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“Inventing Your Horse Career” CD series offers inspiration to turn horse passion into career action

December 12, 2011, Rushville, NY – In the midst of cries of economic woes, some are thriving in jobs they’ve designed (whether working for another or themselves) with horses in the mix. More than a dozen equine professionals have come together to create an exciting and unusual CD collection that offers a voyeuristic glimpse into the lives of people who have followed their passion and taken action to create successful dream jobs and respected reputations in the horse industry. These individuals have spent decades evolving their careers into amazing accomplishments. Now, they’ve reached a point in their lives where they want to give back so generously and openly share lessons learned, tips, stories and resources discovered in this landmark initiative created for horse lovers.

Anyone who has day-dreamed about how making a living with sharing their time with horses will appreciate the candid, seasoned insight provided by eleven  industry pros who’ve built success ventures. Content includes personal stories of triumph and frustration, tips, tools and resources discovered as well as first steps to ensure your horse career starts on the right hoof. With an eye toward the future, they also propose ideas for unusual, rewarding and profitable equine careers – with suggestions on how you might prepare to be the best. These people have influenced generations, but have had help along the way and share who’s changed their lives – and how.

The series features a wide-range of career possibilities, most outside of traditional thinking. Getting creative about inventing a horse-related work-life is part of what this initiative is all about. Consider how much you might be able to jumpstart your horse career with personal experience tales from the following luminaries:

Denny Emerson, Olympic rider and trainer and author of “How Good Riders Get Good”

Linda Hauck, Inventor of SpurSuader and international marketer

Fran Jurga, Editor and publisher of the award winning Hoofcare + Lameness, Journal of Equine Foot Science; advocate and spokesperson for horse hoof healthcare; author, blogger and freelance writer

Christy Landwehr, CEO of Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA), certifying instructors, vaulting coaches, barn managers, college coaches, drivers and trail guides & accredits equine facilities

L.A. Pomeroy, Award-winning journalist, equine publicist and copy writer

Bob Jeffreys and Suzanne Sheppard (Two As One Horsemanship™), Balancing English and Western disciplines through clinics, expos, videos and business coaching as well as founders of the Wind Rider Challenge

Mary Ann Simonds, Equine behaviorist, horse human interaction coach, facilitator and catalyst for consciousness

Stacey Small, Founder of Equilite and create of So No More liniments, voted product of the year two times by The Horse Journal; co-publisher of the Holistic Horse™ Magazine

Lisa Derby Oden and Nanette Levin, successful equine business owners and small business advisors who provide a tutorial CD on getting smart with business activities

Getting creative about inventing a horse-related work-life is part of what this initiative is all about. Giving back to ensure future generations of horse lovers gain opportunities to learn and thrive in their quest to improve the lives of future horse/human interactions is what the people involved are about. What better time than now to start on a trek toward “Inventing Your Horse Career”?

For more information on the Inventing Your Horse Career CD series, go to http://www.HorseSenseAndCents.com/inventing-your-horse-career or call (888) 875-3551.

Inventing Your Horse Career

Inventing Your Horse Career title and CD box

Do you dream in horses? Do you love someone who does?

This exciting and unusual audio CD collection offers an insider’s glimpse into the lives of people who have created impressive careers with horses in the mix.

This is such a gift to people. I can just feel it fingering out into the world and helping a lot of people, and shifting what we’re doing with careers and consciousness, and inspiring and EMPOWERING people to follow their passion.”
~ Mary Ann Simonds

inventing your horse career seriesConsider how you could flourish as you set out on Inventing Your Horse Career with:

  • Ideas on horse career paths you’ve never considered – or heard of
  • Secrets others have discovered in their phenomenal success
  • What’s involved in the day-to-day of a horse career life?
  • Direct access to tools, ideas, resources that have helped others achieve success
  • Humble, honest and revealing commentary on the journey to success and fulfillment in the equine industry
  • Mistakes made and lessons learned the hard way
  • Greatest horse career accomplishments and how they came to be
  • Ideas to help you start Inventing Your Horse Career today with tools and tactics for an exciting and effective plan

Isn’t it time to make dreams come true? Give someone you love (including yourself) a gift that can change a life.

Get the Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners audio book for free

Simply join Audible using this link for the Turning book or one below for any of our other books.

