I started off riding Saddle Seat when I came to William Woods and there were a lot of really good Saddle Seat riders at the time. I decided to switch to Western as then there were not as many Western riders and I thought it might be a better fit for me. To this day I love and look up to Gayle Lampe.
It doesn’t seem as long ago as it actually was. I am an Alpha Phi and loved being a part of my sorority. We showed at a lot of different types of shows and I think that was a great experience. I just loved everything about William Woods. I had never actually visited WWU before attending, but I knew someone who went and really looked up to her, so I just made the decision to go. I had a double-major in Equestrian Science and Business. I thought I was actually going to go into business, and the equestrian classes were just because I always loved horses.
One of the things I loved at William Woods was all of the comradery in the barns and on campus. You had room to grow but it had a good safety net to keep you moving forward.
On a practical scale, I learned how to write a succinct want ad. We learned how to give directions to William Woods for a semi driver. The final in that class was figuring out how much food you would need to bring to a horse show for a certain number of horses. So, it was a hands-on, real-life experience. And even the want ad in the newspaper still applies because good social media posts that are focused and engaging are important.
We learned about all aspects of the horse industry and to work hard while we were at William Woods.
Owning a business
I grew up in Apple Valley, Minnesota, and knew a woman who had gone to William Woods, so I decided that is where I was going to go to. I met my husband in Fulton and we have been together 34 years. We moved back to Minnesota, to the area where I grew up. I followed the business path for one year working at a computer firm.
Then we had an opportunity to buy the facility we are on now and expanded the business. I am an amateur and we began as a boarding barn. We ended up having some older horses that needed a job, so I hired a riding instructor to give lessons. From then it continued on and I hired a second riding instructor.
Along the way, I got an affinity for old horses because they have provided some much for people and can teach a lot in the lesson program. So now we are up to four instructors and over 100 lessons are taught a week.
Beginning to now
When we first
started the boarding barn, we were in the middle of farmland, and
have lots of houses around us and Lakeville has grown tremendously in the last
We still teach beginners to ride, but some of them go on to show with us. My role when I first started out was cleaning stalls and feeding. We built a lot of fence and did a lot of maintenance. I still help with chores, but now I do more on the marketing and business end. Currently, I serve as First Vice President for Tri-State Horsemen’s Association and Second Vice President for the MN Horse Council.
My favorite part of the job is when the stalls are cleaned, the aisles are swept and the horses are fed. The barn is quiet and you can just sit and enjoy the moment.
Advice for students
Be open to all opportunities in the horse business. You can be in the horse industry in a variety of ways. There are very few people who will end up being trainers, it’s a tough job. Current students should look at a lot of different angles to pursue their passion for horses. You also have to remember it’s a business, just like any other business.