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GoingUp...POP!
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:32 PM
This is kind of a spinoff the thread about the converstation on the raising the bar thread.


Ok, the AA circuit is expensive. The majority of us on here are grassroots with limited budgets. The shows are suffering. Now that Sherlock has stated the obvious...

So someone posted on this forum today saying that our competitions need to be more geared towards spectators in order to keep the sport alive. Hit the nail right on the head.
It shouldn't be that hard, right? I mean to the average person, simply watching the 1.0 meter jumpers is pretty fascinating, so basically we just need to drag them out to see it, well, if it were that easy... Back in the day, jumping was a huge spectator sport, big competitions were featured as headlines in the newspapers, people came out to watch, the stands were full, like football, baseball, and all those other sports I don't care about!

This plan would create a bit more work for show management, so warning to all show management people: if you do not want to have to go the extra mile and sit in a padded chair and move your hand to write down attendence, or spend five whole dollars to buy a guestbook and pen, please stop reading now*

What about a little "rewards program" (best name I could come up with :o) for competitors that bring in more spectators? For every one or five, or whatever the heck number the show management wants it to be, people you bring in to watch, you get a discount on your showbill. Example:

I get 5 people to come out and watch the horse show over the week, and I get a free unrated hunter division, or x% off my jumper nomination fee, or a free tack stall, something like that.

I'm guessing one thing we will hear from the show management is "what's in it for us? We don't charge admission!". Well isn't your purpose to promote the sport? At least that's what all of your mottos say...

Eh??????

It's really a rough draft of a rough plan, but I wanted to post before I forgot... Someone please, fix it up!!!!!!!

Now, everyone proceed to tell me why it will or won't work, why I am off my rocker or right on, blah blah blah...

Comin' at ya from zone 5, where we wear stock pins and toss salads.

pattnic
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:34 PM
I mean to the average person, simply watching the 1.0 meter jumpers is pretty fascinating...

It is?

GoingUp...POP!
Nov. 8, 2011, 02:40 PM
It is?

You'd be surprised... Remember, we are around horses and jumps every day, and to you and me, anything under 4' probably looks puny, as well as anything under 16 hh, but to someone with little or no horsey knowledge, they are huge and scary and they are left wondering, "how the heck do they do all that?"

M. O'Connor
Nov. 8, 2011, 03:24 PM
Yes, it is. But not the way it's normally presented at the average horse show.

Shows don't work very hard to convince spectators that our sport is interesting, and the result is that we don't have very interesting horse shows or many spectators, except at a handful of events.

The 'sport' part has developed into a format that is merely 'least inconvenient' for horse show management and trainers, and is not conducive to drawing spectators.

Stand-alone events geared especially to presenting an audience with an excellent offering will bring back the spectators. I think...Syracuse...comes to mind...

Beenthere
Nov. 8, 2011, 03:28 PM
There is a USEF rule that one cannot offer free services etc unless the offer is made to all exhibitors and listed in the prize list.

M. O'Connor
Nov. 8, 2011, 03:31 PM
Yup--therefore, we can't offer appearance incentives to our top riders. The ones that draw the spectators.

(We need a 'shoots self in foot' emoticon.)

Lucassb
Nov. 8, 2011, 03:41 PM
Syracuse is actually a great example of how to draw spectators from the general public. Oh, except that we don't have that show anymore. :(

The National Horseshow, back in its heyday in NYC, was a huge spectator event. But it was as much part of the social scene (back then there were Society pages covering the results, as well as who was seen in the stands) as it was about the event as a sporting activity.

WEF does make an effort here and there to draw spectators into the stadium for some of the big classes. They've been moderately successful.

The real model, I'd say, is Spruce Meadows. Those people know how to put on a spectator friendly event. Admission is cheap, the competition is awesome and the stands are packed. They wrote the book on how to market the sport in North America... but I don't think even Ron Southern could market the 1.0 m jumpers.

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 8, 2011, 05:28 PM
It is?

Not according to many of my non-horse friends and family. The only thing that really has the 'WOW' factor for most people is the grand prix.

hntrjmprpro45
Nov. 8, 2011, 05:34 PM
I think the best way to promote spectators is to start by ADVERTISING! It isn't simply that no one wants to go to horse shows, a lot of it is that non-horse people don't even know that there is a show to attend.

This spring, we had a special charity benefit for one of our grand prix events so the newspaper ran a little article on it. Low and behold, people showed up! I think if they ran a press release, small magazine/newspaper article or a short tv commercial, then they could get more people in their stands. Of course advertising is pricey but probably the best way to attract more people.

LeeB10
Nov. 8, 2011, 07:29 PM
Grand Prix's should be the draw. I know that most jumpers who attend a show also go to the GPs but do the eq and hunter riders attend the GPs? I know there are several shows we go to both locally and in Sacramento that do advertise their GPs and they get quite a draw - people pay money to watch in the form of tickets and seating for dinner.

Void
Nov. 9, 2011, 01:22 AM
Grand Prix's should be the draw. I know that most jumpers who attend a show also go to the GPs but do the eq and hunter riders attend the GPs? I know there are several shows we go to both locally and in Sacramento that do advertise their GPs and they get quite a draw - people pay money to watch in the form of tickets and seating for dinner.

I ride in the Hunters and Eq and I watch the GPs. Heck, I also work by the Horsepark in Woodside and drag my coworkers to the Woodside A shows during lunch to watch the 1.0m Jumpers. I explain horse showing to them and later they ask when the next show is to go down and enjoy an hour, bringing their families for the afternoon/evening classes.

Riding is fundamental
Nov. 9, 2011, 07:42 AM
Perhaps if we had people walking around selling hot dogs and beer to the spectators???

LeeB10
Nov. 9, 2011, 10:46 AM
Perhaps if we had people walking around selling hot dogs and beer to the spectators???


At Sonoma Horse park they have catered food and local wineries pouring "tastes" at the GPs. They also have special classes where they ride and then drive vespas or scooters. They also do a big Charity event that centers around the GP at that event. The Sacramento International you buy tickets to sit in the stands for the GP but food & wine is available for purchase, there is a band, and you can go to a rider meet and greet thing where you can meet the riders and get their autographs. They also have a 5 bar competition, and a competition where they jump and then drive a car in the arena. People pay to attend those kind of things and they are fun for spectators. The Bend Oregon Show is a charity event and gets tons of non-horsey people attending. They have all sorts of things for them to do there and it is an awesome show. Whole families come out with blankets to picnic on and watch the classes.

These are the kinds of things that get the public involved and wanting to attend horsey events. They are fun and interesting.