Showing can be fun, challenging and exciting. Every show, however, is preceded by the tedious and time consuming task of filling out show entry forms. When it comes to a trainer or assistant filling out entry forms for the whole barn, it can be downright brutal and take hours away from more important tasks—like training horses. Equestrian Connect [LINK] solves this problem with easy one minute horse show entries.
Olympic Gold Medal rider Leslie Burr Howard and her assistant, Daphne Cline, have 50 horses in their barn they take to shows. “We have 43 horses on the subscription, and seven more on pay as you go,” says Daphne. “When we went to a show with 42 entries, I used to have 84 pieces of paper to fill out. Equestrian Connect took the process from taking a whole day to just a couple of hours. The biggest benefit is taking me out of the office and putting me back into the barn where I need to be.”
A year ago, Equestrian Connect was launched in California. However, in the past year they have expanded dramatically and now offer their services to over 450 shows in Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, and select shows in Canada. Equestrian Connect has grown an average of 200 users per month, and there are now over 4,000 horses in the system.
“In California, we have had a much more personal marketing appeal, since we are able to go to the shows and talk to trainers and show managers,” explains founder Barbara Phillips. “In other geographies, we aren't as personally present, and we are thrilled to see the positive reception the service has been getting. The horse show managers have also been very welcoming, and many are actively encouraging their exhibitors to use the service by putting our logo and link on their websites.”
With the high demands on the infrastructure of the system, founders Simone Otus Coxe and Barbara Phillips were careful to control their growth to other areas of the country to ensure continuing high quality service. They have optimized the code and enhanced the hosting environment to improve performance and create a better experience and the ability to continue expanding to the remaining zones. With four layers of security, user information is stored safely on the system, and it now allows storing the social security number as an option.
“It makes doing entries so much easier,” says trainer Heidi Misrahy. “All the information is right there, so you don’t have to look it up. Using Equestrian Connect saves me at least an hour a show on filling out entry forms, and there are much better things I could be doing with that time. They also send reminders when entries are due, and that’s nice.”
This service not only benefits the exhibitors and those filling forms in on their behalf, but it also benefits show management. They receive legible, complete forms. The forms used by Equestrian Connect are the actual show forms, not computer generated approximations.
“This service is a win-win for the riders, trainers, owners and show secretaries," says Lisa Engel of Horse Shows in the Sun (HITS). "Equestrian Connect has simplified this once tedious process of completing entry forms and by doing so, allows all of us to be more productive. For the competitors, they don't have to worry about their name being mispronounced or their prize money returned undelivered because we couldn't read their handwriting. For the show secretaries, they save time in deciphering illegible forms."
New users may use Equestrian Connect for 90 days on a free trial, and then a subscription charge of $39.99 per year or $8 on a per-use basis applies. For more information or to sign up, visit www.equestrianconnect.com or like them on Facebook.
Photos: Equestrian Connect founder Barbara Phillips; Simone and Barbara; Equestrian Connect Founder Simone Otus Coxe