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Archive for the ‘Profile On’ Category

Profile On: Marilyn J Agee, Horse Property Real Estate Agent

What is it exactly that you do?
I am a Real Estate Agent specializing in horse property, farm, ranch and land. I own 5 horses so I know what it takes to purchase property that suits their specific needs.

Premier Town and Country Realty Logo

Premier Town and Country Realty Logo

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes it can be very lucrative. But my focus is more about helping people.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Over 600 hours of study and a state exam and license approval by the Texas and National Association of Realtors.  Plus continuing education each year to maintain my license.

Favourite horse memory?
That’s a hard one. Was it my first ride when I was 3, was it when I won a first place ribbon for jumping when I was 12? Or was it when I bought my first horse Chochese an Appaloosa when I was 21, was it when I purchased my heart horse KoKo 10 years ago?

Or when I decided to take a new softer approach to training because she had shut down. It took about a year and a half to gain her trust but when I first saw her with a big swinging walk and a very confident tail lift as if she owned the world. I think that was it.

Future goals?
My future goals are to help people find that perfect horse, farm, ranch or land to build their dream home. I love helping people find the right fit for their specific needs.

Marilyn

Marilyn Agee, Horse Property Real Estate Agent

Buying a ranch or farm or next home is usually the largest investment people will make in their life. I want to help make that investment/home for their families and animals be everything they want. Most of my business comes from referrals and I’m proud of that.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I get to work with horse people mostly, I understand their needs. It’s not just a home to them it’s a home for their horses and horses have special needs. I know what they are.

Being outdoors showing properties in the country is something I love. I also love talking about horses but any farm animals, or crops or whatever their focus is. I have a Farm and Ranch Certification, I am a preferred Texas Veterans Agent, I have a GREEN certification, and am a Premiere Luxury Marketing Consultant.

Profile On: Blair McKissock, Director of Education at Strides to Success

Blair McKissock was kind enough to answer some questions about her work with Strides to Success.

Strides to Success Logo

Strides to Success Logo

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
60+ hours of what I do every week is related to horses. This includes direct service with clients, the marketing and training program coordination, proctoring online coursework and facilitating training programs.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am the director of education for Strides to Success in Indiana. My job is to implement and coordinate special programs.  I write the programs up to be published as curricula and resources for the industry, and facilitate the HorseWork Education training program.  I also coordinate the online courses, provide direct service in equine assisted learning and therapy.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes!! If you create a diverse stream of income.  Also, collaborate with other organizations in your area, do your homework on the program planning process to accurately match your programs to the needs in your community.  And if you are passionate enough to persevere through the hard stuff.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Certification through a credible program, experience and skill with both horses and humans, good partnership with a barn or barn of your own, desire to never stop learning!

Favourite horse memory?
There are so many it’s hard to choose.  This one in particular was the foundation for the Equiyo-yoga on horseback book so is it special to me.

I had been working with a client with multiple sclerosis.  She would get on her horse and proceed to canter lap after lap. She was very high energy but would never talk about her diminishing ability to maintain balance and her decrease in strength as the disease progresses.

Every lesson it would take her a long time to mellow out and encourage the horse to walk. You could tell that the horse was clearly reflecting the excess energy and whirlwind that must have been in the rider’s head. One day we spent time focusing on breath work and talking about her situation before she even got on.

After she mounted we moved through some basic yogic breathing and posture work so she could feel the horse move under her. She began to talk about her fear related to her decline. As she talked, the horse took a huge breath and immediately the horse calmly walked. Once she acknowledged that she kept herself busy so she intentionally didn’t notice or pay attention to what was going on in her body, things changed between her and the horse. It was amazing to see!

A Workshop at Strides to Success

A Workshop at Strides to Success

Future goals?
My goal is to continue doing what I am doing but take it to the next level. My professional goal is to continue supporting the industry through committee work with professional organizations.  The aim is to develop guidelines so that as we move forward, we will be on the right track to protect the integrity of what we do.  This will help keep both clients and horses safe.

I also want to create more curriculum and resources that have been on the back burner for a while.  As well as take this work and teach more on a regular basis at the University level to help establish academic programs for training and certification.

Currently I teach online courses through Strides to Success including an online therapeutic riding apprentice course.  I want to expand those to make continuing education as affordable and accessible as possible. My hope is that things are set up for the next generation of equine professionals to take the reins and go further than we have dreamed of.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing is that it is just the beginning. We are learning more and more every day about how interaction between horses and humans can be so beneficial to both. There is so much more to learn and explore.  And lots of opportunity for people to jump into this industry and help blaze trails! This can also present quite a challenge to people who are just starting out and are trying to figure out how to get the training and experience they need to do the work safely and effectively.

