The American Saddlebred horse is the oldest breed in the country. It was the first American breed to be officially registered in the United States. Centuries ago, these horses were used on the battlefield. But as time passed, the American Saddlebred has become one of the most popular and well-recognized show horses in the world.
ASHA (American Saddlebred Horse Association) has been in business for more than 150 years. It’s their mission to support, promote, and protect all aspects and activities related to the American Saddlebred horse.
The association currently represents about 6,000 members and more than 285,000 horses over the years.
What makes ASHA so special is their pure passion for the American Saddlebred. Jessica Cushing, ASHA’s marketing and communications manager, has been involved with the breed for her entire life. Her family has been riding and showing these horses for five generations. Jessica says that the “love for the American Saddlebred horse” is why she and her colleagues pursued a journey with ASHA.
David Mount, the ASHA Executive Director/CEO, says “Saddlebreds have been a big part of my life for the past 25 years,” as he explains how he was able to turn his passion for horses into a career.
The members and customer base of ASHA are represented across a wide range of locations, socioeconomics, demographics, and involvement levels. Historically, ASHA has worked with a handful of magazine publications to print content related to the company.
ASHA wanted to bring something new to the table that would improve communication with its members.
More specifically, they wanted to keep members up to date with information related to the association’s primary event—the World’s Championship Horse Show.
About 75% of the American Saddlebred breed is represented at this week-long event. Some of the most meaningful accomplishments in the equine industry happen during the hundreds of competitions at this show.
ASHA is responsible for communicating the live results of the event, which is a daunting challenge when those results are being printed and passed out by hand. Logistically, this system makes it impossible to communicate information in real-time. There will always be a lag between the results and the printing.
Jessica Cushing said that this problem was the “inspiration for starting a mobile app.”
The ASHA team concluded that a mobile app was the only way to maximize the interaction with members by providing them with information in real-time.
Building a mobile app was the ultimate solution for ASHA.
ASHA Executive Director/CEO, David Mount explained, “Obviously technology is changing and apps are the way that people are going these days. It’s nice to bring our members and association up to date with those changes technology-wise through the app.”
People surrounding the World’s Championship Horse Show turn to ASHA for event schedules, names of horses, results in the classes, youth events, and exhibitor information. Jessica Cushing continued by saying, “the app really became the best way to put that information in the palms of people’s hands instead of having to constantly worry about printing something.”
Members are able to see live results from anywhere, even if they aren’t present at the event.
Alexandra Harper, the special programs manager at ASHA, said the app received lots of praise and positive responses from the community during the week of the event. Specifically, everyone loved how instant the live results were.
“People were pretty excited that as soon as the class ended, the results were up for them to look at.”
Not only was the app embraced by members, but it also has multiple uses for different groups of people within the horse community. Trainers and professionals rely on the app for information related to class splits and events.
Jessica Cushing had an interaction with a horse trainer and ASHA board member who brings 20+ clients to the show. The trainer explained how amazing the instant information was. “They could be actively competing during a session and rely on our app to get real-time results of the schedule and where they were in the class. Just one individual was able to utilize the app in so many different ways.”
David Mount, Executive Director/CEO, described the app in two words— “instant gratification.”
Other organizations are approaching David asking how he was able to accomplish this success. Overall, ASHA’s app has had a major impact on the entire horse community.
Aside from providing value and improving the experience of their members, ASHA’s app was also able to reduce operational costs.
Prior to the app, ASHA had to print daily publications to hand out during the event. Just one feature alone saved roughly $25,000 per year in printing costs. David says that number is “even more when you factor in labor.”
Moving forward, ASHA has plans to leverage their mobile app in other ways by bringing it to more horse shows. Since the app’s release, a Saddlebred horse auction is looking to partner with ASHA as well.
David Mount proudly proclaimed, “The success of our app has pressured other equine organizations to look into launching their own app. Their members want what our members have.”
“Thank you BuildFire for making our vision come true and continue to serve thousands of members with confidence and reliability.”