Free Turning Challenging Horses Into Willing Partners audio bookDon’t know what Audible is? It’s Amazon’s audio book subscription service. The first month is free. After that, it’s $14.95, which includes a free audio book every month and additional discounts. There’s no contract and they have an easy-to-cancel policy.

You’ll be helping us too

When you select one of the Horse Sense and Cents® titles as your first choice, we get a “bounty” if you remain a member for 61 days. With this little bit of help you provide, we can continue to publish free content on HorseSenseAndCents.com. We’ve been here for horse lovers for more than a decade. Visitors continue to pose questions on posts created years ago – and get timely answers.

Already have the Turning book or are looking for something different? Below are our 11 current Horse Sense and Cents® audio titles. These range from training tips for a variety of horse personalities to unusual equine job descriptions and success story secrets. Find one you love using the hyperlinks below. Please note, book lengths vary. The Turning book is a full length book with about five hours of listening time. The Inventing Your Horse Career & 5 Easy Ideas titles are about one hour long. The Alpha, OTTB and First Off the Property Ride titles are about 1/2 hour in length.

Our current titles include:

Building a horse business around a custom tack idea

This is the second part of an interview with Natasha Raina of Two Horse Tack. If you missed Sunday’s post, find out what fun she’s having with horse business success here. Read this prior horse blog post if you want to know why Natasha started her business, what beta biothane is or how she can provide custom tack at such affordable prices.

We continue the story today with honest revelations of the challenges and success that Natasha experienced to ultimately make winging it work in building a successful horse business. If you’re dreaming of Inventing Your Horse Career, we have tons of free stuff (including videos, articles and content snippets) as well as affordable Kindle Editions and a more elaborate entire CD package (great gift for the horse lover in your life) available. If you’re looking for single titles of the Inventing Your Horse Career series as MP3s available via iTunes, Audible and Amazon, these will be offered soon. Sign up for our newsletter if you want to know the moment these are available. We’ll include clickable links to your favorite online retailer.

You’re in the process of moving sales from e-bay to your website. Can you talk a bit about your success selling through e-bay?

Inventing your horse career with custom tack by Two Horse Tack “We launched on e-bay March 2011. Obviously you have to have an image to list on e-bay. It was a big leap from knowing how to make stuff to how to market stuff. Traditionally tack is featured in a light box instead of on a horse. I put a white sheet up in the basement – starting out with English and Western bridles – and used hot lamps that they use for poultry instead of expensive photography lights. People didn’t realize the bridle came with  reins, so I draped the reins separately on top and around the headstall. The only problem with this fix is when viewed as a thumbnail the whole setup looked like and was a perfect rendering of a penis.

“The biggest hurdles we’ve had is people don’t know anything about the material and may be hesitant to try it. One of the ways to overcome this is to make the product visually appealing and provide quality photos with lots of detail. Try to help people understand what they’re getting.We have found that people don’t necessarily read descriptions, they base their buying decisions on the picture.

“I took a cheap point and shoot camera and put the product on a horse. That actually was a huge step in the right direction. Everything went better when it was pictured on a horse. I spent all of 2011 putting tack on my horses and took over 100,000 pictures that year using just my 2 horses as models. If a horse is not in the picture people don’t understand. They can’t visualize it. It just looks like a bunch of straps.

“A lady from Norway bought one of our items and she sent me some really nice pictures on her horse with a professional camera. We sold way more of this product than anything else. This is where everyone comes together and helps you. A friend let me borrow his $2,000 camera to see if it made a difference. It did. The continuous shooting mode on  cameras make a huge difference when trying to capture the right shot. There are very few books out there on how to take pictures of horses – certainly not how to take pictures of tack on horses and make money off that. The more visually appealing it is the better it sells.”

What’s your background?

Horse Sense and Cents talks with Two Horse Tack founder about Inventing Your Horse Career“I’ve had a horse since I was 10 years old and  lessons when I was 6. My first horse, Magic was a saint, a sorrel QH gelding, who you can see on our site modeling at the ripe old age of 30.  I would always joke that he was one quarter horse and three quarter guardian angel. Thanks to him I was able to do a little bit of everything. My riding horse now is Sue, a 12 year old QH gray mare who is directly related to him. Her nickname is Long, Suffering Sue.