Every person who hangs a shingle and facilitates equine assisted learning and therapy as their profession represents the entire industry. Since we are growing and becoming recognized, that means we are under ever greater scrutiny.  Therefore we need to take our ethical and professional responsibilities seriously.

There is very little oversight or accreditation within our industry currently. There are organizations beginning to go through that process and things will change. But it is highly recommended to new professionals that they do their homework on those they get training through. There is a great resource on the PATHIntl.org website on equine assisted learning competencies and guidelines. These can be a great benchmark to compare the content and outcomes of a training you are considering before you invest money.

Debbie Anderson, the executive director of Strides to Success and I spent years working with PATH International.  This was alongside a fabulous team of industry experts to develop those and hope they become a resource for the industry moving forward.

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Profile On: Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

Equine behaviourist and therapist Elena Bajona was kind enough to answer some questions about what she does at Animantia. Her answers can be found below.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I am dedicated to horses 24/7

Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

What is it exactly that you do?

  1. Experienced Equine Manager – Charming and friendly with excellent management skills and very good understanding of the variables in the horse breeding industry.
  2. Equine applied behaviorist & therapist – Specialized in equine welfare, in cognitive behavioral therapies and massages for horses.
  3. Talented trainer with extensive experience in the horse industry and multiple residences abroad.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
In Italy is very difficult, that is why I want to relocate.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Have excellent experience.  Be honest, love animals and have a lot of compassion.

Favourite horse memory?
My first horse I saved who passed away a few days ago. She has filled my life with huge emotional moments.

Future goals?
Work for a high – end professional breeding center, stud, training center, horse rescue center. I am willing to relocate because in Italy the Horse Industry is decreasing each year and nowadays my experience and expertise are more sought-after and appreciated outside of Italy. Furthermore I would like to put my expertise into the hands of people who can appreciate my expertise including my total respect for the nature of the horse.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I am feeling satisfied and happy when I know I can use my expertise to help horses and people.

“A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.” ― Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Profile On: Marty Clark of Major’s Horse Massage

Marty Clark runs a horse massage business, Major’s Horse Massage.  She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about what she does.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Half of my week is taken up with horses, as I do not own a horse and I only do this work on a part-time basis.

What is it exactly that you do?
My name is Marty Clark, I do equine bodywork, and the name of my business is Major’s Horse Massage.

Marty Clark, Major's Horse Massage

Marty Clark, Major’s Horse Massage

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I do this only on a part-time basis, but I believe if you worked much harder than I do, you could make a living in this business.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I became certified through Equitouch Systems a few years ago, which gave me a certification in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. I am currently seeking an advanced certification in the Masterson Method. The latter is not required (though extremely desirable), but some form of professional certification is required.

Favourite horse memory?
I am afraid that I do not have a favorite horse memory. Although I volunteer at a therapy barn, I do find that rewarding. Therapy horses are put through the paces due to the varying types of clients who ride them; I derive a sense of satisfaction knowing that what I do helps the horses serve their students better.

Future goals?
My future goal is to obviously grow my business, but more to obtain a Masterson Method Practitioner Certification, an arduous, but rewarding journey.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Best part of horse massage? There is NO stress and it is all about standing right next to your best friend!

Profile On: J. Alonzo Cavazos of Ooh La Leche

J. Alonzo Cavazos was kind enough to answer some questions about a unique horse business – Ooh La Leche Mare’s Milk – set up in the United States. You can read the answers below.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Being as to how I am at the helm of our company and online store, I spend approximately 30 hours a week in the business.

Ooh La Leche Mare's Milk

Ooh La Leche Mare’s Milk

What is it exactly that you do?
We are producers of mare’s milk and mare’s milk products right here in the United States.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
In this profession it is definitely feasible to work full time and earn a great living. The Mares Milk Industry is booming in Europe and Asia.  We are also on the rise here in the United States.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
First and foremost, the owner/founder of our company worked hand in hand with an Amish Community for several decades before being able to start the business. He traveled to Europe and met with Mares Milk business owners in order to learn all about the Industry. A lot of time and preparation took place before opening our online store.

