In any IRS audit of horse activities, one issue will be the extent to which the taxpayer has advertised horses for sale. Advertising is considered to be an effective type of promotion to attract customers, and if you do not advertise or otherwise promote the sale of your horses, the IRS will argue that you are not engaged in a business because you don’t care about selling your product. This is true whether your field involves race horses, show horses, or stud services.
There are horse shows that go on for years with great success and then it suddenly ebbs, with the show holders never knowing why. Other shows may be just as confused when they have a year with a huge jump in participation for no obvious reason.
Whether your show is growing, failing, or remaining pretty much the same from year to year, knowing why is useful. If you have good data on why people like your show or chose to pass it up, you can build on the positive features and correct the bad ones.
Word of mouth is the most obvious way to find out what people think, but it is not necessarily the most dependable. Some people hesitate to say what they are really thinking because they do not want to offend anyone, or because they don’t feel that their problems are big enough to matter. On the other side, there are always a few people who come away from a show angry and have no problem telling everyone their complaints.
An anonymous survey is probably the best way to get a real picture of how entrants feel about a show. You can do it on site by providing paper survey forms that can be completed and turned in at the show or mailed later, but there are modern ways that may work better. Survey Monkey and other services provide quick and easy ways to get feedback on your horse show, or create a survey of your own for entrants to fill out along with their online entry forms. People who would not bother to take the time to fill out a printed form with pen or pencil might be more likely to respond to an e-mailed survey request. You can add to the incentive for people to respond by offering a prize of some sort to the winner of a drawing from all respondents.
Do the horse shows that you attend operate as a part of the larger community or do they go their own way without regard to what is happening in the horse world around them? If you are a horse show manager for your stable or breed club, you may want to look at the world around your show as you plan your next event instead of operating in isolation. If your goal is to bring in competitors and spectators, and promote your breed in the process, then you need to look at the bigger picture.
An acquaintance that owns a boarding facility is experiencing financial difficulties. Due to the fact that I burned up some aging brain cells while trying to explain where they had made mistakes and how to possibly correct them, this article was produced. Please remember that I live in the northeast and have based much of my research on what I see for costs in this area. You need to do your own research in your area and determine if boarding is even a worthwhile business endeavor for you to start or remain in. When hired as a consultant I attempt to give businesses sound economic guidance. Unfortunately, when I am contacted, I usually find that there are major problems already existing. There isn’t any miracle formula that will turn bad management practices around. Solutions do exist if management is willing to take the steps to get control of their unique situation.
Spring is here for most of us — time to take a break from the daily grind, clean up, and start anew. The tradition of spring cleaning is just as important around the barn as it is around the house, and horsemen can benefit from making the major effort to clean up and start the season right.
Start with your barn — there may be a lot of work to do but it is easy to identify. Of course you groom your horses, and keep their stalls clean but the start of warm weather is also a good time to scrub stall walls and give those stall mats a good cleaning.