Don't give up!
The galloping housewife would like to take a moment of appreciation for all of those involved in equestrian related businesses at this time of year. Not matter what your gig is, winter and the holidays are tough. The retail folks will have a little bit of a spurt for Christmas gifts, but we know that most horse people are stretched financially at this time of year, and they’re unlikely to find the cash for the necessities and routine purchases. The farriers and physios and other service providers will be in a quiet time as there is less competition happening and their clients are more inclined to see if they can stretch another week or more than usual between visits. Coaches will have some customers who are using the off season to press on with their training, but this is balanced by those who consider their weekly sessions a luxury or are away or busy with the more pressing issues of family and friends and cocktail parties. The ones who will be really doing it tough are the yard owners and competition livery centres who still have all the bills to pay on top of staff wanting holidays and double the workload as clients take vacations leaving their horses in their care while the weather is foul, they’re knee deep in mud, there’s not an industrial machine big enough to ensure they’ve got clean dry clothes to put on every day and society is telling them they should be sitting back drinking whiskey while eating a four course meal and being nice to Great Uncle Tony who uses every family gathering to reinforce the fact that you really should have gone to medical school when you had the chance. (For what it’s worth you can tell Great Uncle Tony to go to hell – you’d rather spend Christmas day picking up horse shit than elbow deep in a patients leg wound – trust me, the galloping housewife has done both, and the poo pile wins, hands down.)
There is every chance that at some stage over this next week you’ll be asking yourself if it’s worth it. You’re watching your credit card total grow faster than a family of fertile rabbits, you haven’t had a day off in months, you’re cold and you’re wet and while the pair of woolly socks that is all that you’re able to afford for a present will surely be appreciated, it’d be really nice to be able to give yourself the gift that you really want – the full length, waterproof, ‘fat German dressage trainer’ coat you’ve been coveting. While it may be tempting to give it all up and go and work in a warm office job for a while and be a wage earner, where you know that the pay check will come in every month, you know in your heart of hearts that if you quit the horses, your soul goes with them.
Truth be told, the industry needs you, it needs small and medium sized equestrian businesses to be successful. For every elite level competitor with huge corporate sponsorships or wealthy private supporters, we need a strong base of all levels, from pleasure to grass roots to regional to national level. We need farriers who travel from farm to farm shoeing Bob the cob as much, if not more, than the remedial guys hanging out under sun lamps in Newmarket hospitals. We need Equestrian Clearance as much as we need Classic Dressage. We need more coaches of adult beginners than we do trainers of Olympians.
Make this year the year that you turn your business around. Change it from a money and happiness draining machine into the thing that brings you joy, prosperity and pride. You know that you have the skills that the equestrian world needs, and that you deserve to be rewarded for that. As business coach Marie Forleo says: ‘the world needs the special gift that only you can provide’. First you need to believe that and know that its true. Then fix your finances so that you are not simply pouring money into a pit and can concentrate on making things better. Figure out your business model and your ideal customer and get your product in front of them. Once you have your base in place look at leveraging that into a scalable opportunity or passive income stream or add a side hustle. And use the platform that you create and the support you will have to develop your dream life.
If all of this has you in a spin and you have no idea what the galloping housewife is on about, then relax. She is here to guide you. In the meantime go feed the horses, stay warm on your hack, and tonight pour yourself something warm and (preferably) alcoholic to drink and sign up for the ‘making money’ newsletters below.
And make having the best Christmas you can imagine in 2020 your New Year’s resolution.
Hot Buttered Rum Recipe (the galloping housewife’s warmer of choice)
In a mug:
2 (generous) fingers of dark rum
A decent slosh of (real) maple syrup
Fill to ¾ with hot water
Small nob of butter
Top with whipped cream (the squirty stuff is best)
Sprinkle with cinnamon