A New Type of Horse Show Experience

The equestrian sport industry is rooted in tradition. The sport can be traced back to Greek chariot racing in 682 BC, with the more familiar style of competing dating back to 17th and 18th century fox hunt and steeplechasing. Excellence can be found in tradition, but tradition also leaves way for improvements over time.

Desert International Horse Park (DIHP) prides itself on bettering equestrian sports in and outside of the competition arena. The idea for an online reservation portal for exhibitors originated long before the summer of 2020, but was expedited when in-person transactions became restricted with the COVID-19 pandemic. Over summer, I was tasked with designing the user interface and experience for our online barn portal. DIHP worked with a team based out of Belarus to develop the platform. The portal would consist of:

  • An eCredential process where anyone wanting access to the facility could submit for credentials and sign our COVID-19 waivers.
  • A stall reservation system that allows exhibitors to reserve stalls for any of the nineteen shows during our season. Each show requires customization for stall inventory and type.
  • A paddock reservation system that allows exhibitors to reserve paddocks for their horses during any of our shows.
  • An RV reservation system that allows exhibitors to book an RV Spot and specify any necessary information regarding their RV size and requirements.
  • A daily haul-in system that allows a limited amount of local exhibitors to book a daily haul-in spot for any of our shows to trailer their horses in without the need for reserving a stall.
  • The admin view of all systems and processes to manage reservations, check payment status, and keep track of inventory.

Understanding Our Users

Before jumping into the design of the program, I took time to understand who we were creating the program for. We isolated our efforts towards the Stall Reservation process and spelled out two different workflows for two different types of users. Though there was a common goal between the two groups -- reserve stalls for their horses for a specific show -- each group needed to be asked different questions and have an experience that was tailored to their familiarity with the previous set-up for reserving stalls in person.

Creating an Enjoyable Experience

Once each workflow was ironed out, I began the design process. We wanted all programs to live within the same family, so the design elements were brought over from the stall reservation process all the way through to the eCredential System. Because the equestrian sport industry is so behind in technology, I focused on delivering clear and concise messaging.

Welcome Screen for the Stall Reservation Process. Information from the sign-up process creates a customized screen for the user, showing their name and what barn they are a part of.
A table and color indicators help users easily identify the status of different reservations.
When placing a new reservation, users can select from different stalls and different durations.

Simplifying the Admin View

After creating the exhibitor facing side of the programs, we needed to consolidate all the data received from the reservations into one place: the Admin view. Pulling from my experience designing for a SaaS company, I designed the Admin View to be the hub of the horse show. Because workers would be in the program all day, I created a home page that welcomed the employee, told the local time, and showed the local weather. The left side of the screen is always present and shows which subset of the program you are in: Barn Inventory, Shows, Inventory Status, Paddocks, RV, and Daily Haul-Ins.