Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Editorial: Concerning the Ban of Animal-For-Sale Ads on Facebook

The recent decision of Facebook to enforce its ban on animal for-sale ads will have far-reaching consequences. It's unclear what Facebook's motivation is. Perhaps they don't want to be facilitating the ugly trade in animals that happens all over the world. That would be very unusual, since Facebook has not been very active in discouraging so many other forms of heinous human activity. Are they banning posts about bestiality? If they have humanitarian motives, you'd think that would be a much higher priority. I don't believe they ban pedophilia or other forms of human-to-human abuse either. Why For-Sale ads, especially since there are many legitimate ones?

The ban will undoubtedly affect many types of groups that depend on Facebook, including rescues - and certainly sport horse breeders. It has already affected a number of breeder groups and pages. Groups that included "Sales" or "For Sale" in the name have already changed names, and tried to remove all words that might trigger FB to delete them. Whether that is effective, and for how long, remains to be seen.

I believe that this is an important wake-up call, whether you are selling horses or other animals, or stallion services, or training services - basically, if you are depending on FB in any way. Breeders have come to depend on the social media giant to connect with potential buyers for the youngsters their breeding programs produce.

Some marketing specialists have encouraged breeders and trainers and other equestrian small businesses to build their marketing plan around Facebook. We have come to think of Facebook as our friend. We enjoy it as a happy, social place - and we tend to forget an important thing: Facebook was not started as an altruistic venture, and it has never been. Facebook is not your friend. It is a private company and doesn't make decisions based on your best interests. It makes decisions based on Facebook's own best interests, period. Not only that, but it will never share its whole decision-making process with you. Facebook will publish "a" reason - and it may sound convincing - but FB has a pretty poor record when it comes to completely transparency. The only thing you know for sure is that a decision that Facebook makes is a decision that Facebook feels is good for Facebook's bottom line.

From a professional marketing standpoint, I believe the best approach for any business is to build your business around your own website - and to use Facebook for what it's good at: announcing current news, connecting with others, sharing knowledge - and driving traffic to your own website. Your website should be the core of your business. Facebook is so easy to use (mostly) that it's tempting to have your business "live" there. But there are huge advantages to your own website.

  • You own your website: you control it, no one can tell you what you can and cannot post. 
  • Your website can become a useful reference and an archive and a gallery of all your business history. It's much easier to have all your foal photos on one page for people to see, for example, and easy to add it to your menu so people know just where to go. It takes a lot of work to organize photos on Facebook in a way that works for other people to find what they're looking for.
  • Your website is where people look for you. For stallions, the number 1 place breeders look online is the stallion's own website. (Reference: http://www.warmbloodstallionsna.com/survey2014.php. Scroll about half-way down the page.) I suspect the same is true of farms and other businesses like training.
  • You can post your sale horses on your own site, and on a sales site, and then promote the listing on Facebook without violating their policy.
Centering your business on your own website, and using Facebook just for the "social" part of your marketing plan, is your safest option - and very likely your most effective one too.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ten USEA Young Event Horse Graduates to Compete at the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event

From USEventing.com

As the countdown to the 2017 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event ticks on, 10 USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) graduates are gearing up to compete in one of the most prestigious events in the world. The YEH program is designed to identify the up-and-coming superstars of the sport. The series offers classes for 4- and 5-year-olds where judges evaluate their suitability for the highest levels of eventing, and now years later we have a successful pool of gradutes who have made it.

Click here to read the full article by Shelby Allen of USEventing.com and meet the alumni...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thoughts on Young Horses from Johannes Westendarp

Johannes and one of his Bundeschamp stars, Wolkentanz. Photo: Roslyn Neave

Here are some thoughts on breeding, training, and young horse classes from German young horse specialist Johannes Westendarp, in a new article by Christopher Hector. 

"Johannes Westendarp was a breath of fresh air at DJWTS! His message in his young dressage horse clinic? Make them comfortable and confident and Johannes should know, he has produced some real stars..."
Read the entire article in the latest issue of The Horse Magazine. Click here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Transferring Immunity: Mare Colostrum Studied

A new article on the Kentucky Equine Research website looks at some deeper research into colostrum. Turns out that colostrum - like many things in our bodies - is more complex than we thought, and does more than one thing.

"When horse owners hear the word 'colostrum,' many think of the immunity-building, infection-fighting immunoglobulin G (IgG)—a protein found in the mare’s first milk. According to a recent study, however, colostrum has several elements that benefit foals. ..."

Click here to read the full article, with reference link to recently-published research done in Italy.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dressage at Devon Announces 2017 Dates: Reserved Tickets on Sale

Devon, PA – Dressage at Devon is preparing for another exciting show to take place September 26 through October 1, 2017 at the Devon Horse Show and County Fair Grounds in Devon, PA. Reserved tickets are now available online at www.dressageatdevon.com.
This six-day event features the largest open breed show in the country. The ever-popular performance division features top horses and riders from around the world. Measuring nearly 18 acres, the facility includes two lighted outdoor arenas and five covered grandstands with individual and box seating for more than 3,000 spectators. The site also provides warm-up areas with permanent barns capable of stabling approximately 900 horses.
A tree-lined path hosts a wide variety of products for the horse, the rider, and the spectator. At the Festival Area Shops at Dressage at Devon, you’ll find everything from riding apparel to tack and fine art, jewelry, antiques, pottery, and Dressage at Devon souvenirs.
Reserved seating tickets are for the entire day and include general admission. Reserved tickets are not sold for specific events, exhibitions or classes. The Grand Prix 3 Day reserved seat ticket package option is $66 and reserves an assigned seat for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Seat location may be different each day.) For more information about reserved seating, please visit www.dressageatdevon.org under the Tickets tab.
About Dressage at Devon
Dressage at Devon (www.dressageatdevon.org) has been the premier North American Equestrian event since it’s founding by the Delaware Valley Combined Training Association in 1975, and became a separate organization in 2006. It combines world-class dressage competition and the world’s largest open breed show with the international Fall Festival show and special activities for the entire family. The six-day event attracts hundreds of horses from around the world and thousands of spectators. Dressage at Devon is a 501(c) (3) PA non-profit organization, benefiting equine education.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Interview with Dr. Ludwig Christmann

The Horse Magazine has posted a new article of interest to breeders, in which THM's Chris Hector interviews Dr. Ludwig Christmann on the topic, "Hanoverian Breeding - Where it's at." Hector first met Dr. Christmann in 1991, and his descriptions of Germany in 1991 illustrate what a different world it is now for breeders, both in Germany and around the world. THM is based in Australia, but the article applies to breeding world-wide. They discuss "the ideal Hanoverian" then and now, young dressage and jumper horses, specific stallions and bloodlines, Dutch horses, emerging stallions for both jumping and dressage, and more.

Photo above is Dr Ludwig Christmann, head of the Hanoverian Verband’s Department of International Affairs, Development and Education. THM photo.

Click here to read the article...