Unexpected reward: Getting recognized,
says Jim. “I’ll go someplace outside
the equestrian environment, and
someone will come up to me and say,
‘Don’t you do Cowboy Boot Camp?’” He
and Lori also enjoy seeing the relaxation
effect of being at the barn. “We have a lot
of attorneys and studio executives. They
pull in, open up their trunks and take
out their boots and Wranglers. They’re
tense and harried, but as soon as they
walk into the barn, you’ll see them take
that deep breath.”
Made them laugh: “We’re getting
known in Hollywood,” chuckles Jim.
“We get actors and would-be actors.
They’ll say, ‘Yeah, I have an audition,
and said I knew how to ride. Can you
teach me?’ We’ll ask them, ‘OK, when’s
the shoot?’ And they’ll reply, ‘Tomorrow!’
We love those!”
Advice to you: “Contact us! Buy a franchise!”
Jim jokes. Then, in all seriousness,
“The clinician Chris Cox told me
to take this idea nationwide. It’s a great
idea, and nobody else is doing it.”
For more information:
Cool Web-site feature:
(Do you know the original purpose
of fringe on cow-poke apparel?)
WESTERN TRAINING / HOW-TO / ADVICE AUGUST 2009
through pristine mountains. Eating a campcooked breakfast before saddling up to go in search of wild mustangs. Sounds like the makings of a dream vacation, doesn't it? We're talking livelihoods.
Wish you could earn a living by inviting folks into your horse world for a visit? Come meet four families who are doing just that.
BY JENNIFER FORSBERG MEYER
Because these, in fact, are the activities of people who make their livings by sharing their horse lifestyles with others. We're going to introduce you to four families who earn money by supplying equine experiences to other horse enthusiasts. We'll tell you how they got started in their businesses, share their make-it-work insights and give you a feel for what it's really like to do what they do for a living.
Maybe it'll inspire you to think about starting your own horse-life business. Or perhaps it'll just make you want to visit one of these. Either way, you're going to be entertained, educated, and in some cases (believe it!) enthralled.
alloping on the beach. Riding
WELCOME TO COWBOY BOOT CAMP
The family: Jim Moore and Lori Barnett of Rolling Hills Estates, California.
The horse-life biz: Cowboy Boot Camp, a by-membership teaching barn for adults just west of Long Beach in Southern California.
The backstory: Jim grew up with horses on a Kentuck farm and went on to work in public relations in the entertainment field; he's now retired from that. He met Lori, a lifelong horsewoman who rode hunters and jumpers and began giving lessons at age 16, in 2002 at a reining show at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. The two hit it off immediately, and began doing trail rides together for friends. Over time, many of their regular clients began expressing interest in learning more about riding than "how to get on," Jim recalls. "So, I checked and the Cowboy Boot Camp name was available. I trademarked it, and we started doing a beginner horsemanship camp.
How it works: Clients pay a flat fee to become "boot-campers;" they're then eligible to attend the one or two clinics or events held per month, plus come to the barn any time and help out. "It's like joining a gym, " Jim explains. "Thes becomes their barn, and our horses are their horses." Clinics include demonstrations by veterinarians and farriers, with titles such as "That Ain't a Paw, Darlin'," Riding clinics combine arena sessions and instruction on the trails of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, many of which have ocean views. "Lori is the better horseman," says Jim, "so I start the students, then hand 'em off to her for intermediate and advanced instruction."
Notable/quotable: "We offer the daily reality
of horse ownership, without having to own,"
observes Jim. "And when you hang around
this barn, you're going to learn - we might hand you a saddle and say, 'Here,
take it apart, clean it, and use this diagram to identify the parts and put it
back together.' If you go on a horse vacation anywhere in the world,
I want you to be one of the best, most knowledgeable riders there."
Greatest challenge: The lack of time some clients have to spend. "If you show up only once a month for the clinics, you won't progress as quickly," says Jim. "And often those are the ones who want to buy a horse right away. We discourage that action!" The curriculum reinforces the "learn first" message. One camper, intent on purchasing, changed her mind after attending the colic lecture. "Just the digestive system alone!" she exclaimed. "I'm going to attend all the clinics first, so when I do get a horse, I'll know what to do with it."
Note: Published article included three other families;
Keith and Patty Barnhart of Lakeview, Oregon.
Mike and Bobbi Wade of Big Piney, Wyoming.
Gary and Cindy Flood of Long Beach, Washington.
Note: Original article contained accompanying photos of other profiled families, which I did not include in this rendering. Therefore, I used additional pictures from Cowboy Boot Camp collection.