Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Farm!

In less than two weeks our family is moving to a small farm on Vashon Island and I will be starting my practice out on the island and in neighboring areas (specifically Pierce County and the Pennisula). I'll still come out to King and Snohomish County if necessary but I will be focusing my marketing efforts in the Southend. I'm a little nervous about starting promotion for my equine massage business in this new area. Maybe "a little" is an understatement! I'm having all those usual thoughts I think most people have "What if I don't get any clients? What if the market is already saturated?" etc. Not to mention honestly, marketing myself is not my strongest trait. Several years ago I self-published a novel just for the experience of doing it, and even though I had a wonderful acquaintance at the time, Josh Ortega, giving me great advice, doing anything to try and "sell myself" was painful and about as easy as ripping out my own teeth. Thankfully, I think I have more confidence in my ability as an equine massage therapist than I did in my abilities as a writer.

 So, I need to just power through that all-too-human tendency to listen to the questioning voices in my head that say things like "I don't think they like you" or "don't brag - it's unbecoming!" that keep me from really selling myself. I am on the fence about whether or not I will eventually do rehab boarding. Right now we do not have the facilities at the new farm to do that so it's not something I need to decide soon. We do have the cross fenced pastures, but there are only shelters and grass pasture and for rehab boarding I would want to have stalls and pea-gravel, mud free paddock areas. Oh, and most importantly and arena! We don't have an arena yet and that would be imperative so that I would have proper footing for hand walking and rehab work.

 It is definitely something I feel passionate about, I am just weighing out the liabilities and the big one, whether or not I would be too emotionally connected to the horses in rehab and would be too sad every time they went home. I have always wondered how people could foster puppies and kittens because watching them leave is so hard. Of course, it's very fulfilling to get photos of Toad with her teen owner out in Virginia and hear how happy they still are together or even with Maiden, my mare who recently went to Montana, it's wonderful to hear how she's bonding with her new person and enjoying her new life. I think in the long run it will be worth it, but it's not something I can even start until we have added some major things to the property.

 I have been looking into giving riding lessons again once we are settled in. But once again, I will need to build an arena to do that. I was asked to substitute next week at  the pony camp I used to work at and I was more excited to do that than I thought I would be. I've really missed my students and seeing their excitement every time they come to their lesson and watching them progress. I looked into liability insurance for riding instruction and my first thought was how grateful I am to having the opportunity to work at the pony camp last year because it really prepared me for how much would need to go into even something as small as teaching three or four kids riding lessons per week. There are far more safety and liability issues than I could've ever imagined if I hadn't had the opportunity to learn from the director of the camp.

The moving truck arrives in less than two weeks so my time is going to be all about packing. Then it will be all about getting the pastures ready for my three horses. Then I can think about promoting my equine massage practice. I am open to any and all suggestions on how to best do that too!

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