October 2020 Newsletter

The Business of Owning a Business


I know many of my clients have their own business or work for a small business. You have probably also felt the highs and lows of having your name on the sign and being responsible for many families and their dreams.


I always giggle when people think my job is to play with horses and teach someone to gallop through a field of flowers. I sometimes wish that was my reality. But honestly, I would probably get bored if that was my daily life. I’m too competitive and goal-driven.


Owning a business is hard and then add to that the dimension that my “lights” never actually turn off. Horses need attention 24 hours a day. There is no locking the door and returning 12-24 hours later. Also, add that keeping overhead down while never sacrificing your service is a constant balancing act. Hay and grain prices can fluctuate $5-10 per bale/bag. Insurance, equipment, shavings, vet care are just a few other factors that can make or break a horse biz. The last piece of this puzzle that forever affects an equine business is the staff (my employees).


I know many businesses struggle to hire and retain passionate employees. Restaurants, retail stores, nurses for doctors, and yes the agriculture and equine industries...I am blessed to have a small handful of people that have been with me for years.


Michelle has been with me for 6 years. She gets my training horses ready. Runs the farm when I’m traveling. Assists with lessons on a few nights as well. She wishes she could be “more to the biz.” I tell her all the time that finding someone with her compassion, dependability, and grittiness is not common.


Raymond has been with me for 2 years. He cleans stalls and feeds for me 4 days a week. The other three days it is me. When I’m traveling, I have to pull another part-time employee.


Steven does all landscaping, feeds in the afternoons, and assists with puppy-sitting when I’m on the road. I have 4 energetic red heelers.


Ashleigh needs no introduction. She started riding 5 years ago. Her mom sacrificed a lot to give Ash the ability to ride a ton and lease horses. She moved into performance 2 years ago. Today, she is my right hand. She assists with the babies, training, shows, lessons, and anything else horse or barn related. She runs circles around many professionals I know. She has a bright future in this business. The very near future...


When you look at the people I’m thankful for, you notice that they all have their own roles and they are very important to me and the farm. I am missing and have been missing a piece of the puzzle that I have been convinced I have to have (An assistant trainer or instructor)...


I am proud of all of my past assistants and instructors. Some still work in the industry and some do not. I am thankful for their dedication while they were at LF.


At one point, I had 2 trainers, 2 instructors, and 3 caretakers. It was like herding cats at times. The business was giant and I was bleeding money keeping a huge staff that was making top dollar. It was fun and exciting but honestly, I’m glad my business isn’t there anymore. It’s big in a different way. It’s established differently. I don’t want or need to be like any other barn in my area or the southeast.


I am not going to pretend that I’m not tired and frustrated with the revolving door of assistants and instructors I have had over the years. I get attached.

The clients get attached. Then they are gone after 6 months to a year. It takes a toll on you and your farm.


Today, I am very aware this is all a blessing. Instead of getting bigger, I am going to run in the opposite direction and I’m ready to knock it out of the park! I am going to be smaller BUT give a better service and product than ever before. No one teaches or trains my riders (or horses) like I do. Even the most talented and dedicated assistant doesn’t love your farm as you do. There have been some awesome improvements by the riders and the parents have stepped up their commitment level as well. I have a group of riders and drivers that will be unbelievably prepared for next season.


So I’ve come to the reality that I am not going to bring in any more people to have pivotal roles in my business that didn’t grow up in my program. I will hire individuals to be support staff but they will not be on the front lines with me, Michelle or Ashleigh.


The business and farm cannot keep running with the same business plan that I had in the past. There will have to be changes. Some small. Some large. I’m excited about all of this. My attitude is contagious. Our clients ready to roll with a small and close-knit group.


In the past, I have demanded a high commitment to riding lessons (at least 2 lessons a week). 75% of my clientele shows horses/ponies. Most riders own their saddles, lease, or buy horses as well. This will NOT change.


I will only be teaching Monday through Wednesday. I will be sending some students to other riding programs in the area. My reality is that I cannot be everything to everyone. I will be limiting my services significantly to increase the quality of my product and allow my riders and horses to develop quicker.


I have a large training program. I have more young horses than I have ever had. I have established clients taking on new challenges and green-bean clients that are excited and ready to roll.


My current thought process is listed below. The winter will allow me to try some different things to figure out what works for me.


-we will not be taking on new clients UNLESS they have a connection to a current client in the barn (friends and family connection)

-We will not be offering any casual lessons.

-lessons are Monday through Wednesday only (makeups on off days when Kathryn is available.)

-if you stop riding for an extended period, there is no guarantee that I can get you back on the schedule. There may also be a re-enrollment fee. I don’t want riders to take a break for the weather or other sports.

-horse owners/lessee can ride/drive on Thursday, Friday, Sunday with Kathryn



You will only pay for the lessons you take. Do not prepay first the month because Kathryn and her staff will be in TN for the academy finals and KC for the National finals. There are NO LESSONS Wednesday, November 4- Monday, November 16!

There ARE lessons
Monday, November 2
Tuesday, November 3
Tuesday, November 17-end of the month

Resume lessons  on Tuesday, November 17

**** I can easily reschedule the lessons from Monday the 16th if anyone would like a makeup.


Calling all mommas (or dads) to take over the barn one evening and talk “shop.” Kathryn will be ready, willing, and able to answer all those questions that involve horses, showing, leasing, buying, or anything else farm/horse related you are interested in. I will also convince a few long time clients to attend so they can give you their perspective because they started just like you (knowing very little about the sport and industry).