“As verification of my varied interests just take a look at our site, Facebook and the blog. Most of the pictures of a gray horse are of her. I’ll do a couple of endurance rides each year, lots of trails and camping. I’m a speed demon so I like anything with speed, like barrel racing. I even dressed her up in one of our medieval bridles and was the headless horsemen in the local Halloween parade. I also love driving and have found it is the perfect way to let non-horsey people experience how wonderful horses are. My goal this year is try a sanctioned three-day event. I also recently tried Mounted Games for the first time this year and absolutely loved it! Basically if it involves a horse I’ll try it!

“With our Tack giveaways I started asking out of curiosity ‘What type of riding do you do’ I’ve found our audience is the same kind of people. We like to do a bit everything. We’re not professionals and the ribbons don’t matter.”

What did you do to get ready to launch Two Horse Tack?

“I started the company’s online presence in 2011. Getting ready to launch implies it was this well organized, well thought-out plan. It was more of a, let’s just give this a shot and see how it goes kind of thing. It’s good to have ignorance. It would have been off-putting if I had told myself two years ago how much work it was going to be. Everything is a struggle. From tack designs, product descriptions . to managing the back-end of our website.

“The pictures are a job in itself. I usually work with 2-3 helpers or posers. With the camera’s continuous shooting mode a normal 2-3 hour shoot will result in over 2,000 photos. I will then have to pick through and edit. Each photo visible on the website requires about 10-20 minutes worth of editing. Flies, weird backgrounds have to be removed and then the image has to be colored corrected with a properly calibrated monitor so the colors depicted are as accurate as possible. Learning the editing program (Adobe Photoshop) was a huge learning curve.

“When you put it down on paper what’s involved, I could see why someone would go ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ You have to learn a whole lot on the business side. How to add traffic; there’s a lot to learn to use Google Analytics, a wonderful product, effectively.”

If you’re looking for tack you can stick in a washing machine or dishwasher – you’ve found it.

In case you missed the video in the first blog post of this interview, here it is again (it’s only two minutes – well done and worth the watch):

 

Have a horse business idea? Share your dream in the comments below to get some help getting there. Please also click the sharebar to let others know how much you enjoy this free blog. Thanks!

Fun horse tack find

When Natasha Raina of Two Horse Tack approached me, I was intrigued by her claims about her custom tack. What I discovered was a wonderful story and products that have applications for just about any discipline, breed or even one’s imagination.

affordable horse tackWhat first intrigued me were the applications for the Registered Irish Draught horse community. Every week I see owners sending out queries asking where to find tack to fit these odd-sized horses. I realized how useful her company could be to equestrians with mounts that didn’t fit standard sizing norms while standing up to horse shenanigans (RIDs are a mouthy bunch). When she indicated every order was custom-made to given measurements, I had to see what she produced. My driving reins arrived this week. The quality and feel of the product was beyond my expectations.

Natasha has done some incredible things with Two Horse Tack. Her product – and lessons she has learned – should not only have big appeal for the frugal horse owner seeking quality products (her strategy to offer wholesale prices direct to public makes this stuff affordable for anyone) – but also those who are drawn to our Inventing Your Horse Career initiative.

I learned a whole lot about what she’s doing in a recent Skype interview.

Why did you start your business?
custom halter for mule“I like what I do. I’m working two to three times harder than I would at a regular job but I enjoy it. I’ve always tried to work with horses. Working with tack gives me a creative outlet that you don’t normally find with horses. We would like to see people use their horses more.

“We were recently featured on a blog called Snarky Rider. The owner, Robin, and I brainstormed that the best way to do this was to offer as many different things or ways to enjoy your horse as possible. The winter months are especially hard. I’ve always been interested in a sport called Skijorring, where you ski behind your horse. Robin (the owner of the Snarky Rider site) had done it as a kid growing up with a makeshift harness she used. We are working with her to design a safer, more efficient harness. I feel like it’s kind of my duty to do things like this. Your traditional tack companies can’t do it because the market is so small. The market or sport can’t expand because folks can’t find the equipment to give it try. It’s a vicious cycle but one I am determined to break.”

Can you explain what beta biothane is?

