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'People have realised in lockdown if you're not online you're invisible'

Industry figures tell us how they are managing in self-isolation

Claire Goodwillie: enjoying watching Better Call Saul
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County Kilkenny-based bloodstock advertising and marketing guru Claire Goodwillie tells us about how she is managing – both personally and professionally – with the Europe-wide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus

How is life ticking over for you at the moment?

After the first few weeks when everything stopped completely, things have got going again. I’m in the lucky position of having my office at home so I’m able to work as normal and it’s very busy now, mainly with breeze-up consignors looking to get their lots online.

Have you found clients have been keen to enhance their online presence in lockdown?

People have realised during lockdown that if you’re not online you are invisible and that even a basic online presence gives you the ability to show off your horses. So yes, I’ve been busy with website revamps and new builds.

Do you think video will play a bigger part in marketing stallions and lots now?

For sure. Video is like photography in that anyone can do it but if you want better than average results, ask a professional. It will be worth the cost!

What advice would you give to smaller operators with little or no marketing budget to advertise their horses?

Get online with even a very basic website. This can be used in conjunction with social media to get people looking at your horses.

Take advantage of the lockdown to negotiate  there are great deals out there. Take note, store consignors!

Kodi Bear: Claire Goodwillie is looking forward to his first juveniles

Do you think there will be any positives to come out of the crisis eventually?

Hopefully there will be a greater appreciation of simple things like meeting up with friends for a coffee and a chat. I’d hope that some of the kindness that’s come out in communities will stay around.

In our industry, the HRI Feed the Heroes auction was a great example of how we can pull together. Over €50,000 was raised to support front-line staff.

What are you missing most that you would usually be doing at this time of year?

That’s an easy one! Going to shows and events with my two children and their ponies.

Any film, TV or book recommendations to share to get through home confinement?

Better Call Saul has passed many an evening during lockdown and we have a good few episodes still to go.

Dark Horse, the original Dream Alliance film on Netflix, is the ultimate feel-good story.

What are you most looking forward to when racing returns?

Kodi Bear’s first crop of two-year-olds. He retired to Rathbarry Stud in 2016 and his yearlings sold very well last year. Hopefully there will be plenty of winners for his brochure pages this autumn.

Read more Life in Lockdown Q&As with industry figures

Tina Rau: 'I'm enjoying post-dinner quarantinis with friends over video call'

Daniel Creighton: 'The market will recover – the only question is when'

Ed Player: 'We're happy to move with the times and embrace online trading'

Patrick Sells: 'Chasemore Farm is effectively operating in a bubble'

Chad Schumer: 'Racing in the US being cancelled is the biggest frustration'

Tom Blain: 'Trade will be down but all we can do is roll with the punches'

Ted Voute: 'We'll need to strengthen the way we showcase young stock'

Simon Kerins: 'We'll embrace any format that will help get horses sold'

Barry Lynch: 'The industry has often bounced back as quickly as it dipped'

Tim Lane: 'Working with horses does you the world of good in these times'

Jerry Horan: 'My sister butchered my haircut. I think it was payback'

Violet Hesketh and Mimi Wadham: 'Social distancing isn't hard - just lonely!'

Henry Beeby: 'Nick Nugent and I have entered a beard growing competition'

Charles O'Neill: 'ITM will be ready to go when the markets open up again'

Freddy Powell: 'We're improving our online sale platform in case it's needed'

Bumble Mitchell: 'Online sales could be tricky for outlying studs like mine'

David Stack: 'I had to give a garda a lesson about the birds and the bees'

Colm Sharkey: 'I've been torturing myself trying to sort out my golf swing'

Rachael Gowland: 'I didn't realise how much I loved racing until I couldn't go'

Sam Hoskins: 'I've been listening to endless Cold War podcasts on my tractor'

Niamh Spiller: 'Video calls are very important to keep everyone motivated'

Jamie Lloyd: 'Staff have had all their own gear labelled, even wheelbarrows'

Micheál Orlandi: 'The stallions are flying and that gives me great hope'

Richard Venn: 'The French are in a good position to get back racing sooner'

Tim Kent: 'It's difficult to plan when we don't know when racing will resume'

Russell Ferris: 'Weatherbys had contingency plans that we activated at once'

Grant and Tom Pritchard-Gordon: 'Inglis Easter has kept us busy since January'

Peter Hockenhull: 'The social side of meeting and chatting to breeders is gone'

Polly Bonnor: 'We've fulfilled every feed order, including all our exports'

Richard Lancaster: 'We're fortunate that some Shadwell staff live on site'



Hopefully there will be a greater appreciation of simple things like meeting up with friends for a coffee and a chat
E.W. Terms