Part of my full-time job as a public relations consultant involves assisting companies with their social media PR. I have seen some fantastic results- including huge leaps in website traffic, increases in sales (both on and offline) and some businesses have even managed to break into other international markets as a result of raised global awareness.

I would fully recommend getting out there and creating an online voice for yourself. People will be chatting about you anyway so it makes sense to be part of the conversation. And if they aren't chatting about you...well, that means they don't know who you are and that's something that needs rectifying! Here are a few quick tips courtesy of moi for anyone wishing to give social media a go:

1) Firstly....I see a lot of NZ equestrian businesses running competitions through Facebook. Please please bear in mind that Facebook has very strict competition rules (check them out here). If you run a contest based on fans joining your page, tagging a photo or if you use your Facebook page to announce or contact winners of your competitions, Facebook will ban you and remove the page. If you would like to run a competition, host it on Twitter (MUCH less strict) or your website and link it to Facebook. You will get the same benefits re: brand awareness but without running the risk of losing all your hard work building your Facebook page.

2) Make sure you post on Facebook at least once a day. There is nothing worse than a stagnant profile that hasn't been updated for five months...People that stumble across it will just assume you don't do anything or you've gone into liquidation or something!

At the same time....don't post too much on Facebook...People can only tolerate a certain number of updates before you become the spammer and they start blocking you. Unless a special event is going on or the page is unusually active (questions etc), I would limit to five posts, spread out over the day. Twitter moves so fast that there is really no cap on number of posts. Just make sure you don't repeat the same thing over and over as that gets old very quickly....

3) Keep on top of spammers. They do hit Facebook and blogs and if you don't keep on top of it things can get out of control fairly quickly. It does not create a good first impression.

4) Social media is more casual than writing a letter or communicating through other marketing tools. Keep the tone of voice friendly, genuine and personal- don't try too hard. Visitors will want to feel like they are conversing with an actual person, not a robot.

5) Answer questions. Be on hand to answer any queries. Facebook and Twitter can form a great part of your customer service repertoire. However, remember that if questions are asked and you don't regularly check on your social media portals to answer them it can reflect badly on the company. It looks like you don't care.

6) Don't just post details about your company. Don't be tooooo self-promotional. Develop a valuable resource that people will keep going back to because it provides useful equestrian information. Of course, let them know when you have an exciting new product, a special deal or when something interesting has happened with the business, but also give them horsey advice and share relevant equestrian news and info.

7) Encourage people to interact with the brand. Don't simply talk at people- invite them to contribute as well. Ask for results, news, opinions on your products etc etc- be creative. That way you will create a vibrant online equestrian community- rather than a static page where you talk about yourself (boring!!)

8) Check your spelling. Bad spelling and grammatical errors = highly unprofessional (I've even noticed a few proofing this so it happens to all of us if we're writing too quickly!)

9) Have a look at some succesful Facebook/Twitter profiles and learn from what they do and how they interact with their followers. Here are some good ones: Supreme Products Facebook, Show Circuit Magazine Facebook, Show Circuit Magazine Twitter, Equine Trader Facebook, Equine Trader Twitter, Horse & Hound Facebook, Tack Shop NZ Facebook and Abbeyview Equine Twitter.

There are many, many more things I could add but those that I have mentioned are a good starting point. If you're after any additional advice, feel free to drop me a line at and I'll do my best to help you out :)


As you can see, I have decided to ressurect my New Zealand Horse Tales blog! I've missed sharing my horsey ramblings with anyone bored enough to swing by for a visit.

So, I have taken a big broom and cleared out all the weirdo spammers (why people why? What is the point of leaving nonsensical rubbish underneath posts on an equestrian blog?) and I'm ready to roll. As you will know if you read the blog last year, it's mainly showing focused although I have an interest in equestrianism as a whole, so will touch on other sports and topics from time to time.

If you want to follow me on Twitter as well, search for @showringtips. Also, feel free to befriend me on Facebook if you so wish. I will accept your request if you look sane enough. Search for Jennifer Boyes.

2011 Equestrian Social Media Awards:

I think these are such a fantastic idea. I think it's about time those in the equestrian industry that are embracing social media are recognised. Three New Zealand representatives have made it into the finals: Show Circuit Magazine (Best Social Media Newcomer), Mark Todd (Best Use of Social Media by a Professional Rider) and The Mark Todd Collection (Best Use of Social Media by a Brand).

You can vote here and also follow ESMA on Facebook. Voting closes at 1pm GMT on 18th February 2011.


Remember that Head Injury Awareness and Appeal Week begins today (Tuesday, 8th June) If your current riding helmet has a few years under its belt, and/or has had a few knocks and bumps (even one fall can be enough to render them ineffective) get down to Saddlery Warehouse or Stirrups Equestrian.

