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Inventing Your Horse Career

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!

Denny Emerson shares horse career start and fun

We were fortunate to have Denny Emerson participate in the premiere CD series of the Inventing Your Horse Career initiative. He’s the only rider to have ever won both the gold medal in eventing and the Tevis Cup buckle in endurance. In 2006, he was inducted into the USEA Hall of Fame. Last year his book How Good Riders Get Good: Daily Choices That Lead to Success in Any Equestrian Sport was published by Trafalgar Square. Talk about a lifetime of achievements, Denny has even spent a total of fifty consecutive years competing at the preliminary level or higher in eventing. He and his wife May divide time between their Vermont and North Carolina facilities running Tamarack Hill Farm  with a considerable focus on helping young and novice riders enjoy the eventing experience.
If you want to meet Denny in person, he’ll be at Everything Equinein Essex Junction Vermont this weekend, presenting on Sunday, April 29th in the Outside Arena from 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Inventing Your Horse Career includes Denny Emerson
Denny Emerson shares on Inventing Your Horse Career

How has riding changed since you were a kid riding your pony, Paint?

“I think in some ways it’s become much more sophisticated and much more polished. In other ways it’s become much more stylized and less adventurous. When I started riding — we moved to Greenfield, MA, from Exeter, NH, when I was nine in 1950 — there were 150 million people in the United States. A year ago, or something like that, we hit 300 million. The population of the United States has doubled in my riding lifetime. With that, the riding opportunities to ride out have dwindled dramatically. I think, unless you live in the big middle section of the United States where there’s still probably more open land, if you live on the East coast or the West coast, where I think a lot of the people who ride English do live, they’ve seen suburbs and shopping malls and highways cut up a lot of the land where, when I was a kid, you could ride.
“I think that some of the riding is better, in the sense that it’s more technically proficient, but I think that maybe kids aren’t as likely to have grown up hacking around, playing with their ponies, galloping around bareback, learning to become natural riders. It’s a mixed blessing. I think I would rather have somebody start out riding bareback on a pony then riding around a little ring at a lesson barn but I think those opportunities are fewer now than they were when I was a kid.”

What people who have shaped your riding career and direction?

Denny Emerson still going strong eventing in 2009

“When I was a little kid, the farm manager at Stoneleigh-Prospect Hill School — it was called Stoneleigh-Prospect then, later it merged with Mary Burnham School, it’s now Stoneleigh-Burnham School – was a dairy farmer from Heath, Massachusetts, named Francis Kinsman. Francis liked kids and he bought a little one horse, open-topped, home-made, wooden trailer to take me around to all the little local gymkhanas. My parents weren’t horse people. Francis opened a lot of doors for me just by making it possible for me to start to do stuff. He was very influential. I didn’t even realize it at the time. He opened doors by taking me to all the little western Massachusetts gymkhanas – Rowe, Heath, Charlemont – all up in the Mohawk Trail area. Later I worked at the Green Mountain Stock Farm up in Randolph, VT, doing Morgans in 1960, ’61. The people that ran that, Jack and Art Titus, were very helpful to me.
“Then, when I got interested in eventing — I went to see an event in 1961, I’d never even heard of eventing and I decided I wanted to do that – I was at Dartmouth College and Joe McLaughlin at Hitching Post Farm was very, very helpful to me. I used to go over there from Dartmouth and ride. He’d put me on everything that was available. I started to learn to jump with Joe; I was twenty at this point. I hadn’t been in a jumping background. I’d done a lot of trail riding and showing Morgans and hundred mile adventures at GMHA, that type of thing, but I hadn’t been a jumping rider. I would say those people early on.
“Later, of course, Jack Le Goff, the coach of the U.S. three day team and Walter Christenson, who was a dressage trainer that used to come over for the New England Dressage Association, Sally Swift, Priscilla Endicott who ran all those clinics at The Ark in Harvard, MA, that Walter Christenson came to. There have been a lot of people over the years. My wife, May, who has made things very easy because she likes the same things I do. Those are some. I’m probably leaving out ten that I should have mentioned.”

Is there a particular horse that stands out in your career?

