say less than 25% of their yearly earnings come from their eqquine business
    64% say average yearly income of their entire equine business is under $50,000
    59% claim eqquine business as secondary income
    53% consider themselves underpaid
    30% say the economy has NOT affected their revenue in the past year

     also...

     59% are college educated
    58% are age 40 to 60 years old
    58% call boarding/lessons their biggest profit center
    52% have worked for or owned an equine business 5-20 years
    52% say hay/feed is their biggest expense
    42% charge flat board rates of $250 to $500/month
    18% tie between 'primary disciplines' dressage, hunter/jumpers (Natural Horsemanship most cited 'other,' 22.5%)

    Tuesday, 4 September 2012

    Free Local Business Listing at Google Places for equestrian / equine/ horse businesses

    If you're in business you want to take advantage of as much free advertising as you can get so make sure that you have a listing in Google Places, a free local business listing.

    Being on Google Places helps people find, share, rate, and recommend your business to their friends, and people across the web. Places for Business lets you see what people are saying, and respond to customer reviews.

    With 97% of consumers searching for local businesses online make sure you're on Google Places when they're looking.

    Thursday, 30 August 2012

    What is equine business marketing?

    Very simple answer: equine business marketing is whatever you do that makes people want to buy your goods or services

    or far more complicated answer:

     The mangement process by which goods and sevices move from concept to the customer comprising of identification and selection of product, determination of price, selection of distribution channel and development of a promotional strategy.

    No wonder some people think marketing is hard!

    If you talk to people about your business, the goods or services that you have to offer you are marketing.
    If you have a website or blog you are marketing.
    If you hand out a business card you are marketing.
    If you anwer a phone or email enquiry you are marketing.

    Marketing doesn't have to be complicated, it doesn't have to cost a fortune and it doesn't have to be scary. Over the coming months I'll be posting lots of marketing tips so do follow this blog to be sure to find them.

    Wednesday, 29 August 2012

    Horse quote - When you work with horses

    "When you work with horses for a living, somethimes you THINK about taking a day off but usually, that's as close as you get."

    Tuesday, 28 August 2012

    The importance of Business Cards for the Equestrian Business

    Never, ever under estimate the importance of business cards for your horse business (or indeed any other business) your business card is a physical reminder of your presense, the ONLY physical reminder of your presense, after an event, be it a riding lesson or a trade show.

    Choose the best quality you can afford.

    Take your business cards everywhere, yes even to the supermarket, you never know when the opportunity to pass on your business contact details is going to arise.

    Image: businesscards123



    Monday, 27 August 2012

    Motivational Monday - Here 's to the crazy ones


    Here's to the crazy ones.
    The Misfits. The Rebels. The Troublemakers.
    The Round Pegs in the square holes.
    The Ones who see things differently.
    They're not fond of rules.
    And they have no respect for the status quo.
    You can quote them, disagree with them,
    disbeieve them, glorify or vilify them.
    About the only thing you can't do, is ignore them
    because they change things.
    They Invent. They Imagine. They Heal.
    They Explore. They Create. They Inspire.
    They push the human race forward.
    Maybe they have to be Crazy.
    Because the ones who are crazy enough
    to think that they can change the world.
    are the ones who do.


    Sunday, 26 August 2012

    Brilliant Equine Marketing Smartpak 's Hey Girl posters

    Here's a great example of brilliant marketing by Smartpak, they have taken good photographs and added quirky text all with the by line "Hey Girl", the horse is talking to you.

     And what's so good about this?

    People are posting them to blogs, facebook pages, tumblr, pinterest etc and all the time Smartpak are getting their name out there.

    See I've gone and given them free publicity too!

    Saturday, 25 August 2012

    Business Link for the start up equestrian business

    If you're thinking of starting a new equestrian / equine business you can find loads of free help at Business Link. Business Link is the government's online resource for businesses. It contains essential information, support and services for you and your business. Amongst many other things it can take you through what it call s the "key start up tasks"

    Friday, 24 August 2012

    The Chamber of Commerce for the equestrian or equine business

                                                   ... and that includes your equestrian business!
     There are many organisatons out there to help businesses The Chambers of Commerce is one of many that might be beneficial for your equestrian / equine business:

    The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is a dynamic, high-profile and independent business network, with chambers across the UK. Local chambers sit at the heart of the community, working with businesses of all sizes, and representing all sectors, so that definetly includes your equestrain / equine business. Their mission is to make the chamber network an essential part of growing business; they do this by sharing opportunities, knowledge and expertise. You can access a range of services, networking and support from The Chambers of Commerce  to help day to day business.

