WiRE member supports equestrian businesses to diversify and grow

Posted: 11th September 2017

WiRE member supports equestrian businesses to diversify and grow

I’m Carolyn and I run Black Pig Retreats, a Glamping Business near Shaftesbury in Dorset.   We have three large Safari tents and an equestrian venue, which is available to hire for clinics.

I met Anne Clarke from Connected Thinking, a WiRE member, at Farm Business Innovation.  A trade show aimed at rural diversification, which is held in November at the NEC.  It was there I signed up to her 5-month group coaching programme for equestrian businesses.

By helping me to find out who both my family and myself were, and what we wanted, Anne showed us how to decide where we wanted to go as a unit.  She helped me personally to open up and share – something I had very much struggled with before.

The main issues we had prior to working with Connected Thinking were lack of money and a sustainable long-term income.   With no realistic plan or direction, it rendered us unable to move forward with the ideas that we had.

Through the programme we developed a plan to subsidise my original equine business with glamping.  And now the glamping offers me the chance to do what I love because I love to do it and not because I have to!

The first steps on our Connected Thinking journey were:

  1. Anne and I met up at a time that worked for me. We talked through everything that both myself and my family wanted to achieve.
  1. In a bid to help us feel better emotionally, physically and mentally as well as move the business plan forward, Anne suggested that we had a good clear out and sold anything that didn’t fit with our vision. This was incredibly positive!
  1. We then worked through the practical steps to achieve the things that we prioritised after our initial chat.
  1. Developing and undertaking a business plan and financial forecast came next. Keeping the goal of applying for available funding in our minds we were able to open up revenue streams. With a solid business plan I was able to approach the bank to arrange a loan to get us started.

Changing beyond belief since we began working with Connected Thinking, our business looks nothing like it did before.

We no longer have clients who come for riding lessons and the equine side of the business now works without so much input from me.  My love for horses and humans has stayed strong throughout but my passion is reignited.

We now also have a beautiful and successful Glamping business that is sustainable.  It allows us to keep and enjoy the farm that we love, no matter how hard we have to work!

And, most notably, I am no longer exhausted!!

We can now do everything together and the family unit is much stronger.  We finally have a beautiful future ahead of us and that is down to Anne.

Looking forward, we plan to run retreats, with or without horses. Yoga, Thai-Chi, Fitness, Book Groups and Natural Equine courses – the list is endless!

Getting to where we are now has been quite tough. Wading through mud, mess and groundwork to get our site ready for the opening day was a huge achievement.  Then for the fun part; theming the tents around our beautiful black pig.

The overwhelming feeling from Anne’s programme was utterly cathartic. By backing up and re-affirming the thoughts and feelings that I was already experiencing, Anne built my confidence.  She encouraged my whole family and me to join together and get where we always wanted to be!

I would 100% recommend Anne Clarke and Connected Thinking because of ALL the above. I can honestly say myself, my family and our beautiful business would not have got off the ground without Anne and her Connected Thinking!

If you would like to diversify, grow or set up an equestrian business sign up here for the 5-month group programme that led to Carolyn’s success.

Or visit the Connected Thinking stand at the Farm Business Innovation show held at the NEC 8-9th November.  Anne Clarke will be speaking on both days of the show.  Wednesday’s talk is aimed at those looking to diversify into the equestrian sector and Thursday’s will focus on growing existing businesses.