Denny Emerson

“Victor Dakin was the horse that allowed me to be on the team that won the gold medal in Burghley in ’74. I think that a horse like that changes your life, in the sense that it opens huge doors. Before I was on a gold medal team, and after I was on a gold medal team, it was like two different opportunities to be involved in the horse business. So, Victor Dakin, certainly. Then I had a horse named York, from New Zealand that was the U.S. national champion in ’79 and was USEA Horse of the Year. I think in some ways York was the most talented horse I’ve ever had. He was better in dressage than Victor. Victor was an aggressive, attack machine type of a cross country horse, suited for the long form eventing of thirty-five years ago. He wouldn’t be a good horse for today. He’d be too hot in dressage. And you don’t have to go eighteen miles on cross country anymore. But he was the right horse for me at the right time.”

Everything Equine Expo

Lisa Derby Oden (the co-creator of the Inventing Your Horse Career CD series and equine business consultant will also be presenting at EVERYTHING EQUINE EXPO on April 29th. Enjoy her wisdom at Learn From the Pros: Unique Career Paths to Success in the Horse Industry in the Equine Summit Room from 12-12:45 p.m.; and Websites & Social Media & Blogs…OH MY! Integrating Your Online Presence from 2 – 2:45 p.m..

Horse careers – animal behaviorist

Mary Ann Simonds is an incredible woman who managed to merge her uncanny connection with horses with scholarly scientific pursuits long before any 4-year college or graduate studies programs offered an equine focus (she invented her degree focus just about every time she earned a new one). She’s an inspiring, delightful and internationally celebrated contributor to the Inventing Your Horse Career series who understands equine industry issues more than most. Her story is fascinating – as are her lauded accomplishments. Learn more about what she’s doing today at her website.

As a forerunner in almost everything she’s done in her horse career, it’s not surprising that Mary Ann was learning about mustangs in the wild – and studying how to best transition those culled out for a domesticated life – long before the current outcry over BML practices started. Much of her life (among many other equine advocacy activities) has included trying to help these horses and the people who adopt them. Below are excerpts from our Inventing Your Horse Career CD with Mary Ann.

Mustangs helped shape Mary Ann Sim0nds’ horse career

Mustang expert Mary Ann Simonds
Mary Ann connected with horses at an early age in uncanny ways

“Well, forty years ago when I went off, I started actually at the University of California at Irvine, because it was a much more prestigious school and I thought, ‘Well, they’ll let me study wildlife biology there and I’ll pick horses.’ But that took me down the wrong path because the first class in the desert was a wildlife ecology class and they had us kill all the rattlesnakes. I quickly realized if you kill all the rattlesnakes, you’re not really studying the ecology of the desert. So, that made me mad. I wouldn’t sleep in the cabin with the professors and the class and vowed that I was going to sleep out with the rattlesnakes, which I did, and had them under my sleeping bag that night. That again was one of those ‘Ahas’ that I realized the next morning when I hiked up out of my bag very quietly and I hiked up to the top of the rocks and almost stepped on a rattlesnake. It jumped up and like a wheel rolled down. I was in tears, crying that there was so much misunderstanding and hate toward nature, and fear. I vowed then that I was going to live with nature and understand what is causing this fear in humans.

“I went, as a sophomore, off to the University of Wyoming and petitioned to do a double degree in range management and wildlife biology, studying wild horse ecology. This was right at the time the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act was passed, and Wyoming was doing all the research, so it was a perfect time to be there.”

Mustang issues haven’t changed much in forty years

“I really, truly thought that my study and work with wild horses would preserve wild horse culture and horse culture in general back then. It has been nothing but a continual, cyclic, seasonal – I don’t want to say nightmare – might be too strong – but truly, nothing’s really changed. It’s gotten worse except for the fact that by being involved with the program for so many years, and on the National Advisory Board, and writing so many management plans based on behavioral management, that it has caused a lot of groups to grow. We had four when I started, and that was stretching it. Now we have several hundred groups. There’s a lot more public awareness. There’s a lot more affinity and I think something very deep in people that makes them want to save wild horses because we see a lot of this Lone Ranger-esque type of activity.

“To me, living out in the field and being able to study wild horses, as well as other wildlife, with no cell phones, no food, no water, no electricity, just living in the field and truly understanding the differences between one horse culture and another at a time before it was influenced a lot by humans – that was a magical time. It will never be brought back again, but it was a magical time.

“That experience is something that I’ve built a career around, trying to use what is functional, sustainable, social bonding, functional behaviors in horses.”