    As a member of an accredited chamber of commerce* you can gain access to a number of additional services. The British Chambers of Commerce has negotiated exclusive services with leading organisations to bring you support services and help save you money.

    Chamber Health and Safety
    Not sure about your Health & Safety policy? Can you afford not to know? Get advice and support here.
    Chamber Legal Expenses
    Safeguard your business against the unexpected costs of professional legal services and get legal cover of up to £670,000 as well as access to a 24/7 helpline. Find out more here.

    Chamber Merchant Services
    Process debit and credit card payments with discounted transaction fees, reduced terminal hire costs and no service fees.  For more information about Chamber Merchant Services download the attached flyer.

    Chamber Roadside Assistance
    Receive up to 61% on the cost of breakdown cover (for members of participating accredited Chambers only). Find out more in the attached flyer.

    Chamber Finance
    In partnership with RBS / NatWest we are able to offer 3 years free business banking for start ups, one year free business banking for those that switch accounts, discounted rates with RBS Invoice Finance, access to a dedicated Chamber Finance support helpline and international trade services. For more information contact the Chamber Finance Hotline on 0800 656 9634.

    Chamber Healthcare
    Help to reduce sickness absence and improve staff motivation with a choice of two great schemes.
    • The Chamber Business Choice Healthcare scheme offers private medical insurance for your employees. Get 10% cashback annually or 50% off your chamber membership fees for 3 years. Click here to find out more. 
    • Pay as little as £1.10 per employee per week with the cash plan scheme Chamber Primary Health Plan. Find out more here.
    Chamber HR
    The Chamber HR service provides businesses with access to professional HR advice and documentation.Find out more here.

    Find out if being a member of The Chambers of Commerce will help you by visiting the website http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/

    *for participating Chambers only

    The Country Land and Business Association CLA for equestrians

     There are many organisatons out there to help businesses the CLA is one of many that might be beneficial for your equestrian / equine business:

    The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales so that includes equestrian and equine business owners, here 's what they have to say about themselves:

     Anyone who owns rural land or runs a rural business will benefit from joining the CLA.
    We speak for everyone who believes in a living and working countryside.
    Through the experience and expertise of members and staff, we promote our members’ interests and influence decision makers to ensure the positive development of the rural economy.
    CLA professionals lobby continuously at EU, national and regional level in the interests of our members ensuring a visible presence and influence in the media and with Government.
    We achieve our goals by being professional, relevant and forward looking, as we have been since 1907, when we began. Read a short history of the CLA, written by Charles Clover to mark our centenary year.
    The CLA in-house professional advisory team gives unlimited, independent and impartial information on a wide range of issues to members.

    CLA members have access to our:

    • Solicitors and Barristers
    • Tax specialists
    • Planning experts
    • Surveyors
    • Guidance Notes
    This service is only a phone call or email away, and it is completely free to members.

    CLA membership provides you with the knowledge and expertise to help you recognise all the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls as a responsible landowner.

    Our membership provides essential support to all types of landowner – Do you own a country house with just a few acres? Do you own woodland or run a smallholding? Do you farm on a small or large scale, whether actively managing your land or leasing it to tenants? Are you an estate owner with your own diversified business streams or do you manage land on behalf of an institution? Find out more today.

    Benefits to rural business owners

    Membership of the CLA gives you access to a network of key landowning and rural communities throughout England and Wales. In addition, we provide you with free advice on all general aspects of rural legislation, so you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

    Whether you run an enterprise which is connected to the land or simply provide products to the rural community, find out how the CLA can help your business. Find out more today.

    Benefits to professionals working in the rural community

    CLA membership can benefit you as a professional to provide a more effective and cost efficient service to your clients whilst enabling you to market your own business more effectively across the whole rural economy.

    Whether you are a sole practitioner, a partner in a rural practice or large national firm, there are many reasons why you should become a professional member of the CLA. Find out more today.
    .

