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Marketing breeding program

From: Sarah and Ed

Dear Jessica, we want to thank you for all that you do for everyone who loves horses. You're our mentor and our inspiration. We look forward to reading horse-sense every week, and we both love your book and can't wait for the next one to come out. You will probably laugh, but we both think that you must be a very highly evolved person to have such knowledge and understanding and compassion. Thank you!!!!!!

In one more year we will both be retiring and we plan to move to a small piece of property we own, next to our daughter's home. We'll do some work on the house that is already there, but it really doesn't need much work done! Our daughter and son-in-law have a horse farm and their main focus is breeding sport horses. They keep telling us that we'll be able to help them in so many ways, but I'm not so sure. We'd like to be useful, though, and we love horses, but I know we can't do farm work, and we just don't know enough about sport horses! We had Morgans when we were younger, but it's been a long time since Ed and I had a lot to do with horses. These stallions seem so big, even the mares and foals seem much bigger than what we are used to!

I guess I'm asking for some suggestions about how Ed and I can be of some real help with the breeding program. Ed is a good photographer and I have graphic design experience, so I thought maybe we could make a brochure for the farm. But that's a one-time thing. I hope you will have some ideas for us! I've seen a lot of my friends just sort of "sign off life" at retirement, and I don't want that to happen with me and Ed.

Thanks again for all you do, Jessica, Sarah

Hi Sarah! Thank you very much, you're very kind. ;-)

I changed your subject line to "marketing breeding program" because I think that you and your husband are exactly what your daughter and son-in-law need. Let them take care of the physical farm-work, plan the breedings, and so on. You're going to be much more useful on the marketing and advertising side of things!

I like your brochure idea, and there are a lot of other things you can do along those lines. Here's one thought:

Any breeding program needs a photographer! Not just for stallion advertising, but to keep a record of the mares and foals -- and, if possible, a regular record of the foals as they grow.

When mare-owners look at stallions, they need a lot of information, and one of the best sources of that information is photographs. Photos of the stallion, photos of his foals, and -- a lot of breeders forget this, and it's really a mistake -- photos of the MARES that produced those foals! If the mares aren't fancy but the foals ARE, so much the better. If a breeder can show photographic proof that her stallion gets great, typey foals out of fancy mares AND ordinary, correct-but-not-spectacular mares, mare-owners will be standing in line.

A photographic record like this is helpful in another way, too. It's good documentation and a useful way for the breeding manager to evaluate the mares that come in. If, for instance, a farm is standing three stallions and a mare-owner comes in and says "I want to breed my mare to stallion A" but the manager takes one look at the mare and KNOWS that stallion B or C is the one that consistently gets wonderful foals on mares of her type, it's really useful for that manager to be able to say "Let's talk about your mare, she's of a type that crosses brilliantly with one of our other stallions, and I'd like to show you some photos..." The mare-owner whose initial plan was to breed that mare to Stallion A may end up with a much better foal from Stallion B or Stallion C -- and the farm will have a happy customer.

Customer service is all-important, because happy customers are the best possible -- and most durable -- form of advertising. It seems to me that you and your husband are going to be in an ideal position to provide customer service.

Just one warning, though -- you may find that "post-retirement" work takes up even MORE hours each day than the work you were doing before you retired! You won't be bored, but if this is a busy breeding program with several stallions and a lot of mares and foals to photograph, and a lot of customers to track, you may end so busy that you wish you could retire from your retirement! ;-)


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