Archive for February, 2010


Ethics Everywhere

February 24, 2010
What determines the value behind our actions is an internal code of ethics.  We see our ethics at work when we:

-choose to tell the truth or to tell a lie

-decide which actions are right or wrong

-decipher which actions are appropriate for a specific situation

-select a path of action for certain tasks/ areas of life

We use our personal code of ethics with every decision made.  But, since not all people have a ‘golden’ set of ethics, most organized groups -be it a nonprofit, association, or company-  set forth a code of ethics policy they expect participants to follow.

And the reality of a ‘set in stone’ code of ethics policy is even alive in the social media tools we use.   Many social media sites like Facebook’s member-made code of ethics ask participants to abide by certain central ‘rules.’  At the stable there are mandated codes of ethics as well.

If you want to take a look at codes of ethics, check out The WOMMA Guide to Disclosure in Social Media Marketing or the American Quarter Horse Professional Horseman Code of Ethics.  Also, Facebook has a group to join, the News Bloggers For Fairness In Reporting, to raise accountability for accuracy in blogging.


We see ethical lapses every day and in every area of our life.

On the Internet:

-In Italy three former Google executives were charged with violating Italy’s privacy code for uploading a video of a boy with Down Syndrome being beaten by classmates.

-In Philadelphia, The Lower Merion School District is accused of spying on students through webcam recordings on lent out MacBook computers.

-A New York University student in the Master’s Degree of Science in Public Relations and Corporate Communications program is accused of blatant plagiarism involving the use of online sources.

At the stable:

-A barn presents partially lame horses as sound to undereducated and unaware buyers.

-A women uses hair dye to change the appearance of her horse in a showmanship event.  She wanted to show the horse as a true black but he had a white sock.

-Breeders subject thousands of race horses to abuse and slaughter each year to fulfill the needs of gamblers.  The previous UK Grand National winner, “Hallo Dandy”, was found covered in scars and severely malnourished.


Hello, Phelps Media Group.

February 17, 2010

A few weeks ago I mentioned Phelps Media Group (PMG), a public relations firm that specializes in equine sports.  I want to discuss PMG some more, because if you are interested in the horse industry and social media, this firm is the holy grail.

I am intrigued by PMG because it would offer me my ultimate dream job; it links my passion for equine sports and public relations.

About PMG

PMG launched in 2002 when founder and president, Mason Phelps, secured his first client, the National Horse Show.  He successfully promoted the transition of the National Horse Show, the most prestigious horse show in the US, from Madison Square Garden in New York City to Palm Beach Polo Club in Floridia (PMG headquarters).

Clients hire PMG for its specialized knowledge in the equine industry, ‘out-of-the- box’ thinking, quick media response, proven results, and fresh concepts. PMG’s clients can expect coverage in various media outlets, because the firm produces customized promotional plans, which raise recognition of clients.

PMG Client Roster

To name a few, PMG’s client roster includes: American Invitational (a show jumping event that offers $150,00 in prize money), Dr. Josh Hall DVM (horse performance vet), and Devon Kane (championship rider).  Clients extend to stables, trainers, Olympic riders, equine foundations, and horse and rider matchmaking services.

PMG Staff

The staff at PMG have strong equine and mixed marketing backgrounds.  The team is led by Mason Phelps who holds a list of accolades in the equine world and began branching into public relations through managing equine events.  Other team members- all with equine backgrounds- are corporate communication, financial, writing, photography, and marketing experts.

PMG  Equestrian Sports Network

Phelps Equestrian Sports Network was launched in 2006.  It is a subscription-based social media tool for those seeking equestrian sports news, focused on hunter jumper, dressage, and eventing.  The network represents a hub for equine news, columnists, show results, interviews, and videos.

Check out PMG’s website www.phelpsmediagroup.comYou may be my future competition for an account executive position at the firm!


Show Arena = Social Media

February 3, 2010

Mickey and I at a CJHA show in Freehold, NJ.

I’m learning about the principles for a successful blog. These principles are reflected in the show arena as measurements of success.

For the purpose of this post, “judge” refers to both the blog reader and show evaluator.

The first impression…

When competing in a crowded show arena or for readership on the blogger-dense internet, first impressions count the most.  “In the ribbon” equestrians are first to enter the ring, secure their space, and create the picture.  If the horse is positioned in the herd or has an unkempt appearance, the judge will immediately lose interest.  Successful bloggers lead with strong headlines, blunt points-of-view, and a visual;  this is how bloggers gain and keep the judge’s attention.  The judge must be able to identify what is in it for them from the start.

A perfect ten..

The structure of both the horse and the blog is what matters when attracting the judge.  In the show ring, proper equitation and strong fluid gates are what accounts for a well structured appearence.  If the rider’s balance is off or the horse’s head is out of carriage, the judge will not award points to the duo.  When blogging structure is attractive to the judge, it keeps the eye flowing through the content.  By using sub-headlines and bullets, the judge’s eye can skim through the post.  Short paragraphs encourage the judge to read on.

Practice makes perfect…

Both the rider and the blogger will appear inept to the judge if their presentation is not fine-tuned.  For the rider this means ample preparation prior to the show day; the equestrian will train daily and seek outside advisement through lessons.  For the blogger this means writing daily and commissioning an editor.

The loss of control…

Key to both the rider and blogger is identifying where the control is.  Experienced riders know you can’t force the animal; a tight hold of the horse’s mouth will cause a battle of strength that the 700+ pound horse will always win.  The rider can, however,  use  his or her body (leg, seat, balance, and position) to ask the horse to perform.  The judge can identify a horse that is being forced rather than asked by the rider’s hand positioning and the horse’s shifting head carriage.   When blogging, judges should be open to feedback- negative or positive; this is what makes the conversation.  Bloggers can find control by posting a comment policy and responding to comments.  Judges will identify if a blogger is trying to control feedback by having to register and having comments approved.

Can you think of any other show ring principles that can be applied as blogging techniques?