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sanctuary
Jun. 26, 2009, 11:26 PM
I have been teaching at a farm for the past 7 years. Over the years we have seen the normal fluctuations in the number of students (less in winter, more in spring/summer etc). This year though, it just seems harder than ever to attract new people in. I know a lot of it has to do with the economy. But how do you manage to attract new students (including rank beginner up/downers)? Or what programs do you offer to help keep the cash flow going?

Carol Ames
Jun. 26, 2009, 11:30 PM
Sell them blocks of lessons and, if they "renew":winkgrin: their "subscription before it expires:lol: a discount on the next set

2DaPoint
Jun. 27, 2009, 07:08 AM
You really have to monopolize on the "camp" thing.
Advertise more obviously at places like the grocery store and other places parents of younger children frequent.
From what I've seen of the summer camp being run out of the facility where I work, there's no shortage of people who will spend money on their darlings!
It's all in the marketing.

shanky
Jun. 27, 2009, 07:22 AM
Besides the summer camp angel, which is a great one, you can talk to local girl scout troops - they still have horse related "badges" that they can earn. Small groups of girls come in, earn their badges, but end up getting bit by the horse bug and then sign up for lessons.

BeaSting
Jun. 27, 2009, 08:05 AM
One thing I've noticed, especially in my area, is a lack of any effort to promote local horse shows outside of the local horse community. I've specifically asked one of the local clubs why didn't they advertise their shows in the local newspaper's upcoming events/entertainment section. It's usually free.

If you can get people out to your shows .... If you make the shows a bit more accessible to non-riders ....and if you make available information on where to sign up for riding lessons - it's possible you may get results.

This would be a good way to target people (especially women) in their 30's/40's, who had a fancy for horses when they were children, but for one reason or another were unable to follow up on it. Getting these people to your shows may help to re-ignite that fancy by showing them how much fun it is to ride, by showing them the competitive aspects, or a goal they could work towards.

....and these are the people who usually have a bit more disposable income.

ReRustica
Jun. 27, 2009, 09:06 AM
Chances are good you already have this covered, but just in case you don't - an attractive website WITH pricing information (especially for camps and if you offer lesson packages at good rates). When I was a younger teen trying to find a place to take lessons myself, I definitely called the people who had good websites first. A lot of people don't put their pricing on the site, but I find that extremely helpful as most people DO have a budget and it saved time calling places that were out of my price range. The barn I worked/rode at actually has a page linked to paypal now where you can buy lesson packages online - I bet parents find that really convenient. If they can google 'horse camp' or 'riding lessons (town name here)' and your website comes up, that's great.

Cita
Jun. 27, 2009, 09:17 AM
Yeah, definitely a website! When I move to a new area and am looking for barns, the first place I look is the internet. I appreciate lesson pricing, pictures of the facility, and some sort of brief mission statement that conveys the overall focus of the barn (showing, pleasure riding, beginners, advanced, etc.). And the address/location, so I know how far I would have to drive!