(Editor’s note: this is the primary material Natasha uses for most tack orders, but she fills custom leather orders too)

custom harness“It’s a web-coated nylon. It sounds a bit like a miracle product. It’s easy care – you wash it off with soap and water; extremely tough and durable – basically the strongest material available in the equine marketplace and also has a following in mountain climbing, so you know it’s strong. You don’t really sacrifice anything – it has a better feel than leather. It’s an American product, invented and manufactured in the U.S.; no Indian or cheap Chinese knock-off. Biothane has been around for about 20 years. Beta is fairly new. It came out in 2005 and is a wonderful product. When people hear the word biothane they’re thinking of the first biothane – super thin, glossy kind of plastic looking. This is a whole new product but the benefits are the same.”
How do you provide custom tack with your price points?

“We just stock the raw material. There are 70,000 variations at this moment with $7 million worth of inventory. Twelve colors of beta biothane and 13 overlay colors. You can also add rhinestones or bling. We have also recently starting carrying reflective and camouflage biothane. All of these can be made with stainless steel or solid brass hardware.”
How long can buyers expect to wait for their order?

“People hear the word ‘custom’ and automatically assume it will take weeks to receive their purchase. We have fine-tuned and organized our shop so that we are able to get items shipped out amazingly quickly. Most orders are ready to ship in just 1-3 days. The only exceptions are harnesses, which take about 3-7 days. Most folks will receive their order within 3-5 business days, even with our standard shipping option.”

Want to see her recent promotional video (it’s only two minutes – well done and worth the watch):

Check back on Tuesday for the continuation of this interview where we’ll discuss business lessons learned including launch challenges, huge e-bay success, transitioning to a website platform, Natasha’s background and some other fun stuff that came out in our conversation.

Have you always dreamed of a career that kept horses in the mix? Share your dream in the comments below. You might be surprised who chimes in to help you get there.

What’s in it for you at Horse Sense and Cents®?

We’re all about keeping the horse in the conversation.

Whether this involves customized young horse training ideas designed to help you understand what your horse is trying to tell you (you can read tons of free blog posts to get you started) or finding new career ideas for you with horses in the mix (through our Inventing Your Horse Career initiative), we offer a variety of free and low-cost resources that are unusual and tons of fun.  

great horse Kindle and audio book for reaching alphas at http://HorseSenseAndCents.comHorse Sense and Cents® offers creative and seasoned perspectives, resources and products designed to help you discover smart and affordable solutions for your equine challenges (get it – sense and cents?). Too much focus lately has been put on making the horse do what you want (and charging a hefty sum for the DVDs and other products created to elevate you to boss). Can you imagine how much richer your partnerships could become if you could learn how to listen to what your horse is trying to tell you?  

Our material is presented in a way easy enough for a novice to understand with insight professionals appreciate.

If you want to dig a little deeper (or save time by grabbing exactly what you’re looking for) you’ll enjoy our print (signed by author here – but also available at your favorite retailer), PDFs/Kindle/Nook e-booklets (about 5000 words or 21 pages each) and audio titles (available on iTunes, Audible, Amazon, etc.) designed to help you discover a better way to tackle horse care, young horse training and the relationship you seek with your horse. If you dream of a job that includes horses, you’ll find new ways to make this so with our Inventing Your Horse Career series that can be purchased as a CD set, individual Kindle Editions or (coming soon) MP3 singles available at all the major online audio providers.

Inventing Your Horse Career can be so much fun at http://HorseSenseAndCents.comGive yourself the gift of a different, more effect and more rewarding relationship with the horses in your life this holiday season by checking out some of the knowledge products we offer (starting at $2.99). If there’s a special family member, friend, associate or client in your life that has the horse bug, consider making your gift to them memorable and lasting this year with new perspectives and approaches that make their heart sing.

We’re happy to consider new titles or products at blog readers’ request. If there’s something you don’t see but would like to know more about, leave a comment below or feel free to e-mail me (Nanette) directly. I promise I’ll provide a personal response to your query. Plus, if we do choose to create title you ask for, we’ll give you credit in the front matter (with your permission, of course).

Horse information you can listen to

About a year ago, Horse Sense and Cents® began offering audio products. This has involved a lot of lessons learned the hard way, trial and error and occasional frustration, but it’s exciting to see success. Sometimes the simplest solutions prove to be the best.

