Partnering with a Facility
We've been discussing partnerships recently.
In this post, we’re going to explore ways to partner with other facilities. There are practitioners who run very successful programs with no barn of their own. And, on the flip side, if you have an underutilized facility, there are opportunities to partner with other practitioners for a win-win-win relationship!
A little bit o’ Biz Wiz…
In a perfect world, we would all have our own magnificent facilities with covered arenas, a classroom, and acres and acres of pasture where our herds could freely roam and enjoy each other's company in a healthy family dynamic. (Or we would have access to such a facility).
The reality is usually something else. And, we all start with what we have access to at the moment. The key is to START!
I talk to someone almost every week that shares their dream of creating a retreat center for horses and humans where both can heal and learn from one another.
13 years ago I had a similar vision and spent months developing a business plan to fulfill that vision. When I shared my plan with Linda Kohanov, one of my mentors at the time, she listened very kindly and then said, “Schelli, just do the work.”
In a nutshell, she was telling me to stop ‘planning to do the work’ and just-do-it!
One of the biggest (perceived) hurdles practitioners face is a place to actually do the work. A vision of your own ideal retreat ranch is great, however, if it’s preventing you from engaging in ‘the work’ today, it’s unlikely the vision will ever materialize.
In my book, I share an old Quaker saying, “While you pray, move your feet!” I love this sentiment because it humorously declares that opportunities come through action and connection. So true.
Let’s talk about some ways to ‘move your feet in the direction of your dream come true. If you don’t have a facility and horses in your backyard, there could be some in the area that may be willing to accommodate you.
If You Are Looking For A Facility
Before approaching a new facility, be prepared to do a little homework. Learn about what they do there with their horses, who are their clients, what are the needs of the owner/manager/horses/facility.
DO NOT drive in without an appointment and start dumping your brilliant ideas for using their facility on the manager or owner, or the first person who will listen! They don’t know you, may have never heard of EAL/EAP and may resent the intrusion for a multitude of reasons.
If you don’t know how to contact the facility any other way than going by in person, only stop in long enough to find out who to talk to about setting an appointment.
When presenting your ideas for partnering with a facility always think about a Win*Win*Win scenario.
How will bringing your clients to their barn be a win for their horses, a win for the facility, and a win for you (and your clients)?
- Ask questions about the work they do and share how what you do may complement their work. (Example: If they are a lesson barn, bringing non-horsey people to their facility may light a spark for someone who becomes interested in taking lessons!)
- Be specific about your needs and expectations.
- Know your numbers! How will your programs contribute to the facility financially?
- How will their horses benefit by working in your programs?
- Let them know your safety protocols and how you supervise your clients.
- Carry your own insurance for facilitation (or training).
- Offer to create a simple agreement or contract if they don’t already have something.
If you discover their philosophy of horse handling or business management is not in alignment with you or who you serve, don’t be afraid to walk away from the conversation. Even if it’s the most beautiful, well-appointed facility you’ve ever seen. It’s not worth the mental and emotional stress you’ll put yourself through to try to make it work. I promise!
If You Have A Facility
There is an excellent opportunity for other EAL/EAP practitioners as well as heart-centered horse trainers and riding instructors to partner with one another.
If you own/manage a facility that is adequate for hosting events and retreats, inviting practitioners to utilize your space is a great way to generate some extra income and give your horses something different to do!
Again, consider what the Win*Win*Win outcome can be for everyone involved.
- Ask questions about the activities they’ll be doing with your horses and share how your horses benefit the work they do.
- Be specific about your needs and expectations.
- Know your numbers! What are the fees for the amenities you provide?
- Let them know your safety protocols and how you supervise your horses and barn help.
- Require they carry their own insurance for facilitation (or training).
- Have a simple agreement or contract drawn up.
- Require all participants and facilitators to sign a hold-harmless release form.
I understand it can be a bit of a challenge for people who are extremely rural, but I encourage you to check out your local equestrian groups on Facebook. Write up a nice professional ISO (in search of) inquiry if you’re looking for a place, or an invitation to practitioners to hold their events at your facility.
If you're willing to travel you are certainly welcome to inquire about facilities or invite others to work from yours in the Love & Equine Assisted Prosperity FB group. There are equine inspire practitioners there from all over the world!
Start where you are. Do the work. Move your feet.
And when you have the opportunity to share space with another…
Be kind. Be Curious. Be helpful. (Win*Win*Win)
To Your Horse & Soul Success,
My mission is to empower and educate equine-inspired practitioners in the art of profitable program design and marketing. My dream-come-true is to see equine-assisted personal and professional development be recognized and celebrated for the unique transformational modality that it is, and to become as popular as yoga and Starbucks!