A vendor at a horse show is given a designated space (sometimes in an awful location) but usually, not much else. In my experience, unless they become sponsors (additional $$) few events promote their vendors prior or provide marketing support to ensure their success. They almost seem to be an afterthought.

Horse show organizers have many bigger fish to fry but a vibrant shopping area enhances the overall experience for riders and spectators. It also guarantees future revenue, as successful vendors are more likely to return the following year. So it’s in the show’s best interest to see vendors as an integral part of the event and put some effort in helping them succeed. Here are easy things that could be done.

  1. List the vendors on the website. Bonus: a map.

So many horse shows have a vendor tab on the website but when you click on it, instead of seeing a list of vendors, you get the application to become a vendor. Why aren’t all the vendors automatically listed with links to their websites?  

As a visitor, it’s very practical to have that information even after the show. If I’ve made a purchase and months later, would like another one but don’t remember what the store was called, that’s the first place I would look. 

The American Gold Cup’s website is pretty typical of what you find everywhere. I click on “Boutique’s Row” and get an application to become a vendor. Underneath, a bunch of random pictures. What shops are these? Who knows.

Who does it well: The Devon Horse Show does a good job with their vendor listings. It’s super easy to find on the website. They have the name of the store linked to their website, booth number, and a short description. They even congratulate vendors on their longevity. 

2. Include the link to vendor list in emails

At the bottom of emails sent to competitors or press releases, there could be a link ‘see our vendors’ that goes to that page. It’s not only a service for those riders interested in that information but it doesn’t cost anything to implement.

3. Social media exposure

From a Facebook post to an Instagram story, featuring each vendor on the horse show’s social media accounts would provide additional marketing value.