Most recently, we started making the books and e-booklets available through Amazon, iTunes and a number of other online sites as audio downloads. For these we found a royalty-share resource (more on this later). Their ability to get these titles listed where we could not as a small publisher made all the difference.

What’s been amazing is how quickly sales have started to come in for these products with virtually no promotion on our part. What’s even more surprising is how many seem to prefer listening to reading, as the e-booklets are less than half the price but the audio products seem to be more popular.

Getting started with audio

Our first foray into the retail audio arena was in December 2011 with the Inventing Your Horse Career CD series. We spent a ton of time and money researching and buying quality recording equipment, designing the packaging, manufacturing the product and arranging for warehousing and fulfillment. Of course, that was all after the considerable effort designing the perfect mix of contributors and devoting hundreds of hours to gathering information, interviews, editing and infrastructure to make a big splash.

It was an interesting learning experience.

Bringing home an off-the-track Thoroughbred
We had to amend the design of our Kindle e-booklets to fit the square requirements for audio covers via ACX.

Today, we’re partnering with ACX on the book and e-booklet titles. Reaching Alpha Horses was completed in mid-December and available on Amazon almost immediately. A few days later, Reaching Alpha Horses was on iTunes.

Bringing home an off-the-track Thoroughbred was approved January 18th, immediately available on Amazon Audible and on iTunes to following day.

We should have the full length Turning Challenging Horses into Willing Partners completed within the next week and live on various sites as an audio product in February.

Sometimes you miss

The thinking with the Inventing Your Horse Career CD Series was horse owners spend a ton of time in their cars (more often trucks), most have probably at least fantasized about a career with horses in the mix and many would appreciate having an attractively boxed package to own or give as a gift. Since it was so hard to find great material on alternative equine careers, we thought there would be a high demand for a resource that put it all together in one place.

All involved felt the research, time and money required to put this together would help younger equestrians or more mature adults (with many starting horse-related small businesses as a second career) get a head start – or leg up, so to speak – in careers where others had learned many lessons the hard way. In fact, some of the contributors to this series literally invented the industry niches where they now prosper. All have great stories to tell and a generous philosophy of giving back to help future equestrian entrepreneurs. Each was amazed with the quality of the final product – and lineup of co-contributors. So, we figured the product would be a big hit.

Inventing Your Horse CareerWe were wrong. Whether it was poor promotion, the CD format, the length of the series (it’s 9 CDs of content at about one hour each), timing or something else, we weren’t scrambling to keep up with demand as imagined. Nor did we have buyers clamoring for updates with new featured equine visionaries annually (initially our plan was to start production of a second series about six months after the first was released – that’s postponed – perhaps indefinitely).

So, for those of you who prefer CDs to MP3s, we’re selling out our remaining stock of the boxed CD set at half off as we transition to a digital download only model.  It’s a great gift to be treasured by you or someone special with an amazing mix of knowledge, insight, stories and tips.

If MP3 is your preference, we’re offering a special price for single downloads of $9.99 (normally $15.99) through March on the Horse Sense and Cents® website.

There’s no way right now (at least not that we’ve found) to run this through ACX, so we still working on strategies to get it listed with the big boys.

Finding the right partners for your equine business products

ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) came up several times in the six months of research I did trying to figure out how to get our Inventing Your Horse Career MP3 offerings listed on iTunes and other sites where people tend to go to find material that satisfies their listening pleasures. This is a relatively young company. They’re doing a lot of things right.

Basically, it’s resource that connects voiceover talent with publishers and authors. What’s even more awesome about the offerings, though, is they’ve established relationships with the online retail giants, so once your product goes through their quality control process, you’re in.

I’ve been thrilled with this company thus far. I would strongly recommend using the voiceover talent option (you don’t have to) if your title lends itself well to being narrated by another (if you do a royalty share arrangement, their motivation is equal to yours in seeing the product sell).

For Eleven Quick Tips on using ACX and a bit more information on the discovery of this resource, visit http://www.nanettelevin.com.

Where do you go to find horse audio products?

