We have all heard the age old statement “Do what you’ve always done; get what you’ve always got.”  As our breed and discipline organizations report declining membership, transfers, registrations and competition entries - we must consider innovative tactics to re-ignite interest. During this presentation, Patti will share generational trends and market information, keeping the gate wide open through fun and invention, putting "butts in seats", and creative and inexpensive methods to grow our events and industry. 

altPatti Colbert

Patti Colberthas worked in the horse industry for over 30 years. From teaching riding lessons to working for the internationally recognized AQHA, her experience proves her one of the best in the business. Currently the Executive Director of the Mustang Heritage Foundation, Patti was named one of the “Top 15 Westerners to Watch” by American Cowboy Magazine. She is the creator of the very successful Extreme Mustang Makeover. .

We have all heard the age old statement “Do what you’ve always done; get what you’ve always got.”  As our breed and discipline organizations report declining membership, transfers, registrations and competition entries - we must consider innovative tactics to re-ignite interest.

Change is a tough.  It happens regardless of the way we feel about things.  Change isn’t just about whether you decide to eat better, or move to another state.  Change is largely due to generational, cultural and world-wide influences that impact our decisions during our lifetimes. Change comes as a huge challenge to an industry that is steeped in traditions.  For years the racing industry has talked about how younger generations won’t wait 15 minutes or more between races.  Younger generations want constant and engaging action – yet racing traditions won’t budge. 

 

How we move toward change is critical to growth.  As the largest equine related organization in the world – the AQHA had to create a bureaucracy to manage our industry involvement.  Bureaucracy may deliver results because bureaucracy leads to predictability and conformity.  History shows us that organizations achieve greatness when people are allowed to do unexpected things – so show initiative and creativity – to step outside the scripted path.  That’s when delightful, interesting and amazing results occur. 

For example – in 1956 3M Corporation – (vet wrap) instituted a mechanism that is now well known in the scientific world.  Their scientist – then and now were encouraged to spend 15% of their time experimenting and inventing in the area of their choice.  Post It Notes, reflective licenses plates and our own vet wrap were created under those guidelines. 

During the presentation, I’d like to share some generational trends and market information that may give you some insight into protecting your business.  Did you notice that I said protect instead of grow or increase?  My personal opinion is that the horse show industry, as we know it, is in a downward spin and if we don’t “pull our heads out” our numbers will continue to decline and customer base will decrease.

I will share with you the crazy process that created the Extreme Mustang Makeover events and more recently Project Cowboy, our own version of American Idol “horseback – where Canadians were proudly represented.  These events are rocking the horse world – with innovative competitions and 500-5,000 ticket buying spectators at each event.

We will talk about respecting all interested horse folk and keeping the gate wide open through fun and invention.   We will talk about putting “butts in seats”, welcoming people that simply love horses while increasing the bottom line of your events.  You will learn to love non-horse owning people, because they will grow your events and business.  Just because their horse IQ isn’t as high as yours, or they don’t give a darn about showing, or they will never own a horse – they can still generate growth in equine economy.

Put on your thinking caps and kick the side out of the box or arena that you live in.  It’s time that the horse industry evolves into an aggressive well-marketed outdoor life experience.  Face Book is not just for your grandkids.  We will discuss creative and inexpensive methods to grow events through social networking.  I look forward to brainstorming with you – because if we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always got.