December 14, 2013 12:41
“I was born on the back of a horse.” ~ Leah Winston, quoting her mother.
When a child receives a riding helmet for her first birthday, it’s safe to say that those around
her can probably predict where she is headed.
Leah Winston’s dressage training started in the UK at her mother’s riding school, where she
soon developed a passion for eventing.
“I truly believe that growing up on Brook Farm Stables molded me into the person I am today,” Leah says. “I saw how hard my mother worked to keep the stable functioning, maintain the well-being of all the horses, and create an atmosphere of honesty and customer satisfaction.”
Leah moved to the U.S. and has now operated her own training business for 7 years, where her mission is to help others learn the art and beauty of dressage. Today she serves a wide range of clients at BrookView Dressage – from the trail rider needing help with how their horse moves to the serious competitor who wants to be tops in the show ring. Leah also works with young horses from the age of 2 on upwards, giving them the correct foundation for their dressage career. She can then train them up through the levels and into competition, depending on what it is their owners are seeking.
Leah’s love for horses and her passion to help others are her primary motivations. She sees her work as a pleasure, even though she puts in long, late hours. Leah highly values the relationships she has with the horses and finds joy in seeing them develop in personality as well as in athletic ability.
Leah describes her biggest challenge as never having enough time during the day. Yet, she also knows the importance of taking her time, never pushing ahead faster than either horse or rider can handle.
“When we rush, horses suffer, and that shows up in the results.”
Most equestrians have at least one outstanding horse at some point. For Leah, that special soul was Amintas, the Lusitano stallion she describes as “….a once in a lifetime equine love.” Their connection was so powerful that Leah felt there was nothing the horse wouldn’t do for her. She had high hopes that together they would reach the stars, but at the tender age of six, Amintas foundered in all four hooves due to a medication reaction and had to be put down.
“It was the hardest decision I ever made,” Leah says,” and the saddest day of my life.”
A year later, along came QuaterStern, sired by Quaterback in Germany out of the mare Sandro Fe. He had already been chosen as the top Oldenburg colt of 2013. When Leah first saw QuaterStern online, she felt an inexplicable spark inside. Her heart was clearly saying that her beloved Amintas had somehow sent this colt to her, even though owning him seemed completely out of reach.
“I knew I had to find a way to get him in my life,” Leah says. “He was well over my budget. He had been bred by Debra McMillan of Ridgefield Farms in Maine and I was in Florida, which made everything seem all the more impossible.”
Some horses are destined to be in our lives and QuaterStern is definitely one of those for Leah. At the age of 6 months, he was weaned from his mother, transported from Maine to Mass where he spent three short weeks training with a handler, and then went on to Devon PA for competition, which is where Leah met him. As Leah put it, “It was as though we had already met.”
With the help of several people, Leah was able to take QuaterStern, now known as Queue, home to reside at BrookView and enjoy his coltish life to the hilt.
“I plan on taking him to some in hand breed shows and he will be a breeding stallion a few years down the road,” Leah says, “I see a huge future for him and cannot wait to take that journey with him, hopefully into the international arena.”
There is no doubt that for QuaterStern and Leah Winston, the championships have already begun. They are definitely the pair to watch in 2014 and beyond.
Leah Winston is a well-rounded equestrian who gained much of her experience growing up on her mother’s farm in the UK. Now living in the US, she specializes in Dressage and preparing young horses for the FEI arena. Leah loves teaching the art of dressage, not only to accomplished dressage riders, but also to those just starting out and wanting to learn. Visit Leah and QuaterStern on Facebook at:
Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
Dreams Aloud Promotions
~ Linking your dreams to the world
July 23, 2012 17:45
Brenda Stefanson, PAg
Farm Business Management Specialist
Regional Services, Ministry of Agriculture
Watrous Regional Office
Farm families have always worked together to build successful farm operations. On many farms, the human resource plan assigns much of the labour and management tasks to family members, young and old. Today’s young farm operators learned their production and management knowledge as they worked side-by-side with parents and grandparents. Now, they will pass these skills on to another generation of farm kids.
Family farm life provides a stimulating learning environment for children of all ages. The knowledge and the work ethic they develop while helping on the family farm will serve them well in their future careers. However, the farm is also a workplace in which numerous health and safety hazards are present. Here’s some practical and common sense advice for busy farm families to ensure the safety, health and well being of their children and teenagers.
Identify Hazards. There are numerous hazards on a farm including machinery, chemicals, unpredictable livestock, enclosed spaces (grain storage, etc.), and electricity. An important step to preventing tragedy is to make a list of all the things that could seriously harm a younger child. Develop fenced-off safe play areas to keep toddlers and younger children away from workplace hazards. As children grow older and increasingly participate in farm activities, continue to work with them to assess the hazards and ensure that older children are appropriately trained.
Base Expectations on Both Age and Maturity. Children grow and mature at different rates. Young adults tend to overestimate their skill and knowledge levels when asked if they can perform a task. Parents are the best judge of when a young adult has the maturity to take on farm chores that are hazardous. Initial training and supervision is important to ensure your child can do the chore safely.
