|Trying to work but this happened ;) Jazzy wants to go out so she jumps on top of me ;) More on her in the next post.|
Two weeks ago I started filling in this form which, once filled, will go onwards to be the part of a funding application. I got half way through and became a little stuck on a question which wants me to "elaborate on market needs for services you would like to provide via growing your business'.
Now you see, what I'd like to set up is not a little programme that keeps me happy (although that too for sure) and which quite successfully provides me with a living income. The concept for which the funding would go for is a much larger initiative that involves other people and creates certain responsibilities. It also assumes more substantial interest in a thorough, holistic equestrian training at grassroots levels of the sport in ways that are not necessarily wide spread. In fact, the business model of this initiative is fairly unique in this country (but practiced successfully abroad).
When it comes to bigger projects I tend to believe in ploughing on step by step without overthinking it because the latter usually leads to doubts. And you know what they say about doubts...it's a no-go apparently. We should all be stunningly confident 100% of the time...
Lately I'd been helping a rider whose horse "doesn't go off the leg" so she has issues when approaching jumps. Those two weeks ago she asked me if she could maybe wear spurs to help with the problem. Cue me thinking...well, do I say yes and have the problem "sorted" or do I say no and actually address the problem - I am sure you know what I mean.
The rider listens at first but finds it too much of a hassle to re-educate the horse to her leg aids. This is a rider who in theory agrees with what I say but simply can't be bothered to do the legwork (no pun intended). She is, of course, not an exception.
So yes, I am thinking. I have tried my best not to follow my natural inclination to just "go for it" but rather to get some business glasses on and actually see facts that happen right in front of me...Is there enough riders out there who will want to do the leg work? I am not the next Steve Jobs who can create the need in customers when they don't even know they have that need ;) Even guys who are involved in the Academy initiative have doubts whether it can indeed be sustainable in the form I'd like it to take. Should I re-think? Change angle from rider training to horse training? Plenty of horses that enjoy the biomechanically friendly, holistic training methods ;) If only they were the paying party!
There are for sure plenty of people interested in natural horsemanship kind of services (just look at the mad popularity of Parelli courses) but I can't see myself immersing in that as a business and an every day work. Then, there are plenty of results driven riders happy to close their eye on this and that, stronger bit here, spurs as a novice there, a few gadgets, quick fix now and then. Can't see myself committing to that either.
So the strict question stands, is there enough demand for wellness driven sport training where my passion is, the kind where sometimes an experienced rider has to come back to basics and have the guts to do so or will this growing of the Academy really by like creating an iPhone and then making enough people realise it's exactly what they'd love to do and pay for??! ;)
It is believed one should pick ones battles wisely. I look at some trainers who had been working along the horse wellness lines and who focus of coaching riders. Some seem successful doing what they love doing but they are household "names" or have "connections". It doesn't discourage me as such, I am sure some started from a complete bottom and worked their way up, but it makes me think, what am I missing in this whole plan that perhaps needs to be put in place.
I look at the enquiries I receive about places on training sessions and I am thinking, well there certainly seems to be a demand for what I do that I can't currently fullfil. However, these enquiries are from all over the UK, will there be enough local interest once we find the right facility to call it home. If not, could I somehow cater for long distance riders? And the questions continue. I am telling you, whoever came up with an idea of a business plan, have potentially given many headaches to people like me who want to change a few game rules and see if that makes things better..;)
Are you a game changer? Doing something not many others do? I'd love to hear from you :)
More on my spaniel pup and less of this business malarky in my next post.