    Clearing Hurdles: CLA policy on creating a modern and thriving equine business sector

    Clearing Hurdles: CLA policy on creating a modern and thriving equine business sector
    The equine sector generates around £4billion a year for the rural economy, one of the largest contributions. However, the sector is also one of the most fragmented. So, it is important to stress that co-operation with other organisations will be vital to implement the policies in this publication.
    The CLA paper, Clearing Hurdles: CLA policy on creating a modern and thriving equine business sector , sets out CLA policy on the equine business sector. It covers the need to enable equine businesses to thrive, the impact of the equine sector in caring for the countryside, and the role equine businesses play in enabling the public to enjoy the countryside.
    To help equine business thrive, the CLA is urging the Government to reform the planning system so it is cheaper, simpler and faster. All too often, equine businesses are unable to develop because of restrictions put in place by the planning system. The CLA provides a "one-stop-shop", giving advisory and political support to the equine sector.
    The CLA believes the Government should consider deregulation for smaller business tenancies while respecting the rights of those who own property. Moreover, best practice should be based on guidance rather than a prescriptive regulatory approach. In addition, equine businesses must be able to benefit from the significant communication and marketing advantages that superfast broadband provides. That is why the CLA is calling for a minimum of five megabits per second (Mbps) symmetric broadband speed for all in rural areas.
    Insurance and the issue of insurance premiums remain difficult. The CLA is calling on the Government to make good its promise to amend the Animals Act. Costs for equine businesses have also increased as a result of the business rates system. This needs to be made simpler and the recent abolition of the partial exemption on empty commercial property must be reversed.
    Equine businesses have a responsibility to ensure proper pasture management and to encourage biodiversity. The CLA believes a flexible approach has to be taken to stocking densities, reflecting the type of land and the activities for which the horses are used. The CLA also believes all equine businesses must ensure full compliance with Defra's Code of Practice for the Welfare of Horses, Ponies, Donkeys and their Hybrids.
    Equine business must similarly comply with the statutory regulations regarding water. The same is true for waste disposal, and equine businesses must be aware that Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) rules apply to horses that are kept on farms, or where a livery yard or stud farm is being operated.
    As a direct result of CLA lobbying, many equine businesses are eligible to claim the Single Farm Payment. In light of the proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) due to be implemented in 2014, the CLA is lobbying for certain equine activities to continue on land receiving payment under the CAP schemes.
    The CLA does not believe the public rights of way network is suited to use in present times because it neither takes into account landowners' needs nor the recreational hopes of the rider. We need a modern, flexible network that simplifies the present cumbersome process of modifying routes and which also must reflect contemporary land management and recreational needs.
    Equine tourism is not simply about riding. It incorporates myriad potential activities ranging from trekking to hacking, eventing to horse racing. For the equine business operator, the often-shifting regulations and tax rules and the complexities of the planning system mean many equine businesses fail to realise their full tourism potential. This must be put right.
    This publication sets out the policy changes that the CLA believes will remove many of the hurdles currently facing equine businesses. The importance of making these policy changes cannot be underestimated. Without the right policy and advisory framework for the equine sector, the industry will remain fragmented and its economic potential will stay underexploited.
    Download Clearing Hurdles: CLA policy on creating a modern and thriving equine business sector



    Thursday, 23 August 2012

    Signs for your equestrian / equine business premises in the UK

    Not everyone knows that there are certain rules / regulations / restrictions as to the size of sign you can use for your business and where you can put them. So if you're planning on putting up signs to attract custom check out the rules first.

    There's a guide  published by Communities and Local Government that aims to explain to those wanting to display an outdoor advertisement how the system of advertisement control works in England. The booklet is arranged in separate sections and there are numerous illustrations which may show you how the system affects the type of advertisement you want to display.


