In its second year, the Time to Ride Challenge marked a 63 percent increase in reach over the 2014 program and awarded $100,000 in cash and prizes.
The Time to Ride Challenge, a grassroots competition offering $100,000 cash and prizes to stables, clubs and businesses that introduce new people to horses, reached a grand total of 41,428 new horse enthusiasts throughout the summer-long program. Participants in 49 states hosted beginner-friendly horse events to stimulate interest in riding and grow their businesses. In its second year, the Challenge marked an amazing 63 percent increase in reach over the 2014 program.
Participants planned, promoted and hosted events designed for newcomers who are interested in horses, but have minimal riding or hands-on experience. These beginner-friendly events included riding, grooming or petting horses; many offered crafts, games and educational components.
“Research suggests that as much as 30 percent of Americans have positive feelings about horses or riding, but that doesn’t mean they are currently involved with horses,” said Patti Colbert, Time to Ride spokeswoman. “Our hosts do a fantastic job of bridging that gap. By specifically reaching out to ‘non-horse’ people, they’re growing their own client base by making horses more accessible to local families who may need some guidance getting started.”
While the majority of competing hosts were riding stables and instructors, other participants such as trail ride businesses, 4-H and regional clubs, rescues, youth camps and veterinarians also took up the cause.
The winner of the small division is Namaste Equine Rescue LTD, a volunteer-based organization that works with law enforcement to rescue horses in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area. Throughout the Challenge, they introduced 3,402 newcomers to horses through 19 beginner-friendly events. Michelle Rivera, who founded the rescue in 2013 and runs a holistic veterinary practice with her husband, said “the best part of the Challenge was being able to help families find the perfect horse experience. We have a great network of local barns, and we met families who didn’t know where to take their kids for riding lessons. It’s our job to direct them, and we loved helping these new families find the perfect place to get more involved with horses.”
Learn more about the winners of the Time to Ride Challenge.
Compliments of AQHA