How did you find your Barn/Instructor?
I have a new boarding and training business and I have posted cards at the feed stores and classified ads on websites but business is still slow. This is a poll to see where I should focus more marketing time. Thank you!
Please add in some details... like it had pretty pictures on it, it was closest to my house ect..
The owner of the barn we're currently at had been boarding at the same place we were before she got the place. She had quite a few friends (us included) who practically all migrated to her new facility when it opened because it had more pasture, was smaller, and our trainer was moving her horses there too. The trainer we initially had unfortuntely had a disagreement with the barn owner and left.
After that, we met our current instructor through our barn owner when she decided to board her horse there after semi-retiring from the big show world. She's fantastic.
Basically, it was all through word of mouth and various friendships. Us horse people form pretty tight-knit communities. ;)
I found my current place on the web. I was looking for a different barn in a certain price range (under $450 for full board) that was also close by to where I live and work.
Do you have a website for your barn? Is it search engine optimized? (My fiance does this, thats how I know)
Web sites really help!
I searched the net. Ok, probably not the best way to find one, but it was just the first step. I looked at all the horse sites, scanned stable web sites, (very helpful for a first impression and if prices are listed it helps if you on a tight budget) and looked at tack shop bulletins.
I went online and searched for a while until I came up with about 3 barns that taught english riding, had a reasonable price, taught group lessons, and was within about 30 minutes of my house. Then I went and watched a lesson at each and picked the one I liked best!
I searched on line, picked out a bunch, then drove the facilities. Interviewed the instructors and checked out the facilities.
I wasn't looking to board, but looked for a good instructor for my daughter and the right type of atmostphere
I found my instructor/barn lady...etc though my camp. She was the head wrangler (we took care of the horses) when I was the assistant wrangler so we spent a lot of time together and then she decided that she liked me a bunch and offered to give me lessons for the summer and since she's an excellent teacher we kinda continued into the fall and we haven't stopped yet. =P
My mom found my instructor somehow magically a year ago, so I took a couple lessons with her. I just started up again with her, and I really like her. She's a lot nicer and more patient than the instructors I've had in the past.
I've been casually barn-shopping lately, and having an up-to-date website is a biggie for me. It's especially nice if they have current boarding/training/lesson rates listed. I hate making phone calls. On the flip side, outdated price information is worse than no information.
I also like to see photos (of course!) of the facility in all seasons. I like to see/read about what current riders at this barn are doing. Billy got 1st place at a schooling show? Suzzie passed her Level 1 Parelli test? Anne is rodeo queen? Joe is competing in the Olympics? Basically, "Are these people with similar interests who I want to be around with my horse?"
Craigslist is big right now too. I saw a local facility advertise a training special for new boarders on Craigslist. This barn was further away than I'd been searching, but after I saw their special (and link to their excellent website), I seriously considered moving my horse there (30 mins away!).
This probably won't help you or anything, but I found mine when he accidentally faxed my house instead of someone else's like he needed to. My dad looked it up, and ironically, we were looking for a new lesson barn at the time.
I found my first one in the phone book, and we would drive around and look at barns and go in at the point I was looking for another one.
You could post an ad on Craigslist seems to work well, too, like at least one other person on here has suggested. ^^
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