Friday, November 20 at 6:30 pm.

Please let me know if you will attend. We can figure out food and drinks and have a fun night hanging out and talking and learning from Kathryn and some established clients.

If you can’t attend, I will be available for a meeting after show season and we can chat then. Just email the barn to set up a time.


Landon Farm is going to start a youth club in the near future. I have several moms that will be running and organizing this new adventure.


This will be a way for the kids (of all ages) to meet, bond, and support each other. Furthermore, this club will do several projects to give back to the community.


In the future, I do believe there will be several times when riders can bring friends to the meetings that do not ride at Landon Farm. Let’s get this launched and then we can open the group up more.


If you are interested in joining the youth group. Please send an email with the following info to HOLLIE.



Your child’s name

Date of birth

Current age

Parents name

Cell numbers




Put on several layers before you get to the barn to ride or drive. Here are some great recommendations.

-Riders should have ear warmers
-Multiple layers of long sleeve shirt/sweatshirt/vest/coat
-Scarf or neck cover
-Winter RIDING gloves (not regular gloves, they are too bulky)
-Winter riding pants OR tights under your pants.
-Winter socks that do not leave the rider’s ankles exposed
-Coveralls or ski pants (yes they ride in these)
-Insulated riding boots

***Remember that if your rider gets too cold to finish their lesson, YOU DO NOT get to reschedule. I am in the cold for 10-12 hours per day. Dress appropriately.

Anyone in the people room is encouraged to bring a blanket (electric or regular) to stay warm while watching.


This is a constant question and although there is not a “one size fits all answer” there is a proven explanation.


Many sports have consistency. The size of the court or field. The wood used to produce the court or grass planted. The dimensions, yardage, and how much a ball is pumped up (etc).

The sport of showing horses has very few consistencies. VERY FEW predictable and controllable variables that can assist a rider in their efforts to become stronger and smarter.

In my opinion, there are 4 variables that a rider (client) can control. These variables (if addressed in a positive and proactive manner)can benefit the rider greatly. Cutting corners is not an option in my opinion.


Variables you can control


  1. Proper footwear. Ariat paddock boots are pricey but they have the best soul for stability in the stirrup. Also, they are made to wear all day if your rider lives to be at the barn.
  2. Saddle. Equipment can make or break you. I bought my first saddle as a 14-year-old and recently upgraded to the best saddle (saddle maker) in the country. Saddles retain a LOT of value even if they have aged. I always compare saddles to running shoes. If you are going to jog a few times, then go to Payless and buy $20 shoes. If you are going to run a marathon, then you need shoes with the latest technology. They need to have a lot of attributes if a high-end saddle.... support, made of the best material, construction of the internal components, proven to provide the stability and balance no matter the size of the person.
  3. Practice Practice Practice! There will always be someone in the world with a bigger checkbook and budget. The best way to cross-train and improve is to spend money on saddle time and professional lessons. OUT RIDE and OUT THINK the competition.
  4. LASTLY is being teamed with your partner (horse or pony). It takes a MINIMUM of 2 years to learn your horse inside and out and be able to anticipate what they need in the moment at a competition. Consistency comes from the more you show AND the more you have the same partner. You learn about their personality. Their mannerisms. Every show, you learn more about what makes them trust you, what makes them happy, pumped up, sad, mad, stressed. TRUST your trainer. They know your strengths and weaknesses and they know what horse will complement those but also allow you to grow. We have many parents (spouses) that could give you their perspective on horse leasing or ownership. If you would like additional insight, please let me know and I’ll connect you with these people that were EXACTLY in your position months and years ago...


******. I have several horses and ponies for sale and lease. As you know, these special animals don’t stay available very long. This past month alone, 5 horses have been sold and 1 leased outside of the barn. Please let me know if I can help you on your path to possible horse ownership or leasing.


Emergency: If you have an emergency, please text Kelly or Kathryn on their cell phone. An emergency would involve the health of the rider or horse during the hours of 8 am-8 pm. Emergencies would include cancellations with 24 hours or less notice. Please remember that Kathryn works from 6:30 am (earlier at a show) until 8:30 pm (later at a show). She wants to answer all texts but my schedule often doesn’t allow for it. Please use the cell phone to text for emergencies.




Best way to communicate all non-emergencies is: Landonfarm@yahoo.com


When you email the barn, Kelly will intercept the email. She will then answer the email or forward it to Kathryn if necessary.


Just a reminder that you should communicate all rescheduling and cancellations by EMAIL to the barn


These special young ladies are fundraising for Kansas City to compete in the Exceptional Challenge Cup. Both girls are in different divisions and are the epitome of what is possible when you have autism but you don’t let it define you. The SKY is the LIMIT!

Tickets are $5 apiece or 10 for $40

We have AMAZING donations

Birthday parties, clinics, pain management, top-shelf adult beverages, photoshoots, gift certificates, custom clothes, and much more!

The drawing is SUNDAY November 1 at 4!

  Landon Farm   |   6103 N Church St, Greensboro 27488   |   http://landonfarmllc.com  
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