Alice Cuff, Instinctively Equine
Alice Cuff is the founder of Instinctively Equine. Using massage techniques and energy therapies, Alice’s Somerset-based business seeks to restore a natural balance to horses’ health.
Tell us a bit about your background? How did you become interested in horses?
My passion for horses began when I was three years old. Watching my older sister learn to ride sparked my interest, I rode at my local riding school and helped with other people’s ponies until I was 9 years old when I was lucky enough to get my own horse.
He was way too big for me, strong and crazy. But I fell in love, he became my best friend. Erik was a 15.1hh Cob cross, I was supposed to share him with my sister, but following an unfortunate instant between them I was left in charge. Although I was told by numerous people to sell him, I felt a special connection with Erik. The first few years were long and hard work to keep him manageable for me but this brought us together.
What inspired you to go into horse therapy?
When I was 19, Erik took seriously ill. I longed to help him but I wasn’t sure what I could do. Going through this inspired me to pursue a career that helps as many horses as possible. I want to enable people to build a similar connection to that which I shared with Erik. Instinctively Equine will build these relationships, restoring natural balance in the horses, both physically and psychologically, sharing my knowledge with others to inspire them.
What service does Instinctively Equine offer?
I specialise in improving horses’ wellbeing. I am a trained Equine Massage Practitioner, incorporating energy therapy into the work I do. I have also trained in Reiki, bringing this all together allows me to take a holistic approach to my treatments, complementing my ethos of working on that horse-human connection. When I work with horses I allow them the freedom to lead the treatments.
Why Instinctively Equine?
I decided to brainstorm by writing all the words that my business was and meant to me on a piece of paper. However, I realised that whilst I was trying to create a logical title, when it comes to horses, they act on instinct. Not considering the consequences of their actions, horses rely on fight or flight, an instinct we get in touch with when riding them. My therapy allows them to reconnect with their instincts. I also chose it because when you work with horses you are always using a bit of instinct with what you do, they can’t speak to you and say whether you are right.
How are you marketing your business?
Facebook is my favourite marketing tool because I can reach a large number of people with my posts, sharing pictures and videos of my treatments. I remain very authentic with everything I post, this allows anyone following me to get to know me. I also am involved in sponsoring shows and putting up posters in local shops. Instinctively Equine is very much a referral-based business, and I think in the horse industry it is very important to have raving fans. Therefore, my main marketing strategy is to provide an amazing service that speaks for itself and people can enthuse about to their friends.
How have you grown your business recently?
I’m very much about collaboration. For example, I work with a friend who teaches massage, I tutor for her and we work together to host workshops. This is growing my own expertise and I am making more connections. Yard owners are also useful for networking, they have their own network and connected with their clients network. It can be quite lonely being self-employed, particularly in the equine industry and networking through the Equine Business Association has been a real help in growing both my circle of friends and business contacts. I can share ideas and get advice, both for my specific work and my business in general.
I am interested in starting a horse-related business, do you have any advice?
Realise you have a lot to learn. If you don’t know something don’t be afraid to say and ask for help. Also, I’m all about little wins. If you can concentrate on achieving small attainable goals they can build and give you a real motivational boost. I often recommend for my clients to keep a log of their little wins, this is great to look back on when things don’t go to plan, and for me as their therapist, I can see the progress they are making. Finally, stay true to yourself, and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel instinctively right when it comes to business decisions.
Instinctively Equine offer tailored packages in massage and energy therapy for horses in Bristol, Bath and the surrounding areas.
Instinctively Equine, Founder