Ooh La Leche Mare's Milk

Ooh La Leche Mare’s Milk

Future goals?
Our future goals are to introduce several new products to our inventory. We will be adding 100% All Natural mare’s milk capsules and mare’s milk pouches in the near future. At this very moment we are also seeking investors. Business oriented individuals that will not only invest money into our company, but individuals willing to partner with us and help us in our future decisions.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about this business is that I’ve learned so much about mares and the entire industry that revolves around mare’s milk.

Profile On: Sherri Davis of Equisynergy

Self employed remedial equine massage therapist Sherri Davis kindly took the time to answer some questions about her work and her business Equisynergy.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I would currently spend approximately 40 hours a week between working with horses and studying horses. Due to study I would say my current workload is part time. I travel quite a bit as I am mobile which also makes me a versatile option for horse owners.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am a remedial equine massage therapist.

Remedial Equine Massage Therapist Sherri Davis of Equisynergy

Remedial Equine Massage Therapist Sherri Davis of Equisynergy

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I am self employed with my business Equisynergy. Self promotion has built up my business.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
As a remedial equine massage therapist, I graduated in 2012 with the Diploma of Remedial Equine Massage Therapy. I am currently in my final year of Equine Science and also studying Vet Tech at Charles Sturt University.

Favourite horse memory?
Gosh i have so many favourite memories but I would have to say fast working our standardbred horses with dad on our property when i was a teenager. Such a thrill, especially when i got my trainers/drivers licence at age 16.

Future goals?
Future goals are to incorporate rehab and mobile vet nursing in with my massage, hence all my studies. I would love to be able to treat horses holistically including nutrition and wound care.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Seeing a difference in the way a horse moves after treatment. Also the response whilst massaging; they are very demonstrative about letting you know when it feels good!

“Employers are like horses — they require management.” ― P.G. Wodehouse

Profile On: Alyssa Knee, Brunette in Breeches

Alyssa Knee has recently had a book published about her lordotic horse, Spike.  You can read a review here.  Alyssa kindly took the time to answer some questions about her life and involvement with horses.

Alyssa Knee, Brunette in Breeches

Alyssa Knee, Brunette in Breeches

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
A decent chunk of my day is related to horses, both directly and indirectly. I’m lucky in that my horse Spike is agisted just a few minutes from my house so I am out with him every day. A lot of my day is also taken up writing for my equestrian blog, Brunette in Breeches.  This details Spike’s life and our journey.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am an administrative assistant for local government during the day but I am also a writer. I’ve been writing for my blog, Brunette in Breeches, for a little over 12 months and during that time have been lucky enough to work with some major publications like Hoofbeats, Horsewyse, Horse Nation and Horse Network. I’ve also recently
released my first novel about my horse, Spike. Spike has a rare congenital condition called equine Lordosis which causes his back to have a swayed appearance, our hope is that via our blog and other equestrian related media outlets that we can educate the equine community about the condition and the effect it has on the horses who have it.

Alyssa Knee with her Lordotic Horse, Spike

Alyssa Knee with her Lordotic Horse, Spike

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and
earning a liveable income?
When I figure that out I will let you know!  Right now I am juggling a full time job and writing on the side.  Although I would love to be able to make my blog my main source of income – that is the end goal.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I don’t think there’s any one particular pathway to becoming an equestrian blogger. I started with little to no knowledge of blogging.  But I have learnt about how to be a blogger and what it takes to maintain a blog over the last 12 months (and I’m still learning!). My biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to start an equestrian blog is to just throw yourself into it.

Favourite horse memory?
My favourite memory with Spike would be from the day that I got him. To get to the house we were living in at the time you had to go about a kilometre down a dirt driveway and cross an old wooden bridge over a narrow creek. The bridge was an old rickety thing. It had no side rails, there were small gaps between the planks and it creaked because most of the planks were loose.

I had asked my partner to walk Spike up the driveway while a friend and I followed behind in the car, but when they got to the bridge Spike stopped and despite all the persisting in the world he simply refused to cross. We stopped the car behind them and I got out.

I walked over and took the lead rope from my partner and stood with Spike for a few minutes. Then I gave him a rub on the face and the neck and simply spoke to him. I don’t remember exactly what I said, I’m sure it was a lot of nothing but it felt right. We must’ve stood like that for a good 10 minutes or so before I asked him if he’d cross the bridge with me. I took the first step, Spike followed and we crossed the bridge together. He didn’t hesitate, he didn’t spook, he wasn’t afraid. He just crossed, like it was nothing.  Like he just trusted that I wouldn’t ask anything of him that he couldn’t do or that would put him in danger.

