Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Interview with the owners of

Sorry I have not been commenting and posting. Turns out graduate school is hard work! Who would have thought that? I am sure I will get the swing of it but right now it is so hard! Bodhi also delivered some bad news today in the form of a swollen back leg. Good news is I think I am up to 3 bad things that have happened. Hopefully that is it for me for a while!

So the nice folks at Horse and Wildlife Gifts contacted me and offered to exchange a nice post about each other. I thought that it would be a fun idea and I am always willing to help fellow horse people spread the word! Instead of summarizing what you guys can see just by going to their lovely site though I decided to play interviewer and ask them some questions. Enjoy! Let me know if you like this idea. If you guys are interested I will find some more people to interview. What fun!

1. Your website says you have been involved in the Equestrian Business for 30 years! Could you give us a readers digest version of this incredible journey? Many of my readers are amateur riders with hobby horses. I personally love to learn about individuals who have made horses both their life and career.

Our stories evolve from two completely different backgrounds.

Bill learned at an early age that the girls were at horse shows. Thus his interest in horses began. Always a fierce and serious competitor, he was not interested in second place. Bill competed as a youth rider all over California & Nevada. He apprenticed under, Bruce Howard and became a professional trainer. He garnered many local, Regional and National titles in Halter, English & Western Pleasure, Driving, Working Cow Horse, Trail and Reining for his clients and himself. He is a licensed official with USEF in several disciplines and serves on USEF Advisory Committees. Bill has judged many National, World and International Championship Shows in multiple countries.

Corky is a city kid who lived for the opportunity to just smell a horse. She acquired her first horse at age 12. I was responsible for all related expenses from feed to board. My parents paid for nothing that related to the horses up keep. I spent so much time trying to make money to keep him, that I hardly had time to ride him. It wasn't until after I graduated from HS that I received any formal education relating to Equestrian activities. I apprenticed at 2 different farms and went on to successfully own, manage and operate a breeding and training facility. I earned many local, regional and national titles and coached many more youth and amateurs to the same. I received my first judging license in 1985 and continued to receive more breed cards. I have judged many local, regional, national and international events in 4 countries.

In 1993, I retired from the barn and my current husband, Bill and I started All Things Equine; a trophy, awards & gift company. Since All Things Equine started business, we have produced engraved brass nameplates, stall signs and other gift items at wholesale for as many as 300+ stores at one time. Currently, We hold the national award contracts for the American Miniature Horse Association, American Shetland Pony Club, American Miniature Horse Registry, Arabian Horse Association, National Show Horse Registry, Paso Fino Horse Association, National Reining Horse Breeders Classic & many more. We also have provided awards for several international events out of the USA. Both Bill and Corky have conducted educational seminars internationally promoting the equestrian business overseas in an effort to expand US impact there in marketing.

2. Given your long history in the industry what would you say the main difference is in the behavior of horse people vs. the rest of the world? (If there is any). This could be any aspect you want to address ie as buyers, as customers, as friends, as business owners, as animal trainers. You name it!

Generally, there is very little difference. All horse owners tend to be a bit barn blind and narrow minded. More often than not, overseas owners hold American judges in very high esteem and put a lot of weight on their opinions. Sadly, many judges use International shows as a means to expand their own personal agendas in placing the horses they are judging. They look at each competitor as a possible buyer and will exploit the situation. Bill & Corky believe that the most impartial assessment and judging overseas comes from individuals who have nothing to gain from the contacts and people they meet. Short of, more judging jobs. Their pure desire is to find the best horse no matter who has it and promote & expand breed development.

3. What was your inspiration for starting an online store?

We needed to print a new catalog but the costs are astronomical. It was a constant problem to keep it up to date. No sooner was one printed than items were discontinued or replaced with products that were supposedly the same but of course were not. Our experience told us it was a necessity to have a way to maintain a catalog of sorts but one we could manage, removing items and adding new ones. Our first website attempt was . Strictly informational but all to soon out of date. The way we did it was terribly expensive to make changes as we had hired a company to do it for us. neither Bill or I was overly "tech savvy". As the market began to slow down in the horse industry several years ago, we needed to figure a way to continue to market our products and support the companies who had hired us as company reps for their products. We marketed for 6 companies at one time at wholesale events around the country. One of our very loyal customers suggested we set up a new company uundera different name and sell online at a "true retail" price. This couldn't possibly upset our wholesale accounts as we would be competing on the same level. Hence, was born. This time we hired a company to design the site that all the support we needed and educational opportunities to work the development of the store ourselves. That company was Solid Cactus and I cannot say enough positive things about the entire group. A-Z they are absolutely the best!!! Currently, the All Things Equine site is under redevelopment by Solid Cactus and it should be launching in the next couple of months. It will have 3 layers of pricing. Cold hard Retail on the top with a complete shopping cart, an awards pricing level for quantity purchasing and a wholesale level for our existing loyal customers.

4. What would be your one piece of advise you would give to someone who wanted to start an equine related business?

Do your homework. Ask any and all questions and continuously ponder the answers to come up with more questions. Don't re-invent the wheel. Use others successes and failures as a business plan for your self. If you don't wish to work 10-16 hrs 365 days of the year and then some, don't go into any equine business. The work is relentless but incredibly rewarding. "Perseverance" must be your middle name.

5. What is something you learned the hard way about running a business online?

Business doesn't automatically find you. Even if you are established, creating an online presence is like starting a new job. It is a whole new ball game. Site promotion is time consuming and expensive; either in dollars & cents or time if you do it yourself. You will learn a whole new alphabet of acronym soup! For us, we were schooled long before computers came into existence. Now as grandparents, sometimes our grandchildren can figure things out better and faster than we can.

6. As for the hardest question.... What is your current favorite horse breed? (Hint: it is golden, fluffy, and deliciously drafty)

It is funny you say drafty. Corky has harnessed, braided and shown her share of Percheron and Belgian cross horses. Honestly though, Corky & Bill have always held a passion for the Arabian Horse BUT Corky's just have to be Pinto. She is infatuated with color. All colors. Next to that, she just plain loves horses. All horses and all breeds. It is a challenge for us to try and understand and appreciate each breed for their intended purpose and job. I guess that is why we like judging. It is a challenge to apply what we learn about different breeds to finding the best representative of that breed in whatever class, event or occupation they serve.

Bill & Corky


  1. Great idea, Golden! I enjoyed this post very much!

  2. Thanks for the interview!

    When you get a chance - stop by my blog - there's an award there for you :)