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What can we do to get people out to one day sale at end of track season?

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  • What can we do to get people out to one day sale at end of track season?

    We are hoping to hold a one day "showcase" type of event at our local track near the end of racing season. We typically have 20 - 30 horses available, and may even have some colored TBs from a local breeder.

    We'll do our best to have good info at hand on the horses, vets to do PPEs, shippers and farms available for short term boarding.

    We're also hoping to get a sponsor on board (we are a registered non-profit). Looking for some suggestions as to an incentive we could offer that would give more incentive for out of town folks to make the trip. A free seminar? T-shirt? Free shuttle from the airport?

    What could we do that would help make the event more attractive to folks?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    We are located only 1.5 hours drive North of the US border, and the exchange rate is very favorable for our US neighbors, but we want to do everything possible to make this a success.

  • #2
    Airport shuttle is a good touch! Can you provide previews of at least some of the horses ahead of time? I'm thinking brief listings on your website or Facebook page with pedigree, pics/video, and prices. I'd think knowing some of what's available might help people decide if it's worth their while.
    Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm:


    • #3
      I think I would focus energy on things to make the day accessible and low cost to prospective attendees like the airport shuttle.

      Free food? Door prize in the form of a cash based gift card that might offset money spent on gas or airfare?

      The vets, shippers, and short term boarding resources all sound like great ideas.

      If I were looking to possibly buy a horse at showcase event, I don't think a seminar or a t-shirt would do anything for me.


      • #4
        I would say:
        • get pictures and descriptions of each one available ahead of time, with price. Not wrong to dribble them out via facebook either, as they come available, with text describing the larger event. But also a page that has everyone or many/most will be nice.
        • a FAQ page helping with logistics
          • this should include even very basic info like what is required to travel to Canada, what forms of payment are accepted, etc.
          • love the bit about vets, transport, and short term boarding
        • Free shuttle is a great touch - if you can create a situation where the travel is easy and people won't need a car on that end at all that can be a good incentive to looky-loo and perhaps make a purchase.
        • suggest having a host hotel suggestion so that people are all booked into the same place. Even if you can't negotiate a special rate, it's nice to be at the same place as others
        • maybe people would be interested in a group dinner? It can be no-host but just a situation where it will be social.
        • if there are fun tourist things to do in the area, can't hurt to mention those to encourage people to come as part of a larger vacationy event.
        • Testimonials/stories from people who have bought from this location before may be of interest or help.
        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


        • #5
          Hi Alice!
          I’m in Minneapolis area and I check out Final Furlong listings all the time, thanks for all your hard work.

          I second the recommendations from previous posters to have as much info online up front to attract interested buyers. The FAQ, shippers, and short-term boarding options are smart.

          I’ve bought several OTTBs over the years, but usually through road trip to local track that I visited in person; only a few sight unseen. I’m not sure I’d invest in a flight unless I knew particular horses I was interested in would be reserved (more of an auction style).

          I believe CANTER IL has hosted a year-end horse sale the past few years, you might contact them to see if they have any recommendations.

          Keep up the great work, the Final Furlong ads always have great photos, video, and key information!


          • #6
            Publicity among interested parties, not just about the event, but about specific items that will be available. Photos are good!

            A giveaway. Either a lot of smaller items so some numbers of people will win, and/or a desirable higher-value item or two, preferably donated. Naturally this needs to be featured in your publicity.

            I have no idea why giveaways attract so many people, when there may be little chance of winning, and it may not be something the winner needs anyway. But they do. And they create energy and word-of-mouth before the event.

            Is it feasible to work in a 'benefit' of some kind, so that some amount of $$ will go to a charity? People like that as well.


            • #7
              I wouldn't need any incentive to go to something like this aside from not changing me to be there! I would likely even go at least once even if I wasn't shopping (if it was close).

              If I was a buyer, agree with others that just making info available ahead of time along with minimizing costs for travelers would be key. And consider all types of travelers - I hate when some place sends me a list of hotel recommendations & they are all $150+ a night. I need to know where normal people can sleep, which may include a safe place to park my truck & chuck an air mattress in the back.
              Life doesn't have perfect footing.

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              We Are Flying Solo


              • #8
                Share the heck out of it on social media. If possible, definitely compile a catalog or even just a horse list with registered names, general info, and pics.

                I really like the idea of a FAQ page as suggested above. For example, is this a public auction or a "make an offer" type of thing? Do you need to do anything special to get a number if it is an auction? What payment is accepted (especially if folks are coming from south of the border)? When do the horses need to be off the grounds by? What does one need to do to take a horse across the border (I honestly have no idea)? It's a nice touch to have the shippers/farms for short term boarding, great idea on that.

                A vet on hand for simple PPEs will make things very appealing to sport buyers, kind of like how one would vet a horse at a thoroughbred sale. Maybe someone would donate their time and services at a discounted rate? Although that may open an even larger can of worms...
                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                • #9
                  Oh and, let people know *** in advance *** what forms of payment will be accepted - and which will ** not **.

                  These days people have to sort out their usual forms of payment, which can vary widely, if they need to be ready to use something else. Lots of people do not carry currency and are astonished to find only cash is accepted, as even garage sales are often ready with a card scanner attached to their mobile phone (those are cheap & easy to set up). Debit cards, credit cards, Paypal and Venmo accounts, phone scans ... on & on. People have become used to being able to use almost all of them wherever they go.

                  I attended a RETAIL shop sale once, only to learn that they were only accepting cash for the sale. I doubt I have $20 cash on me at any given time. I had to hand back the stuff I had planned to buy.


                  • #10
                    I've gone to the DE Park one just to window shop.

                    They have breakfast and coffee and stuff, nice seating, they do a showcase with each horse coming out and an announcer talking about them. Some are ridden some are in hand.

                    They do a pretty good lead up on social media but I will say it's frustrating when people try to contact the owners and buy the horses before the showcase. If you think a horse will be there because it's advertised but someone saw it on Facebook and offered before hand. I guess it's good that the horse got a home regardless, but defeats the purpose of waiting for the showcase.
           - Lets build your dream barn


                    • Original Poster

                      Thank you all for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it. Really great suggestions that I would never have thought of!

                      We definitely have some prep work to do!