Douglas Emerson Profitable Horseman
Profitable Horseman Newsletter 
July 7, 2010

Do You Know What To Do When The Customer Says, I.C.A.T.!

I wrote the following newsletter article in September of 2008 before the recession stormed into our lives. No doubt some of your customers were pinched by the recession and stopped taking lessons, reduced the amount of training they hired you for or got out of horses completely.  The faltering economy created substantial difficulty and pain for many, but it didn't hurt everyone.

In fact, most people didn't lose a job or take a cut in pay.  You and I saw people buying new cars, dining out at restaurants and taking vacations. When clients tell you they can't afford something, you'll be wise to explore where the affordability judgment is coming from. -Doug

You just got in the horse business yesterday if you haven't heard the cry, "I can't afford that!"
From a non-horseman mom inquiring about her child's riding lessons to a ten year horse owner considering investing in a competitive level show horse, the confusion over price and value never ends.
Ranging from one hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars and more, every buyer has a different price threshold or I.C.A.T. ( I Can't Afford That) level.
And once the I.C.A.T level is surpassed, any price is too much
Price threshold is an involuntary reflex. Programmed early in life, it's a knee jerk, neck spasm and tic all rolled into one.  It's a customer's emergency brake for a screeching, sudden stop for financial safety.
Disengaging the I.C.A.T. response is possible with a good sales strategy.  Part of a good sales strategy includes having the money talk early about the difference in investments vs. costs.
You might explain a cup of coffee, a cell phone bill and a parking ticket are costs. 
Education, recreation and happiness are investments.
As examples in connection with horses, money is invested in:

  • Boarding fees
  • Riding lessons and training
  • A new horse

In your money talks with prospects and customers, re-frame their thinking about spending money to include value in the present and future as they become better horsemen matched with the right horse for them.  Here are some things to say that will help with prospects and customers.



To be profitable in this industry, it's impossible to charge less and offer more.

The question your customer must answer is, "With the limited amount of time I have to spend with my horse, do I want  to tolerate inferior facilities, put my horse at risk with sub standard care and jeopardize my ability to ride a healthy horse whenever I visit just to save comparatively few dollars each month? 


Riding Lessons


A forty five dollar riding lesson once a week may sound like a self indulgent luxury.  But, without coaching on a regular basis, the best professional athletes admit their performances begin to deteriorate.  At an amateur level, your
investment in riding lessons will create personal joy and yield measurable progress

Purchasing a New Horse


A horse with poor behavior, an aloof attitude or that has plateaued for advancement is a draining experience.  An owner with the wrong horse pays a huge emotional price in the form of disappointment, frustration and a damaged ego. The board, health care and farrier expense are about the same for all horses.  The question that screams for an answer is, "If horse ownership is for my fun, recreation and personal growth, why don't I make the
right investment to put the joy back into my experience?"

Work on your responses to I.C.A.T. price challenges. 

Sell on value instead of price.

Let your competitors be the discounters.

Others have said

"Your true value depends on what you are compared with."  --  Bob Wells
"A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money."  --   Senator Everett Dirksen 

"The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated."  --   H. L. Mencken

Back At The Barn

barn windowA very hot Fourth of July holiday pushed some of the family away from the barn and closer to the water's edge.

A hike along the Lower Niagara River Gorge in Devil's Hole NY State park was mostly in the shade and very relaxing.  While the Falls at Niagara are amazing, the beauty and power of the Lower Niagara rapids at Devil's Hole can only be appreciated by hiking down 200 feet on stone steps and a trail built for goats. 

For those who'd rather view the rapids while in them there is Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours. We watched the fun from the river's edge. It's a water ride and roller coaster all in one.  Next on the summer adventure list.
 whirlpool jetboat

equineGenie Software Demo
eG pro boxDitch Your 3 Ring Binders, Legal Pads and Sticky Notes Now!

Click here to learn more about how you can view your horse and business records instantly wherever and whenever you want.
I work with professional horsemen and women struggling with the business half of the horse business.

If your business is stuck in the no profit zone, contact me. 

Until next time,


Doug Emerson
Profitable Horseman Deewochagall
Join Our Mailing List
Quick Links

Find me on Facebook

Back to Articles Page