Given our challenges with the Inventing Your Horse Career Series, particularly as it relates to getting the MP3s listed, I’d love to hear your ideas or experiences with sites that offer audio products for sale. What’s your favorite place to visit? Where do you find the best horse stuff? Do you sell audio products through a resource you relish and are willing the share your find? Please consider participating in the comment section below, or if you’d prefer to respond privately, you’re welcome to contact me at Nlevin@HorseSenseAndCents.com. Thanks!

What’s new at Horse Sense and Cents®?

It’s been a whirlwind few months with so much going on. Time’s streaked past in a way that has me wondering why we’re not still in August. Almost reminds me of the first time I sent a horse down the lane for a track breeze – kind of a joyous blur seeing but not fully able to focus on the milestones passed along the way to the finish line.

Halcyon Acres horsesWe’ve been doing a lot of work on the Horse Sense and Cents® website and products over the past few months. There’s still much more to go, but hopefully the changes will make it easier for you to find what you are looking for on the site. Do feel free to reach out (full contact information is available at the bottom of almost every web page) if you have questions, want to see us offer something new or are having trouble locating the information you seek.

Do take the time to look around a bit while here as there’s tons of free information designed to help you reach your training, career or equine relationship goals. Much has been added to the Inventing Your Horse Career pages (although we’re still working on a better organizational strategy).

For those still seeking last-minute gifts or stocking-stuffers for the horse lovers in their life, we have some great gifts that can be downloaded for $2.99, $6.95 and $15.99.

Inexpensive equine audio and printed e-booklets

Reaching Alpha HorsesWe’ve just started making titles available as audio products. You can now buy the Reaching Alpha Horses e-booklet for to enjoy as a listening experience via Audible.com for $6.95 or on Amazon for only $6.08 – or at no cost with a free 30-day Audible.com trial membership.

We expect the title to be available on iTunes and other major online audio retail outlets within the next week.

Alternatively, if you prefer reading to listening, the Kindle Edition of this title is only $2.99. You can buy it as a PDF document here on the Horse Sense and Cents® website.

Who hasn’t scratched their heads over the challenges an Alpha can present? This resource will help you customize approaches to get that special, opinionated equine excited about building a partnership.

Look for Bringing home an off-the-track Thoroughbred in audio next week. Or, buy the Kindle Edition or PDF if you want a fun, quick read for only $2.99.

Valuable, affordable equine career insight for time-starved horse lovers

Inventing Your Horse CareerMore than a dozen equine professionals had a lot of fun coming together last year to create the Inventing Your Horse Career Series. We’re running a half-price special on the 9 CD boxed series right now (just enter the discount code HSACLA2012 to save $119). We’ve also created individual MP3 download options for those who want the material in smaller and more affordable doses. You can get the Inventing Your Horse Career MP3s (about an hour a piece) for $15.99 each or $29.99 for three.

More free training tips and fun tools you can use

Beginning in 2013, we’re going to try to publish articles in the blog on a regular schedule, but back it off to twice a month. Of course, if we have something exciting or timely to share, we’ll jump in off-schedule, but it seems better for all to know when new posts are coming. Is there a particular day that’s favored by you readers? If so, please note this in the comments below or send me a private message. The day of the week makes no difference here, but frequency does. Also, if there’s a topic you’d like to see covered, say so and we’ll try to respond accordingly.

Horse Sense and CentsWe’re going to start producing the free newsletter monthly (if you’re not signed up, just enter your name and e-mail address on the right column of this page). This wound up taking a lot more time to create than anticipated so to keep it interesting, fun and relevant, quality over quantity seemed like a good move. For those who subscribe, we’ll send out some other fun surprises periodically, but limit the formal treatise to twelve times a year.

We’re in the final production stages of the long-awaited title by Rob Fera (the working title is Bringing Up Baby, but we need to change this as John Lyons already claimed that one) focused on foal care and handling pre-natural through 18 months with great information on nutrition, health issues, ailments, training and all sorts of super tips on being smarter about raising a young horse in a way that helps him be his best. This has been a much-anticipated book that we’re excited be close to finishing. Watch for free sneak peak chapters here as we get closer to a publishing date.

Hope you all have a very happy holiday season and prosperous new year. Thanks for being such a loyal, active and supportive following. I look forward to joining with you next year to ‘Enjoy the Ride.’

