Posts Tagged ‘social media’

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Goodbye Spring 2010 Semester :(

April 18, 2010

I was thrown into my social media class this semester with a rather limited perspective of social media and how to use it for clients.  But, through blogging I first handedly experienced one tool that is useful for clients, as well as building my personal brand.

Each week I enjoyed the creative process behind blogging.  A new topic would interest me, and then I could research my area of interest and express findings on my blog.  I enjoyed creating posts because I had full control over how they were shaped. 

 My experience…

SURPRISING…How much I learned from my blog.  I was not simply creating posts off information I had stored in my head, but I was- with each post- learning new information about the equine world and its stake in social media. 

CHALLENGING…Exposing my thoughts and writing to anyone interested in reading.  I was not creating assignments only for handing in and grading as in my past scholarly experiences.  My work was there for anyone to read judge, including those I was writing about.

UNEXPECTED…The connections made from blogging.  My blog got those who I normally would not have the opportunity to speak to interested in speaking to me.  It also served as a tool for me to showcase my knowledge of social media and equine sports.

I plan to maintain my blog with monthly posts.  It is my hope that as my career develops the SMEquine blog will too!

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“Many people have sighed for the ‘good old days’ and regretted the ‘passing of the horse,’ but today, when only those who like horses own them, it is a far better time for horses.” ~C.W. Anderson

March 17, 2010

I’m at my family’s house this week in Marlboro, New Jersey, and i’ve had the chance to spend some time at Victory Stable with Mickey.  The barn is pretty busy this week, giving me the opportunity to catch up with some friends who board horses there.  At the end of each show season there are a handful of boarders who sell their horses for new ones.  In most cases they are looking to upgrade or to find a horse that fits a particular need.  Horses get traded around the farm and other local Colts Neck farms, and trainers are always suggesting new prospects. 

But I was interested in what equestrians do when the horse they want isn’t in the NAYborhood or isn’t a common breed for the area.

Surprisingly many times the first ‘halt’ is on Internet social media sites.

Screen shot from horses to buy options on 2BuyHorses

 When searching for a horse to buy, the Internet is often the superior method to find a perfect match. Sellers broadcast their horse through profiles, which have options to upload a horse’s documentation, photos, videos, points, and statistics.  Buyers simply populate the form with the qualities they desire in a horse, and the matchmaking service produces prospects.  Many of these sites host Web forums where buyers and sellers look for advice or tips on purchasing and selling a horse online.  A few of the best horse and rider matchmaking services are 2BuyHorses and Horsefinders.

A tale from a user experience

Alexandra is about to enter university and was ready to give up her demanding show career to focus on studies.  Simply through word-of-mouth around the barn, the line was out the stable for those wanting to purchase her third level dressage, Quarter Horse gelding; but finding an alternative mount proved more difficult.    

Alexandra was looking for a low maintenance horse but one that would also challenge her as a rider.  She looked at prospects around the barn, at the local stables, in the newspaper, and at the tack shelters.  The horses were one extreme (frumpy, old, and boring) or the other extreme (fancy, green, and spooky), no middle ground.

Being an avid Quarter Horse lover, Alexandra turned to America’s Horse Daily, an online publication that discusses all things related to the breed.  This is when Alexandra entered the social media space and her matchmaking journey became simplified.  She found a link to Horsetopia, which listed an abundance of horses in the tri-state area.  Ultimately she narrowed her prospects to four Quarter Horse geldings in New Jersey.  The second horse she visited to test ride had it all, and the search ended there.  Alexandra landed her perfect teammate: a roan, mild-mannered but with room to grow horse.    

Using social media to purchase a horse allowed Alexandria to widen the amount of prospects she could evaluate.  From her home she could rule out or make plans to visit horses based on their video performances.  She could be uber specific in the qualities she wanted, since the matchmaking service did all the hunting for free!

If you are a first time buyer about to start the trail to buying a horse, I recommend you read American Quarter Horse Buyer’s Guide and always have a vet examine the horse before you make a purchase.

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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?