If you are running a horse business by yourself, you might think, “I’ve slapped my logo on my Facebook page! I’m a branding genius! Branding, done!” *** Pats self on the back.

After all, horse business owners work so hard in the day-to-day of the business. Who has time to work ON their business too?

But the reality is that a logo or a Facebook page is just one tiny part of an actual branding strategy.

You are your lesson program! Whether you’re blessed with a huge operation with a few other instructors under you, maybe even some helping hands around the barn or you’re the sole person taking on all the tasks, YOU ARE THE BRAND!

And your Brand Identity has a lot to do with the success and recognition of you and your business.

Understanding Brand Identity for Riding Instructors

Brand identity is how you want people to perceive your riding lesson program. It's the overall image and impression that your business creates in the minds of your students and potential clients.

For a riding instructor, brand identity involves several key elements that together form a cohesive and attractive brand. This includes your visual identity, such as your logo, color scheme, typography, and imagery. Think of your brand identity as the "face" of your business. It's what people see and remember about you. A unique and memorable logo, consistent use of colors that evoke the right emotions, and high-quality photos and videos that showcase your lessons and facilities all contribute to creating a strong visual identity.

But brand identity goes beyond visuals. It's also about your brand messaging— Your brand identity as a riding instructor encompasses your purpose, vision, mission, values, goals, and your ‘why' as well as the personality, voice, unique value proposition, and messaging. The list goes on but brand identity is the essence of who you are as an instructor, your unique approach, philosophy, and the impact you aim to make on your students' lives. Your purpose defines the reason you do what you do, while your vision paints a picture of the future you aspire to create. Your mission outlines the specific actions you take to fulfill that vision, guided by your core values. Your goals provide milestones along the journey, and your 'why' serves as the driving force behind your passion and dedication to teaching horseback riding.

A well-defined brand identity helps you stand out in a crowded market, build trust with your clients, attract your ideal students, and foster long-term loyalty. In essence, it's the heart and soul of your business, creating a lasting impression that sets you apart from the competition.

A Different Perspective

As a southwestern girly at heart, I have wondered why mustang horses have freeze brands? It also helps that my mom has a BLM Mustang that she raised, so I was curious!

The first two numbers represent the horse’s birth year. The last six numbers tell you the state and the herd management area that mustang came from.

Ranchers also brand their livestock. Each brand is unique to that particular rancher It shows at a glance who that animal belongs to in case fences break or herds intermingle. It also stops people from stealing animals as it’s quite obvious who owns that animal.

The point is that when it comes to branding animals, the brand tells you everything you need to know. It tells you when it was born, where it came from, and all the unique identifiers.

Why You Need to Build a Brand Identity for a Horse Business

A well-branded equine business will stand out in a market filled with unbranded, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-breeches horse businesses. After all, a properly branded business tells people that it’s an established business. It has credibility. And you take your business seriously. It shows pride in your business and a commitment from you to grow your business.

It’s easy to see why branding matters when you look at global brands like Ariat or Wrangler. After all, they are talking to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. They are a very specific brands, that definitely need to attract their ideal clients.

While they both appeal to horse people, they communicate that completely differently.
Wrangler is rugged, durable products that appeal to the cowgirl or ranch disciplines. Ariat speaks to high-end products in many disciplines.

The same idea holds true for any small horse business. You might be a one-woman show but the branding for your business is just as important. In fact, it may be even more important. Because you are your business!

Creating a Brand Identity for Your Horse Business

Lets get the base overview of this going. Yeah, I know, there are a lot of fancy terms being thrown at you. Take a deep breath. I swear it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s break down the essential elements of creating a brand identity for your riding lesson program:

Brand Identity Elements:

- Brand Purpose

The fundamental reason for your riding lesson program's existence and the impact it seeks to make in the lives of riders.

- Brand Vision

        Your riding lesson program's long-term aspirations and where you envision your business in the future.

- Brand Mission 

         Your program's core purpose, outlining what you aim to achieve and how you plan to serve your riders.

- Brand Values

         The fundamental beliefs and principles that guide your riding lesson program's actions and decisions, reflecting what is important to you and your business.

- Brand Goals

         The specific, measurable objectives that your riding lesson program aims to accomplish within a defined period, serving as milestones towards achieving your vision and mission.

- Your 'Why'

         The driving force behind your riding lesson program, explaining the deeper purpose or motivation that inspires you to do what you do and why it matters to your riders.

- Brand Personality

         The unique traits, characteristics, and attributes that define the persona of your riding lesson program, shaping how you interact with riders and how your business is perceived.

- Brand Voice

         The tone, style, and manner of communication that your riding lesson program uses to convey its messages and engage with riders, reflecting your program's personality and values.

- Unique Value Proposition

         The distinct and compelling benefit or advantage that sets your riding lesson program apart from competitors and resonates with your riders, addressing their specific needs or desires.

- Brand Messaging

         The consistent and cohesive communication strategy that conveys your riding lesson program's brand identity, values, and unique value proposition to your target audience, ensuring clarity and resonance in all interactions.

Consider This

Every interaction you have with your customers contributes to shaping your brand, whether you realize it or not. You don't need a fancy stable or a large lesson program to start building your brand around your business. Your brand is you and how you choose to represent yourself and your business to the world.

Branding is not just essential; it’s a superpower that can propel your riding lesson program to new heights. It helps you create a community and build relationships—relationships that are the currency in your business.

Over the next several blog posts, we will break down what all this is, why it’s important, and how you can use it to supercharge your business.

Stay tuned!

That’s it for now. I’m excited to be part of The Riding Instructor and I hope my ideas will help you grow your lesson program. Do you have questions about marketing or branding? Ask them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to help.

Here’s to letting the world know who you are!

Alisha Van Harn

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Barbara Ellin Fox TheRidingInstructor
  • Excellent article. Thanks you Alisha and welcome to the Riding Instructor. When you add on boarding horses and running a boarding, training, lesson facility there just never seems to be enough hours in a day. Having “branding” broken down into sections is a BIG help. I look forward to your series on this subject.

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