How can mustangs teach us about communicating with domesticated horses?

“What’s the real life of horses if they’re given a chance? What’s driving all the stress in our domestic horses, which is coming from their basic instinct to act as natural horses? Sometimes they don’t even know how to act, because they haven’t learned it, because so much of behavior is learned. In answering your question, I think understanding wild horse behavior – it’s not a breed – it’s understanding that horses were native to North America, they evolved into the modern horse over millions of years. Horses have spread and adapted, because of their ability to do social bonding so well, which has allowed them to bond with humans, and try to please us in a domestic world. It is the basis by which I think anyone involved with horses would want to really understand horse culture.

Mary Ann Simmonds reaches domesticated horses with wild mustang experience
Great to see you too!

Horse behavior and career resources

You can find some great material provided by contributors to the Inventing Your Horse Career series on the project homepage. Mary Ann is wealth of knowledge, a huge proponent of collaboration and a humble, kind and generous equine professional willing to do what she can for horses and people seeking a partnership.

Have questions you’d like Mary Ann to address? Pose them on her website or post them as a comment below and we’ll forward them to her for a personalized response.

Horse career successes that make you smile

Reflecting on Stacey Small’s story and the incredible things she accomplished to get where she is today always puts a big grin on my face. This gal forged a path no one else had traveled before her with eyes set on making life better for the horse as she created her horse career. Like so many successful entrepreneurs, she wound up improving the quality of life for not only the horses she touched, but also the many people involved along the way including employees, vendors, customers, associates and want-to-be equestrian providers. Anyone lucky enough to enjoy a conversation with this gal could learn vast amounts about business savvy, creative solutions and humility.

Stacey Small, contributor in the Inventing Your Horse Career Series
Stacey Small, co-publisher of The Holistic Horse Magazine and contributor to the Inventing Your Horse Career CD series

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree in Graphic Design, she landed in New York City with a job at a design firm. That early education served her well as she unexpectedly went back to school to study the medicinal effects of herbs and then launched a company that was so successful with the products it produced and following it developed that she was bought out by Arenus, where she now serves as a consultant.

 Inventing Your Horse Career with manufacturing in the mix

 Stacey says it so well; perhaps it’s best to turn the reins over to her, so to speak. Below are some snippets from the full hour audio CD included in the Inventing Your Horse Career series. Her interview was a delight and an education for all involved. She tells the story of her challenges and solutions in manufacturing products that had no precursor, shares tips, resources and marketing genius, offers suggestions for individuals considering an equine career that involves manufacturing product, provides ideas on how to best build an effective network and more.

“The primary reason I ever ended up developing products was really to service the needs of the animals. I was finding that they had certain needs in working with the different vets at the racetracks back in the late 80s. There were holes in the products that were available in the marketplace at the time. And they challenged me, they (the vets) said, ‘You’re not a vet. You cannot practice acupuncture. Eighty percent of Chinese medicine is really the herbs. We don’t have time to study the herbs, so put yourself in school.’ And I said, ‘Sure, why not? I’ll try it.’ And the light bulb went off as soon as I hit the class because I realized it makes so much sense. Horses are herbivores. They’re meant to be eating plants. I realized that they’re subject to a lot of the fast food regimes and high-paced lifestyles that we as people have become accustomed to. So I wanted to bring back some normalcy to their domestication. So the product started evolving through the studies and the communications with the vets and what the animals were actually seeking for to rebalance themselves.”

Just in case you’re wondering, Stacey is the founder of Equilite and the creator of Sore No More Liniment® (voted produce o the year two times by The Horse Journal) and is also co-publisher of the Holistic Horse™ Magazine. She was inventing holistic products and natural solution ideas for horses before this was even part of the progressive, let alone mainstream, equine community conversation.

Interestingly, Stacey kind of stumbled into the career that has dramatically shaped the past two decades of her life. “If you asked me twenty years ago if I was ever going to be involved in manufacturing, I probably would have looked at you cross-eyed,” she admits. “It wasn’t the original intent at all. But I allowed the communication and the requests I was getting and the inquiries from multiple sources to kind of formulate a direction and I explored it. And that’s how I actually ended up developing the products.”