Fun solving a horse challenge – Linda Hauck created world-wide demand doing it

Everyone involved in creating the Inventing Your Horse Career initiative had a lot of fun with this project. It was amazing to hear the stories and histories of some of the people shaping the equine industry in the United States and Canada while fascinating to learn from their experience.   

Going global at a gallop

Linda Hauck of Spursuader

Linda Hauck struck me as a great success story when I first met her – and a perfect person to spotlight for those who dream of a job with horses in the mix but aren’t sure how to make it so.

Her story of inventing the Spursauder comes from personal challenge and a determination to find a better way. What’s amazing about her accomplishment is she managed to go from prototype to international player in less than two years. With an initial frustration about how traditional spurs didn’t work well with the off-the-track Thoroughbreds she was training and the imagination to create a better solution, she now can be proud as people spot FEI competitors doning her product.

In just months after final design, Linda secured a distributor with a long history and huge reach in Europe. Six months after that, she was signed on the spot with an Australian distributor with 40 stores. Today, she travels the world, picking up distributors and fans in new countries every month. This product was invented in 2009. What fun for her – and anyone who’s able to model her approach to achieve similar success!

Once she rolled out the prototype and confirmed on the horses she was riding it did what she intended this spur to do (provide a softer solution for more sensitive horses), she put it in the hands of as many professional riders and trainers she could ‘spursuade’ to give it a try. Her goal was to get honest feedback prior to crafting a final product design. Of course, having the testimonials of Olympic medalists helped as she moved through manufacturing to building strategies for packaging, marketing and distribution.

Horse trade shows can be a great promotional tool

Trade shows have been a perfect vehicle for her to sell this product (to both individuals and distributors), but she cites a close second as getting people to test it on their own horse. She still gives away a lot of product to tack shops (one free with every eight display purchase – recommending the store owner sign out the freebie to shoppers to test), reviewers, professional riders and others in a position to help spread the word.

“If someone had said to me a year ago, Linda, you’re going to go to Australia, England, Germany, British Columbia, Alberta, across the United States because of this spur, I would have – no, you’re crazy,” Hauck admits. It’s remarkable how fervor behind the right idea can take off.

What Linda’s managed to do is present her product in a way that crosses all industry disciplines to appeal to trail riders, extreme cowboys, dressage riders, eventers, hunters and those that just want to have fun.

Visuals are critical at trade shows. This includes making your booth look good with color coordination and banners hung high so people can see them from a distance. Linda notes the importance of having good product displays and interactive opportunities for visitors. In her case, this involves spotlighting both Spursauders® and Prince of Whales spurs and conversations that have people poking each other with both. Frequently, early visitors return with friends to exchange jabs and feel the difference.

Linda admits advertising and pictures don’t work for this product because it’s something people need to feel and see in 3D. Understanding how people will best experience your message is part of creating a good marketing mix, and one that Linda’s discovered through trial and error.

As with all of our Contributors to the Inventing Your Horse Career series, Linda has a strong focus on believing in what she’s doing with a giving back mentality. That’s been a big factor in her success. “If you’re not sold on your product, they’re going to know it in a heartbeat – believe in your product and you,” she advises.

Inventing Your Horse Career

If you’ve always dreamed about a career with horses in the mix, why not try? Of course, it will require time, dedication, research and the right idea, but if you’re willing to do the homework, weather the challenges and get excited about the opportunities, you might be surprised at how possible turning your passion into a livelihood is.

It’s critical to ensure you have a market. We interviewed a number of people who were offering something new so had little to compare their offering to, but designed a great plan to educate (and in some cases, production required a lot of creative thinking too) those who might be receptive to their idea. Plan on two years before your business takes off (and don’t get frustrated when you feel like you’re putting a lot of effort forth with no returns – early marketing, networking and outreach tend to pay huge dividends just about when you’re ready to give up).

Work the numbers (keep your other job during start-up efforts), put a marketing plan to paper and seek out mentors to help you get and stay on track (the horse community is incredibly accessible and kind when approached with clear and concise requests). Find out from those who have succeeded before you what you need to learn, who you need to know, how you need to proceed and what to look out for. If you’re serious, dedicated, passionate and willing to put the research and learning time into preparing for a smart start, you might be amazed at what you can do.