Both Saddlery Warehouse and Stirrups are offering substantial discounts on new riding helmets.

Saddlery Warehouse is offering a 20% discount on any new riding helmet purchased during the Head Injury Awareness & Appeal Week, which runs June 8-15 this year.

Stirrups Equestrian, located in Auckland city has also agreed to support the awareness week and will be offering a 10% discount on their GPA range of riding helmets and 20% off other safety riding helmets at their Newmarket shop during the Head Injury Awareness & Appeal Week.

Remember you only have one brain and one head and a bad fall can be absolutely devestating. Be safe. Wear a helmet :)


On Friday 21st May, former international model and head injury victim, Elizabeth Charleston, launched THINK! The Head Injury Network for Kiwis, to increase awareness about head injuries and to provide support to those dealing with the condition.

THINK! was created in partnership with the Waikato branch of the Head Injury Society of New Zealand and ties in with The Head Injury Awareness and Appeal Week which runs from June 8th- 15th 2010.

‘New Zealand has a higher rate of head injuries than many other countries in the world with researchers at Auckland University of Technology estimating incidents between 18,000 and 26,000 per year,’ explains Elizabeth. ‘One of the main messages I want to get across to people through THINK! is that anybody can suffer a head injury.

'I would also like to break down some of the attitudes that people have towards head injury victims and the stigma that is attached. Often, even after a sufferer has started to accept that they have a head injury, the people around them do not know how to deal with the changes to their personality and abilities. This has got to change.’

THINK! encourages people to use safety-approved head protection when playing sport or taking part in potentially dangerous activities, such as climbing, horse riding and cycling, and at work when the circumstances or activity being undertaken puts the user’s head at risk.

‘When you get into a car a person instinctively puts on their seat belt. The same level of self preservation should apply. It’s about reducing the risk and improving safety,’ says Elizabeth.

Elizabeth has also launched a campaign to coincide with the Head Injury Awareness & Appeal Week in June that gives equestrians a discount on safety riding helmets at Saddlery Warehouse and Stirrups Equestrian.

For more information on the Head Injury Society of New Zealand, visit their website by clicking here.

THINK! has a Facebook Page at!/pages/THINK-The-Head-Injury-Network-for-Kiwis/378242020990?ref=ts


Equine Trader, New Zealand's leading online equestrian resource, has launched a brand new forum for horse mad Kiwis. You can check it out here.

There are loads of new discussion areas including General Chat, General Horse Chat, Riding and Training, Horse Health and Care, Equine Breeding and Tack and Rider Wear. There's also an area for showing off pictures of your horses and ponies and a place especially for grumbles! On top of that, there are special areas for all of the disciplines, including Showing, SJ, Dressage, Hacking, Western Riding, Classical Training and more.

It would be great if we could make this into a really buzzy, friendly forum where we can share our successes-whether it is out at competition or our own victories at home-, have constructive discussions and learn from each other.

I'm a forum moderator so if you need any help or have any feedback, feel free to drop me a line, either through the forum or by email. I look forward to seeing you there!


I know a few of you have been suffering Show Circuit withdrawal symptoms so you'll be glad to know the next issue will be hitting the shelves this Monday! You can't miss it with Cindy Rowe's stunning boy, Rubin James, gracing the cover. I'm pretty sure that if Johnny Dep came back as a horse he'd look a little like Rubin....

Those of you that subscribe will get your hands on it a little earlier. If you don't subscribe but want to, go here to subscribe online. It's very easy.

I have a few stories in this month's edition of the magazine. Feel free to email any comments or leave them here as I'm always keen to hear your feedback :)

Happy reading!


I was looking through a box of old photos today and it got me feeling all nostalgic and thinking about the first time I got into showing *insert wavery, dream like transition here*

My first showing experience was when I was ten years old with my first pony, an oversized skewbald Shetland called 'Tullie.' He was ancient but hadn't been ridden for years by the time he came to me. The first three times I got on him, he dumped me on the floor and ran back to his stable. By the time our fourth attempt rolled around, he had relented and deigned to let me sit on him for a little while. We used to jump over milk crates and flower beds and raced my brother around the garden (my brother usually won, Tullie wasn't very fast)

We headed off to our first show that first summer, a buzzy local affair, with horses and ponies of all types, colour and quality. I'd scrubbed him to within an inch of his life and got so many comments on how clean and bright his white bits were. I went in some ridden class and spent most of the time up his neck as the saddle didn't fit his rather broad, barrel like frame.

I don't even remember if I won anything, but I do know I had the most fun ever and have been hooked ever since!

What's your earliest memory of showing? Feel free to either share it with us in the comments below this post or email me and I'll add your memory for you :)