EC Blog by: Kory Kumar
When We Work Together, Everyone Wins!
The concept of competitive horse show events offering classes for multiple breeds is not a new one, and it’s something that seems to be gaining in popularity for show planners and exhibitors alike. I have been showing my equine partners for the better part of the past three decades. In that time, I have seen many trends come and go. Some of them, we can all be glad have moved on, but the trend of offering multiple breeds the opportunity to compete at a single event is something that I hope remains for many years to come.
When regional breed horse clubs, or show planning groups, can work in collaboration with one another, there is the potential for a high degree of positive outcomes. The number of competitive equestrians who currently own or are actively seeking to own horses with multiple registries has grown significantly within the last five years. In addition, trainers all over the country have horses of multiple breeds within their programs. In the past, I know of many trainers, who really remained faithful to a single breed association of horses and/or client base. Double registered horses were also less common, and perhaps the decision on which yearly show line up a trainer would go to was easier to determine. For any number of reasons, times have changed, and now the consideration of which shows a trainer selects for their clients to attend is a more complex and multi-layer decision.
The base of people willing to put the necessary amount of work required into competitive horse show planning has been shrinking for years, however, the demand for events to continue remain constant. While some horse breed associations are reporting drops in national memberships, and/or horses registered, the actual demand for competitive events in which the horses are exhibited has remained high. Those of us who love and engage in this sport have shown a tremendous amount of resiliency and stamina over time in the exhibition of our horses.
“Competition makes us faster; collaboration makes us better.”- Unknown.
Since the demand for high quality and competitive shows is not going down, the mighty few of us “show planners” are looking for collaborative partners in horse show innovation. In a recent blog article by Benjamin Jones, he outlined the essential work behind business success. “Collaboration is a hot buzzword in the business world. And with good reason. Working with people who have different perspective or areas of expertise can result in better ideas and outcomes,” (Jones, 2019). Each member of a show planning team has something essential that they bring to the table. Our individual knowledge base is specialized. We need to bring all that specialty together so we can create and host competitive horse shows that are mostly conventional, but with just a little bit of novelty. That balance of old and new is the key to our long-term event success.
Collaboration between associations has the potential to create extraordinary event success. Corey Moseley wrote a blog article about corporate collaboration, in which he stated that organizations which collaborate are more financially successful. Within his article, he outlined seven key outcomes stemming from collaboration. While, the competitive equestrian industry was not his primary audience, these key outcomes apply to us, none the less.
#1- Collaboration supports problem-solving. We have all heard the saying that two heads are better than one. When we collaborate with one another, more ideas are brought to the table for consideration. Competitive equestrians want to attend well-run and well organized events where they also have a high degree of competition.
#2- Collaboration brings people together. Each member of a team brings a different perspective. Within these perspectives are the opportunities to learn from others and develop relationships. Competitive equestrians want to attend shows that offer professional and congenial staff.
#3- Collaboration promotes growth, both personal and professional. There are so many things to be learned from the expertise of others! Competitive equestrians want to attend events that have a variety of prizes and award systems. Collaboration with others allows for new and innovative ideas.
#4- Collaboration promotes new channels of communication. Take for example the recent COVID-19 pandemic and all the new procedures we now use at events. These procedures were developed through collaborative communication between people who had found success. The individual successes of show planning groups were not hoarded. They were shared for others to also use and ultimately enjoy the same levels of event success. Competitive equestrians love to tell others about the events they have enjoyed showing at too.
#5- Collaboration boosts participation. A single breed horse show may have horses participating within it that have multiple registrations. However, consider the increased exhibitor participation that comes from a multiple breed event! Competitive equestrians want to engage in competition. We are literally paying people to judge us, and we want that judgement to be made from a pool of highly qualified people.
#6- Collaboration promotes event longevity! When we can work together toward a common goal, we can create lasting change with a historically relevant context. Competitive equestrians like to attend the same shows year after year. In general, horse people are loyal, however, when shows do not take the expressed wishes of the exhibitor base into account, those loyal people will move on.
#7- Collaboration allows for all involved in planning and hosting an event to be more efficient and share responsibility. “Collaboration divides the tasks, and multiplies the success,”- Unknown. Competitive equestrians want to engage with friendly show management staff who are helpful. When there is a low degree of collaboration, the show organizers can feel stressed more easily, which can impact others.
Exhibitors have choices. When trainers and clients look over the list of available competitive events available for the horse show season, they are looking for specific things. The time has come, my brothers and sisters in competitive horse show planning, to band together! We need now, more than ever, to embrace one another and consider the multitude of talents we can bring to the industry as a whole.
When clubs, associations, and/or organizations collaborate around things like show dates, judges, facilities, and the inclusion of multiple breeds at events, we are better able to strengthen our community and promote attendance. When these groups are able to partner together, in order to offer larger and more inclusive events, which meet the collective needs of the people within our geographical region, we are better able to positively impact the financial stability and longevity of our beloved equestrian community.
“Great things in business, are never done by one person.” – Steve Jobs
Instead of designing our events in isolation of others, imagine the possibilities if we collaborated. Imagine what could come from open communication and group planning involvement. Imagine what our events could be like if we worked together instead of working in competition with one another. Imagine the lasting and positive effects on the industry we could make by doing something as simple as collaborating.
Respectfully Your Most Willing Collaborative Partner, ~ Kory Kumar
Click on the link below for Kory’s 2021 West Side All Stock Breed Horse Show Event Calendar to help foster collaboration.
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