How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Our company, Equustock, manufactures horse bedding under the brand Guardian Horse Bedding. We also manufacture cat litters, fuel pellets and a moisture absorbent. I am primarily engaged with the horse bedding products.
Not only is our business founded and dedicated to horses but we also have our own farm with currently 6 horses residing there. We call this our “research facility” because all of our products were formulated, developed, tested and of course, subsequently used here.
I am around horses most days when I’m not traveling in some capacity. In addition to our corporate offices at another location, I have my own office in our barn. I am fortunate that I can walk out and pet, groom, clean or ride anytime I feel the need. Thanks to the wonders of modern communications I remain completely connected by intercom, internet, phone, cell, fax, etc. to the rest of our organization.
What is it exactly that you do?
I am one of two managing partners of Equustock, LLC (my wife Claire is the other partner). Together, with our team of 10 office staff, we oversee the day to day operations of manufacture, packaging, shipping and marketing of our brands: Guardian Horse Bedding, Guardian Angel Cat Litter, Unconditional Cat Litter, Absorb & Clean moisture absorbent and Big Heat Fuel Pellets.
We’re both fully engaged in sales and maintaining and promoting our company policy of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Repeat. We ship domestically and internationally direct from 10 plants regionally located around the country.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a livable income?
We began our business with our own horses in mind. We wanted to provide the best, cleanest and most consistent bedding we could. We finally came to the realization we had to make the effort ourselves. So, at first, Claire was the only employee (and she was working free).
We then slowly built the business until after about 2 years, Claire was able to take a salary out of the business. Anyone with a start up business will cite this same kind of story so we aren’t anything special. At first it was difficult and I continued to work at my other job while we established the framework of Equustock. After 13 years, we still continue to grow and expand our product lines. Short answer: tough, but do-able.
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
See a need… create a solution… persevere.
Favorite horse memory?
So many… I’ll go with finishing a training level event on my wonderful young Irish Sport Horse “MJ”. He was quite a project but with expert assistance we were able to bring him along. I look forward to many more years competing him at Preliminary Level.
We would like to build the business to be self-sustaining or perhaps sold at some point. This goal would free up more time for us to spend together, and with our horses and animals.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
Equustock has provided me with the ability to combine my love and passion for horses with a stable business (no pun intended) that continues to grow. We began with the health and well-being of our horses as the objective and still remains our core philosophy for all horses.
“Give me food and drink; and care for me. And when the day’s work is done, shelter me. Give me a clean bed and leave me not too small a place in the stable. Talk to me, for your voice often takes the place of reins; be good to me and I shall serve you more gladly and love you.” – Author unknown