• Dyan Vorster

All that is Gold does not glitter

Updated: Jun 13

“All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost."

-J.R.R. Tolkien

I don’t think there has ever been a time in history when people have been quite so confused about who they are and what they stand for. The media (both social and traditional) have so bombarded people with their own personal brand of propaganda (long gone is the age of unbiased reporting), that many people don’t know what to believe any more.

When it comes to expanding your business, whether it be on social media or through paid advertising, consistent branding is the key to successful marketing. Knowing who you are and what you represent is critical to developing your business’ identity.

“Who are we and what do we stand for?”

When we bought our farm, this was the first question we asked ourselves. The answer developed as Ian and I combined our separate dreams into a cohesive vision. For Ian, stewardship of the land was paramount. For me the horses, and developing a profitable business, were the most important considerations. The question then became, how do you blend a boarding facility and profitable business plan with good stewardship practices.

I believe the answer lies in balance. We had to balance the needs of the horses with those of the wildlife that we share the land with. I won’t lie, achieving that balance led to some heated debates - especially when it came to deciding how much of our land we were going to sacrifice to the birds and the bees! But in the end, we both compromised, and that compromise led to our plan to develop hedgerows around the perimeter of our property.

I believe, our identity is perfectly captured in our social media banner and logo:

We are a horse boarding, training, and lesson facility that follows sustainable farming practices, and offers unique farm stay accommodations for guests. It is our goal to make horse ownership, lessons, and a taste of the country life an attainable dream for as many people as possible. We do this by offering exceptional services at affordable prices.

As we developed our brand, we chose barn colors (navy, burgundy, and gold), and created a logo. We encouraged students to wear their barn gear to shows and events, developing team spirit and making a way for family members and friends to show their support. I am so proud of my girls when I see them out their representing our barn and trying their hearts out. They may not be riding expensive, well trained horses. They many never become equestrian super stars. But, after all, that is not what we stand for. Courage to overcome adversity, determination to overcome limitations - and looking darn good while doing it - these are the things that perfectly exemplify the riders at Old Man Willow Farm!

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