Future goals?
My current professional goals are to continue growing the blog and educating the equestrian community about equine Lordosis. As far as my riding goals, I would really like to bring Spike back in to more regular work and try our hand at show jumping. He was originally bred to be a jumper.  So it’d be interesting to see whether it’s something he would enjoy or excel at.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about the equestrian community is the people. Since I started my journey with Spike and writing for Brunette in Breeches I have been very fortunate to meet so many wonderful people who support Spike despite his differences and who regularly cheer him on via the blog and social media, even though they don’t know us in real life. It’s lovely to have that kind of support!

Profile On: Louisa Forstner, Megasus Horserunners

I recently wrote a post about an interesting new initiative with regards to horses and shoes – clip on shoes!  They are known as megasus horserunners  You can check out the post and see what you think – they are still raising funds for the idea although, it looks like they have well and truly met their target goal!

Louisa Forstner is a part of the Megasus Horserunners team.  She has kindly answered some questions about what she does.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
100% :). If I do not think of horses, then I am near them.

What is it exactly that you do?
We are inventing a new hoof protection: Megasus Horserunners – the world´s first clippable runners for horses. My job is to ensure that everything runs smoothly

Louisa and her Husband, Charly (Inventor of Megasus Horserunners)

Louisa and her Husband, Charly (Inventor of Megasus Horserunners)

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes of course! To be independent and to live your dream requires a lot of experience, daring and perseverance.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
You have to feel that it is your life task. It’s not making money, but you’re fighting for a thing that’s important to you. In our case, it is important to us that horses no longer have to walk with iron shoes. We want to offer a healthy alternative.

Favourite horse memory?
Many many! It is more than friendship, it´s family.

Future goals?
To take horses out of the Iron Age for good!

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I do what I love!

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ― William Shakespeare

Profile On: Vanessa Hughes, Lady Photographic

Vanessa Hughes of Lady Photographic has kindly answered some questions about her work as a freelance photographer and videographer.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
This is hard to say. I’m a workaholic so I spend every waking hour shooting, editing, social media marketing, or dreaming up future projects related to horses. 50% photography/video 50% horses.

A Polo Shot by Vanessa Hughes of Lady Photographic

A Polo Shot by Vanessa Hughes of Lady Photographic

What is it exactly that you do?
I work as a freelance photographer and videographer. I do everything from show photography, covering events for magazines, promotional videos, with some graphic design and social media work thrown in.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Sure, it is definitely possible, but it isn’t easy. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. You need to be understanding of your financial limitations.

You have to love it, because there will be days when you don’t know how you’re going to manage to pay rent. Task one is learning how to suck up your pride and take other less glamorous side jobs during lean times. Right now I work as freelance. In the future that will change once I pick up something permanent, but for now I am enjoying the freedom.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
There are no general steps to getting into the business. Some of it is luck and who you know, the rest is dedication and being willing to put in a lot of long hours and hard work.

The most valuable pieces of advice I can give to someone trying to enter this field: Know your rights. NEVER let anyone tell you, you do not deserve to be paid. If you did the work and they profited from it, they are obligated to pay you.

Avoid people who shower you with compliments, but get quiet when you mention pay, or make non-committal empty promises. Contracts should not be avoided – love them, they are your best friend. The law only goes so far in protecting your rights. Watermarks are free, lawyers are not.

Eventing Photo by Vanessa Hughes of Lady Photographic

Eventing Photo by Vanessa Hughes of Lady Photographic

If you work for free don’t be surprised when they are not willing to pay you in the future. Network like your life depends on it. Try to avoid chimping, or constantly looking down at your camera after every shot, in that split second of distraction you can miss valuable shots. Take advantage of other photographers’ experience – watch what they do and when they move but find your own voice and vision.

Finally a word of caution for those looking to get into the business. You are not the first and most definitely will not be the last to be seen as an easy target. Young photographers seeking to make a name for themselves, willing to work for next to nothing, are unfortunately a dime a dozen. There’s absolutely no shame in being in that group. I was once among you. We all have to start somewhere.

The shame comes from those businesses, mainly magazines, who knowingly repeatedly take advantage. Many do so under the guise of “internships.” Most don’t realize those internships are actually illegal. If an intern produces video, images, writing or any media (often using their own equipment) and they are not overseen by a professional and given an education of equal or greater value they legally must be paid minimum wage. Essentially many of these businesses/magazines profit from the hard work of “interns” year after year by dangling the possibility of paid work that artificially doesn’t exist. While they are legally obligated to make those positions available to paid employees, they won’t. These businesses are the single biggest plague on the industry today and why so many can’t make a decent living when there is plenty of work to go around.

