How do I find clients for my training barn?
Getting clients to come to your barn takes patience, a lot of promotion and good communication. Most barns have a head trainer and an assistant trainer that exercise and show their client’s horses. The barn owner may ride, train and show their own horses but not client horses. It’s not expected that one person be able to do everything; having a few talented staff is a necessary component to get clients to your barn.
Put up advertisements about your barn and what you offer on the community bulletin board or in the store window. Include your experience, trainer information, maybe a picture and training prices. People always look at the boards for used equipment, new barns, upcoming clinics, horse shows, horses for sale, trainers – everything related to the horse world. If you have a brochure, leave a couple of extras so people can take them with them when they leave the tack shop.
Be out in your community so people know who you are. Go to horse shows, attend award ceremonies, go out with other trainers to lunch or dinner. If you ride, go on trail rides, compete at horse shows, and connect with other horse owners. Even if you only have a few clients, ask them who they know that wants to buy a horse or get their horse trained to sell or show.
Get a website
Get a professional to design a great website and take professional photographs of your farm, paddocks and pastures, riding trails, barns, indoor and outdoor arenas. The website needs to include pictures of the barn owners and staff that train horses, their background and education. It should also include pictures of sale horses, horses the trainers ride and horse show results.
Even if you only have a few horses go to shows and take your client’s horses. If you aren’t a trainer, take your trainer with you so the horses win some ribbons and get noticed. Spend time talking with adults and other trainers. Usually there’s someone looking for another barn to go to, their trainer moved or their goals have changed. Younger kids usually outgrow their ponies and need a larger pony or horse.
Go to “A” level shows and “B” level shows if both are available in your area. “B” shows are generally for younger kids and teenagers who can’t afford the more expensive shows or anyone just starting to go to horse shows. They usually act as a stepping stone to the more competitive “A” shows.
Other equine professionals
Talk your veterinarian, hay dealer, farrier, other trainers and riders. Let them know you’re looking for new horses to train. News travels fast and word of mouth is great advertising, too.