Emphasize Safety and Model Safe Behavior. Consider your own behavior in busy and difficult times. Do you take shortcuts that compromise safety? Children will learn your habits… both good and bad. Keep them safe as they learn about farm work through the consistent demonstration of your own good habits and safe work practices.
Develop and Enforce a Safe Environment. Set up appropriate rules for your children to follow and monitor them consistently. Utilize the many government and community agencies that focus on farm safety to learn more about protecting your loved ones on the family farm.
The Agriculture Health and Safety Network, the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, and the Ministry of Agriculture can provide you with information and resources to help you keep your family and employees safe as they work and play this summer. As we look forward to a busy and productive growing season and our children enjoy their summer vacation, keep safety in mind.
For more information, please contact:
Watrous Regional Services Office at (306) 946-3220,
Agriculture Knowledge Centre at 1-866-457-2377or
Visit our website at www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca.
June 15, 2012 12:00
Prairie Brae Donkey Jumping - above
Prairie Brae Grace & Spirit - right
By Carol M. Upton of Dreams Aloud Promotions
Karl and Grace Krautt had never even heard of Miniature Donkeys when they paid their first visit to a Breeders’ farm. Their lives had been busy with agricultural work and they were looking for something to fill that void as they neared retirement, but were not actually intending to start a business. All that fell by the wayside when the donkeys captured their hearts.
“Miniature Donkeys were such fun,” Grace explains. “We purchased a couple of bred Jennets and for the next few years, the business end developed itself.”
Little did Grace and Karl know that they would go on to breed and sell these loveable creatures, enter parades, show at events like the Calgary Stampede’s World Miniature Donkey Show, and do nursing home and kindergarten visits. Prairie Brae’s mission is based on the Three C’s of Confirmation, Character and Customer Satisfaction. Their donkeys are hardy, intelligent, gentle animals that love human attention and make excellent pets. They can be taught to jump, pull carts, carry packs on hiking trips, and participate in therapeutic settings. Prairie Brae Donkeys have also competed and won Champion Awards at many shows, both at halter and in performance.
Aside from getting the donkeys into the public eye, the Krautts have found their website to be their most powerful business tool. Professional development includes involvement in events with other breeders and organizations like the Canadian Donkey and Mule Association, where ideas for marketing, care and training are exchanged.
Grace describes spending time with the animals as the fun side of the business. Miniature Donkeys are easy maintenance, but feeding, grooming, trimming, training and public visits definitely are all part of the day. Grace finds her greatest joy in the smiles of children, seniors and others with special needs when they are in the therapeutic presence of a gentle donkey. She feels that public education is key in helping people to understand these animals more accurately.
“Donkeys are not stubborn,” she says. “They don’t kick, but they are cautious and clever. They become trusting with patient handling and will attempt difficult maneuvers, both in lead line and driven.”
After nineteen years of working with Miniature Donkeys, Karl and Grace are always thrilled to share their passion for these charismatic creatures with whom they have found a life of joy, companionship and entertainment.
“They have an aura of peace,” Grace says, “that you cannot explain in a few words on paper.”
Karl and Grace Krautt and Prairie Brae Miniature Donkeys live in Stettler, Alberta. They welcome inquiries and enjoy talking “Donkey” at 403-742-1144, firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.prairiebrae.com.
June 1, 2012 14:14
By Carol M. Upton
As a young girl, Randi Thompson dreamed she was a horse. She says that was the beginning of a life long journey where the spirit of the horse inspired her to reach heights that she never could have imagined. Today, Thompson is CEO and Founder of the award-winning How to Market Your Horse Business and Horse and Rider Awareness, and is internationally recognized for her pioneering work in social media.
How to Market Your Horse Business was launched experimentally on Facebook in February 2010 to see if it was possible to create effective marketing without a website. Over 600 people joined the fan page in the first week. Since then, it has grown even more rapidly, been featured in national equestrian publications and won multiple awards, including the Equestrian Social Media Awards (2011/2012) and the Top Ten Best Small Business Facebook Pages for Social Media Examiner (2011).
What does all this mean to the average horse business owner? In a nutshell, you can do it too.
Thompson says, “If you are in the horse business, do yourself a favor. Get into social media and see what it can do for you and your career.”
A typical day for Thompson includes networking behind the scenes, creating educational content, programs and products that make online equine business marketing so much easier. Future plans include live events and a TV show.
Thompson lives her belief that business opportunities are only limited by imagination. Her own inspiration comes from seeing those around her succeed. She was delighted to find that this year, most of the finalists and winners of the Equestrian Social Media Awards were fans of How to Market Your Horse Business.
“Once people discover how to create online comments that sell and engage people, they will find that their business will take off in ways they do not expect.”
Time is a major challenge for Thompson, as it is for all business owners. In her other enterprise, Horse and Rider Awareness, she trains dressage riders for competition. She continues to expand by creating online programs for horse trainers and instructors.
We hear much these days about following our passions and living our dreams. Thompson is a strong example of this vision. Whether you have been working with social media or are thinking about it, How to Market Your Horse Business is the perfect place to discover the most effective ways to market yourself online or anywhere.
Randi Thompson is internationally recognized in social media for her award winning “How to Market Your Horse Business” and “Horse and Rider Awareness." She is a keynote speaker at national events, author, and expert legal consultant for the horse industry.