“The DOL has articulated six key factors that must be met in order to avoid having a “trainee” classified as employee. The factors are:

The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.”

Favorite horse memory?
I have two favorite horse memories I use to keep myself going. The first was from when I was twelve years old and rode for the very first time. I was given an hour lesson for my birthday. I rode a beautiful chestnut mare with a heart of gold and a whole lot of patience for my squirrely little self. I don’t remember much from that one ride but the impact of that day has kept with me since. I think that is the power of horses. You can spend just five minutes or your whole life with them but once they give you a piece of their heart you never forget it.

The second was my first time stepping onto a cross country course and witnessing eventing. At the time I never could have imagined such a sport existed. It was thrilling. I was more than a little nervous to walk out on the course the first time, worried I would do something stupid and get myself or someone else hurt. Eventually I grew accustomed to anticipating the horses and walking the course felt natural. Now a cross country course feels like a second home. I have gone to many events and various equine sports since but in my eyes none compares to eventing. It also doesn’t hurt that eventers tend to be my kind of crazy, I love the whole lot them.

Future goals?
I graduated from UCLA this past June so my first goal is trying to keep a steady flow of work. Right now I am also working with some of the biggest equestrian Instagram accounts here in California to band together to form a kind of collective for collaboration and content creation. I am excited to be working with some seriously amazing women in the coming weeks and looking forward to seeing where that goes. I also like to follow a lot of social media experts online and many of them are pointing towards video integration in social media growing by as much as 2/3s in the next two years so I am focusing more on motion graphics and video production work this year.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
There are so many possibilities. Everyday is a new day, a new challenge. Sure sometimes the pay could be better but in a way that’s part of the game and I love it.

I came into the field with what some consider a disadvantage. I knew absolutely nothing about horses. Growing up the money for horses and lessons, we just didn’t have it.  Back then I was too young for anyone to consider me as a working student. Like many kids facing that wall I gave up, thinking that dream was over for good. It wasn’t until college that fate intervened and one day a wayward hobbyist photographer stumbled upon a showjumping event that would change everything.

I do what I do for the pure joy of it because there are no free rides. Many times I have been told I don’t belong, but even if I don’t have the opportunity to ride(yet) I can still be part of the story. I belong here.

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Profile On: Michelle Charman, Forelock Books

Michelle is a publisher for Forelock Books.  She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about what she does.

Michelle Charman of Forelock Books

Michelle Charman of Forelock Books

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
With regard to my job, I have little contact with horses, but I spend at least 2 days a week at horse events, meeting equestrian readers and riders. My job also allows me to spend more time with my own horse. I can take advantage of good light and weather conditions to nip out for a ride and can easily work lessons, farrier and vet visits into my schedule.

Forelock Books

Forelock Books

What is it exactly that you do?
I look for the best pony and equestrian-led stories.  Based on what I hear and am told by riders I decide which stories to publish. I then produce, promote and sell these books at pony club and horse events around the country.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
It’s certainly possible and that’s what I aim to do, however the set up costs for starting your own publishing business are very high and returns are low, unless you can sell thousands of copies. Finding your market and gaining a reader’s trust takes time.

(No one wants to spend precious time reading what could turn out to be a poor story and that’s why being a rider and horse enthusiast as well as a publisher is so important).

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Setting up your own publishing company is expensive and risky, but we like to use editors with some equine knowledge, preferably someone who grew up dreaming of or owning their own pony. Our editors work free-lance on a whole range of equestrian books, magazines and websites.  This is a great way of earning a living while being involved in the equine business and having the flexibility to enjoy being a horse-owner.

Checking out Forelock Books

Checking out Forelock Books

Favourite horse memory?
Oooh I have so many, but my favourite memories are of school holidays when I was 10-12yrs old.

Days spent with my best friend and our ponies, riding across the mountains and along the beaches of Wales.  Then, returning home, exhausted and looking forward to sleep so I could relive the day’s ride.

Future goals?
My future goal is to get Forelock Books recognised worldwide, so that we can continue publishing the very best horse and pony stories to inspire young riders and to remind older riders and horse enthusiasts of the magic ponies bring.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Reading, riding and talking to young pony-lovers – seeing the gleam in their eyes and knowing where that comes from.

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