    Download a copy of Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/326679.pdf

    or request a copy by filling out the online order form:
    http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/outdooradvertisements?view=Order+form&supplierId=1403822


    Friday, 17 August 2012

    The Facebook hotseat when it's best not to use a rhetorical title for your FB post

    If you are using Facebook to promote your equestrian business (or indeed any business) you do sometimes have to be a little careful with you post titles read on to find out what happened to Dawn of the hugely successful blog Horse and Man when she titled a post rhetorically, it wasn't very nice:

    I’m sitting here scratching my head…
    The only reason I am relaying this information is as a warning – and perhaps some empathy -  in case any of you find yourself in the FB hotseat.
    You see, I posted yesterday’s blog on the Horse and Man Facebook page, as I always do.  But this time, I titled it rhetorically.  The title of the FB post said:
    (8/5/12) SHOULD I CALL THE VET? HMMMM… IT DOESN’T LOOK THAT BAD… (PS: Call the vet.) Click here: http://horseandman.com/medical/should-i-call-the-vet-hmmmm-it-doesnt-look-that-bad-ps-call-the-vet/http://horseandman.com/medical/should-i-call-the-vet-hmmmm-it-doesnt-look-that-bad-ps-call-the-vet/
    And then it showed this photo of Wrigley’s wound from yesterday’s blogpost.

    This is the photo that accompanied the rhetorical title of the FB post:; (8/5/12) SHOULD I CALL THE VET? HMMMM… IT DOESN’T LOOK THAT BAD… (PS: Call the vet.) Click here: http://horseandman.com/?p=23638

    OY

    I had no idea that not only would no one click on the link and read the post… but they wouldn’t even read the entire title of the FB entry!
    Most people just looked at the pic, saw my first sentence and reacted – badly.  They thought I was posting a photo of my horse’s injury and seriously asking FB readers if I should call the vet or not.
    Understandably, many of the comments were not pleasant.
    And I suppose, if I was actually taking the time to post a photo of my horse’s urgent wound and waiting for responses from strangers on FB to tell me what to do, I perhaps might deserve some backlash…
    But I wasn’t… except the way I wrote it and that photo made a large percentage of people get the wrong first impression.
    Lesson learned.
    I even tried to defend myself as this was happening.   I wrote a few comments in the middle of all of the other comments saying that Wrigley was fine and that I did call the vet and ‘calling the vet’ was what the whole blog was about…!
    But, no one read those comments either – or very few did.
    So, learn from my error and use FB carefully.  Don’t mistake its power.  It can do great good… and it can also skew information and spread that false info far and wide.

    THE COMMENTS

    Here are the first several comments.  You can see the pattern.
    (I actually wrote back privately to the one woman who called me an IDIOT.  I wanted her to know that she had simply misread the title and probably not clicked through to the linked story…)

    1

    2


    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    THE MORAL OF THIS STORY…

    Keep is simple, short and easy to understand on FB.
    FB is a GREAT communication device and it is a very useful venue – however – when speaking to the masses that only have time for glimpses, it is prudent to be very clearly written.
    The other piece I learned is that if people don’t think they know you,  they can be really harsh.
    But, more often than not, especially with the Bucket Fund, I’ve seen it go the other way…  the kindness of FaceBook strangers has touched the HORSE AND MAN blog very often and that makes me smile and forget the nasty of today!
    Speaking of tomorrow – a new Bucket Fund story is coming!

    HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

    Thursday, 26 January 2012

    Tonight I lost a friend

    Tonight I learned of the death of a dear friend
    found dead, alone in her flat
    I hadn't seen her for nearly 20 years
    but we had remained in contact by telephone.
    She was always there to solve any horsey delimmas I might have had
    with wise words based on a lifetimes experience of horses.
    Tonight I lost a friend,
    the world lost another soul,
    a great horsewoman
    and champion to the equine race.

    Thursday, 19 January 2012

    January 2012 - Where does the time go?

    Amazingly we're over half way through January 2012 already, Christmas has been packed away and any New Year's resolutions already forgotten. Where does the time go?

    Well if you're self-employed and as disorganized as I am quite a lot of January goes in preparing accounts for the accountant and meetings with said accountant about the dreaded tax returns that have to be filed by 31st January.

    Then of course there's the farrier, the vet for equine flu/ tetanus jabs. The constant battle with mud. Shall I continue? No because it might all end up sounding a bit like a moan and it's not really it's just life and 2012 is going to be grand, isn't it?

    Incidently the photograph isn't mine I found it via Tumblr but I don't know's who's actual photograph it is. I thought it a charming idea and I wish I'd thought of it so it's here to remind me next Christmas to plant a baby Christmas tree in a vintage biscuit tin. If anyone know's anything about the photograph please let me know so that I can offer credit, thank you.