Four years ago, all we wanted was a second lead.
In 2016, we have more than surpassed that initial simple desire with the release of multiple RealHorse horse breeds, that not only have both leads but many other features unique to Second Life including rigged sidesaddle skirts that lovingly conform to the horse, a full suite of lateral movements that include shoulder in, cantered and trotted halfpass, and suites of gaited animations and haute ecole movements.
In our year in review, the Elite Equestrian team released 28 separate horse breed avatars – that was 14 breeds each with 2 genders. (Cleveland Bay, Quarter Horse, Crabbet Arabian, Straight Egyptian Arabian, POA Pony, Hackney Pony, Miniature Horse, Falabella, Lipizzan, Lusitano, Trakehner, Friesian, Gypsy Vanner, and Percheron).
In addition to this, we have also released more than 1,500 new products in our in-world store, and more than 1,100 new products in our Marketplace store, which included about 260 skins (coats), more than 50 eye styles, 20 hair styles for all 14 breeds of horse, and 55 different kinds of tack and accessories.
Our team has put together presentations and sponsored exhibitions that have allowed our RealHorse horse breed avatars to appear at nine unique events with our horses & carriages or sleighs. These included:
- Sponsored the Spoonful of Sugar Festival, generating more than $55,000 L in charitable donations to Doctors without Borders.
- Sponsored the Relay for Life Christmas Expo and provided horses & sleighs plus a full pony ride, generating good will and untracked donations.
- Co-presented the Winter Festival for Toys For Tots, generating more than $95,000L in donations.
- Live Trick or Treat, with more than 275 unique visitors
- Sponsored the Annual Christmas Expo for Toys For Tots, providing horses and sleighs and a full pony ride.
- 3 Tour of Lights installations, with 7 individual horses and sleighs at 3 locations.
Our charitable activities resulted in donations totaling more than $150,000L.
Not content to rest on these laurels, in response to customer requests we also created a unique, narrative driven equestrian roleplay, including a full web site and registration system. We also developed new equestrian roleplay training accessories, including ground and harness training HUDs and training cart and sleigh HUDS.
We have also created multiple specialty markets including Memorial Day, 4th of July, Halloween, and Winter Holidays, renovated Cherry Island twice, and built a full themed event sim in under 3 days, complete with signage and scripting. We built a unique exhibit and participated in Second Life’s 13th Birthday, with many visitors participating in various ways.
This year we have also been nominated for four different AviChoice Awards, and we’ve received several awards and commendations for our work for Toys 4 Tots and the Winter Festival.
Finally, we have started the laborious process of placing all of our documentation on the web.
Last, but not least, as part of our ABC hobby, Honey continues to breed award-winning ABC ponies for the Elite team to show. This year we have racked up 3 Best In Show, 3 Reserve Best in Show and multiple Best of Breed/Reserve Best of Breed wins. We also hold the current speed record for the ABC QL4 Sled Racers held by Lanz 134 with one of our Dales ponies, surpassing our previous speed record set by DarkSunflower in August 2016 with one of our Dales ponies.
Pictures of our year:
What’s planned for 2017?
Not surprisingly, we have a new bento-rigged RealHorse in the works. This next generation of RealHorse features an original skeleton that enables true extension and collection of the horse and focuses on refining the true-to-real life horse experience. We’ve rebuilt the rig
thirteen fourteen times so far and will rebuild until we feel it is as close to perfect as we can bring it within the confines of the Second Life Platform. In addition to our usual dedication to excellence and accuracy, you can expect some stellar things from this horse – true pastern joints, stifles, correct and accurate neck set and of course, built in gender differentiation and actual breeds with correct breed characteristics and accurate gaits. Of course, all of our unrigged tack, coats and eye HUDs for the RealHorse v2 will continue to work with this next generation of RealHorse.
We will also be focusing on some new things for the coming year. The success of our horse installations have shown us that people love to have the RealHorses in their sim, and we will be making it easier for both individuals and events to have these wonderful experiences added to their spaces. We have already begun selecting our events for 2017 to put back into the community.
We will also be launching the new All Breeds Club for ABC horse and pony owners, breeders, racers and trainers. Our thoughts are that it can be challenging for new owners to understand the nuances of the ABC horse, and existing information simply doesn’t address enough of the questions new owners or breeders have. Although our particular focus is on ponies, others in the organization will focus on horses. Some of our planned events and activities include an extensive pony breeding seminar presented in January by Honey, Breeder Show & Tells, and more.
As if that’s not enough, we will be focused in the first quarter on a new project for the Elite Riding Academy which we expect will launch concurrently with the new generation of RealHorse. We will also be working to catch all of the breeds up on our various tacklines as well as catching our ABC tack line up with the pony breeds.
It’s been a great year and we have been delighted with the response to our RealHorse avatars. We are looking forward to a very exciting year for all with these great new initiatives.