Saturday, June 04, 2011
The horse industry adapts
An oft-repeated theme on this blog is the hard hits the horse industry has taken due to the litigious nature of our society, the lack of people taking personal responsibility for their own actions, and the insurance industry protecting itself from liability.
Many horse businesses struggle to balance offering the horse experience to new riders (and therefore expanding the pool of horse fanatics) with rising costs. There is no easy solution, but it seems that the horse industry is adapting.
This business model by Coastal Horseback Adventures is an interesting solution, and quite possibly a trend in the industry. It offers training and new experiences with your own horse, but with the support of experts. It is also the way our friends at Slide Mountain have chosen to go, and it makes sense for a whole lot of reasons.
The very fact that the guest is riding their own horse limits the company's liability. When I broke my arm, Kaiser called me and wanted to know if I owned the horse I'd been riding. As soon as I said, "Yes," the call ended. When Steve and I go up to Slide in July, we will still learn a lot, but we decrease Ike and Cheri's risk by bringing our own horses. We don't necessarily decrease our own risk, but it allows adventures without Slide holding the bag if something goes wrong.
The only thing that bothers me--and will continue to do so--is that the pool of places potential riders can go to try this whole horse thing is shrinking. Unless you already own a horse. it is getting more and more challenging to even come close to having any of these kinds of adventures.
And adventures are good. If it hadn't been for Slide and their wonderful horses, I'd have never gotten hooked in the first place. Some might say that would have been better for my health--it certainly would have resulted in fewer things broken--but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Not one thing.