Holistic horse products started with Stacey Small

Stacey Small’s role in helping to introduce a larger equine community to more natural practices and products is undeniable. Anyone who has discovered the effectiveness of holistic solutions where horse care is concerned owes her a debt of gratitude. Even if you’ve yet to explore this new herbal world, her story is priceless.

If you’ve ever thought about introducing something new to the horse industry – or venturing into the manufacturing realm – what Stacey shares and the models she offers are amazing. Often, the best way to improve your chances of horse career success is to learn from those who have done it well before you. Stacey didn’t have that option when she launched her idea, but she culls from the knowledge and support of fellow entrepreneurs in the equine field constantly today. Even as an established, respected and profitable inventor, she recognizes the value of learning from others and the importance of collaboration through a support team. Why not consider the incredible opportunity available to you in learning from some of the seasoned ideas and lessons learned Stacey offers in the Inventing Your Horse Career CD series?

 

 

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Exciting news from Horse Sense and Cents™

This might be the best resource you’ll find if your dreams include a career with horses in the mix

Wow – what a crazy six months it’s been. I’ve been working with over a dozen equine professionals to bring something together that I think most of you will find incredibly valuable and timely. Check out the Inventing Your Horse Career announcement below. Plus, we tore down the site, recoded, reloaded, incorporated a theme that should provide a much better experience for you and are working daily amending the pages to ensure you can quickly find what you want. Please let us know what you like, what you don’t and what you’d like to see more of as we continue to modify the site to make it more fun for you to explore.

Inventing Your Horse Career

One of the features we’ve added to the site is a search bar at the top. If you enter Inventing Your Horse Career, you’ll find a summary page of all that’s up to date, but we’re adding new material every day. Many of the Contributors to this CD series have also provided tons of free stuff that should get you charged about what you can do – with guidance on how to get there.

But that’s not what has us all giddy this week. After six months in this labor of love, we have a product that everyone involved is extremely excited about – and proud to be a part of. If you’ve ever dreamed of a job with horses in the mix or want to see more detail on who’s involved, go to Inventing Your Horse Career. Briefly, what we’ve done is assembled an array of some of the most interesting and accomplished equine professionals in North America with 9 CD series that highlights stories, tips, resources, lessons learned, success secrets and contact information. It’s amazing how candid and generous all are in these interviews – and how focused they are on giving back. In addition, we highlight a number of success stories in horse career opportunities you may never have considered – with people who have found creative ways to craft a rewarding and extremely lucrative horse job with imagination and grit.

If you have a special someone in your life that has always dreamed of a horse career (we also feature professionals who decided to chase their passion later in life to find fulfillment and financial security), this is a great holiday gift. Consider too, how you could change a life for a loved one (including yourself) determined to make 2012 the year of life transformation and resulting happiness.

Free horse tips newsletter

We’re also launching a new feature for visitors to the Horse Sense and Cents™ website – namely a weekly newsletter. Simply enter your name and e-mail address on the top of the right column of this post and you’ll not only get features that include a quote and tip of the week, useful resources to check out, some regular introductions to people in the equine world you should get to know and special finds, but also bonus surprises on training tips and horse care issues. Please add your name and e-mail address above to start learning and chuckling from these brief and relevant treats.

Turning Challenging Horses Into Willing Partners

Find easy ways to reach the difficult horse
Now available in Kindle too!

Through the end of December, we’ll be offering signed-by-author (you can ask for a personalized message) copies of the Turning book with free shipping and handling to the US and Canada (thanks to the large number of those to the North who have ordered this book – we’ll take a hit here but you all have been incredible with your interest and support and deserve a nod and reward). There’s a click through on the home page, or you can go here.

Equine E-coaching

We’re now offering e-coaching for horse training, horse breeding and foaling and horse care issues. For those who sign up prior to December 31st, you can tap into a one-time special offer of $399 for the year or 3-months for $199. After that it will be $699 for the year or $249 for three months. We’ll have this set up on the products page (which may change to ‘store’) in the next few days, but feel free to call (585) 554-4612 or (888) 875-3551 (in the US and Canada) if you’re too excited about this to wait.

Horsing around

Please do take a few moments to visit the changes we’ve made to the site, explore the free offerings, sign up for the newsletter and surprises and tell us what we can do to help you. This site is all about giving back and reaching out. So, we appreciate any feedback you can provide to make this a better experience and opportunity for you. Feel free to share in the comments below.  Hope you all have a very happy holiday.