“You only do this for the money!”
After decades of horsemanship programs following the McDonalds business plan, turning horsemanship into a franchise that makes millions- breaking up a feeling and complex thing into bite sized packages, levels you can purchase, people are wary of marketing.
I know personally a lot of horse trainers are extremely wary of marketing themselves. Some folks feel like they’ll have sold out, or that making a profit is dirty. There’s a romanticized view of the “starving artist,” that if you’re a real horseman, you’ll struggle paycheck to paycheck and work til you’re too old and beat up to swing a leg over a horse.
I’m driven by passion and love for learning. I’m driven by a desire to help people and horses. Marketing is how I spread the message that can help change peoples lives. Getting paid is how this job is sustainable. If I didn’t get paid for riding and teaching, I’d have to have another job, and I wouldn’t have the time or energy to help people with their horses.
Marketing is how you know who I am, what I do, and where you can find me.
Getting paid is how I afford to keep taking lessons and continuing my education to give back to the public.
Marketing and selling is what keeps my horses fed and trimmed, my truck fueled and my daughter fed, clothed and educated.
I teach in areas all the time where folks complain that there aren’t good trainers out there. Why aren’t there good trainers? Possibly because it isn’t profitable to be there. I myself moved from an area where business was hard to an area where people were willing to pay better so I could keep doing business.
Marketing and selling isn’t inherently dirty. It’s only distasteful when the marketing promises something the product doesn’t deliver- it’s right to beware of quick fixes, easy cures, guru worship and cult-like followings. It’s right to be smart with your money. But if good horsemanship is going to stay around, thrive, and be accessible to you, marketing and selling is how this can survive.
Photo by Laurie Lampe