BY VYLA CARTER
Wake up. Walk down to the barn. Feed and take care of horses. Drive to barn she works for. Feed and take care of those horses. Drive back home. Tack up and ride three horses. Drive back to the barn she works for. Give lessons. Muck stalls. Feed and get horses ready for the night. Drive back home. Take care of her horses. Sleep.
A typical day in the life of young professional, Katie Heim.
Heim takes care of her recently bought eight stall barn, Rebel Heart Farm LLC, for the most part by herself including the feeding, mucking, grooming, riding, tacking up and pretty much the everything in between. As if running her own barn is not already enough, she takes on the role of assistant trainer at Colonial Equestrian, a lesson barn located in Zionsville, Indiana owned by Patty Kent. There she gives lessons and does barn chores, and when Kent is gone Heim takes on all those responsibilities plus taking care of that barn and horses.
Heim has a loaded, overflowing plate of responsibilities. On top of what she does now, she has been grooming on and off at a local polo club since she was 14 and also worked at a Hippotherapy barn full time after college. Before having her own farm, she worked at an auto repair center but after three months knew it wasn’t for her. She quit, and took on horses full time. From there she worked with her dad to buy her own farm and start Rebel Heart Farm LLC.
“I’ve made it work for so long that being busy just isn’t part of life,” Katie explained about having so much on her plate. “I get up early and do what I need to do… my world revolves around horses.” For Heim it’s not about the money or endless days spent at the barn, it’s all about the love for horses that sprouted at a young age.
Katie started riding at the age of five at a barn in Europe before moving back to the states at 8 where she rode at Colonial Equestrian with Patty Kent until she went off to college. In her junior year, Heim decided to join the western IHSA team at Albion college. She has been an english rider her whole life, but joining the western team had a significant impact on her riding and training. “It taught me a lot. It changed my whole seat. It changed the way my horses are trained,” Heim explained.
Now, Katie uses western methods when breaking all her young horses, “It’s a better way of doing it because you work with their mind, you don’t just force them to comply with what you want,” Heim says. She feels using western training has benefited her and her horses greatly.
Even on top of all her training and loaded days, Heim finds the time and effort to give horses the top quality care they need. Every time she feeds she does a once over, looking and feeling them over for any differences. “You learn to look for certain things as you age, Heim says,”I’ve been doing this for 21 years now. I’ve been doing it my whole life so it’s like second nature,” she explains. Heim feels the amount of pasture time she gives her horses also sets her apart, unlike some top show barns that are very strict on horses spending time in the pasture she tries to have hers out as much as possible. “I believe in turnout, my biggest thing is horses are supposed to not be kept in the stall,” she exclaimed, “ The longer you can keep a horse out the better it is for their muscles, their brain, everything for them physically and mentally.”
With a sprouting program, Katie hopes to see it bloom in the future. Right now Heim has just a few boarders at her new program, along with her own horses. She hopes to take them to shows and develop a strong show program. Her long term and ultimate career goal is to expand and have a lesson program. “No matter what I’m doing I want to be around them [horses],” Heim said when explaining her ambitions for the future.
To developing young pros like her she says, “Stick to it and learn as much as you can from as many different people as you can… even if its changing disciplines or learning something new from someone else.”