BY LAUREN MAULDIN
Though purchasing a new horse is often an exciting prospect, finding the ideal equine partner can be a frustrating endeavor. The same can be said of selling horses, and no matter what side of the equation you’re on, the buying and selling process routinely becomes hours of watching grainy videos, texting and talking to strangers and banging one’s head against the wall. This is where barns like Sky High Equestrian Center are invaluable.
Located in Tomball, Texas, Sky High is known as one of the premier facilities in the country for the sale and consignment of high end performance horses. The go-to barn for top equine trainers and professionals for their own and their clients’ horses, Sky High Equestrian Center uses its nationwide connections, expert care, and professional marketing to fulfill its promise of a horse for every rider and a rider for every horse, whether seeking to buy or sell a made show horse or a prospect ready for their first show.
Sky High Equestrian Center owner, Samantha Buncher, built an extensive background with horses before specializing in sales. It all started when she was four with a pony named Snowball that she met at a used car lot with her father. Her love of horses quickly escalated to become her passion and ultimately the focus of her higher education. Samantha attended Meredith Manor Equine College in Waverly, West Virginia, to gain expertise in the field and more knowledge about different businesses the horse world has to offer. At school, she benefited from the opportunity to ride an array of horses from fully trained to unbroken. “I was put in a variety of situations that allowed me to become a professional, not only as a rider, but also as a successful business woman,” Samantha said of her education. She learned the difference between training a horse for personal use and training for other riders, as well as top-notch barn management and horse care skills. “I consider myself fortunate to have had an equine education that allowed me to, in a supervised setting, experience many of the professional challenges I would encounter over the years.”
After college, Samantha worked as an assistant trainer first at Condee Farm in South Florida and later at LeBocage in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the town where she first started Sky High. These assistant trainer opportunities allowed her to ride 10-16 horses a day, as well as teach upwards of 30 students per week – building on the solid foundation begun at Meredith Manor. Samantha’s show career has spanned the country from Lake Placid, New York to Wellington, Florida and elsewhere in the southeast. Though primarily a hunter/jumper rider with a strong foundation in dressage, she also has experience with eventing – something she admits helped her become a bolder rider and person. “It taught me how to create a strong mindset that has helped me not only in the tack, but while working with my clients as well,” Samantha said. She maintains that boldness with both the horses and clients of Sky High Equestrian Center, where she combines her past experiences to cultivate perfect equine partnerships with the sales horses that come through the door.
Serving the Gulf Coast for over ten years, Sky High Equestrian Center is a full service consignment barn that eliminates the frustrations of selling horses by delivering quick, professional sales. Samantha’s broker services are the heart of the facility, where she serves as a self appointed Match Maker for horses and riders. “I guess you could say I have a love affair with horse sales!” she laughed. When Samantha took part in her first sale as a young trainer, she felt a tinge of excitement that came with finding the beloved horse a good home. It’s a feeling that still exists today, and drives her passion for sales. “The highlight of my day is watching the instant bond between two former strangers. I absolutely love helping people sell their horses and find the perfect match.”
Her passion and talent for the process has kept Sky High Equestrian Center a top choice for clients looking to consign their horses. So much so, that Samantha recently moved to a larger facility in the thriving horse community around Texas, allowing her to continue to grow. “As stressful as it was to uproot from my comfort zone in Louisiana, I found an incredible facility at Woodway Equestrian Center with everything I was looking for to facilitate my business, along with the fact that I’m now able to participate in a large, active horse community.” she explained.
In her new location in Texas, Samantha has primed her consignment business to grow with a foundation of honesty, trust and respect for both horses and clients. “I believe that when we represent each horse honestly, we increase the trust people have in our judgment and word,” she said. By creating this atmosphere of respect, Samantha guides positive outcomes for clients, their horses, trainers involved, and her own staff. To her, honesty is the pillar of every successful sale. “The most difficult part of my business occurs when I encounter professionals or clients who do not operate with honesty. In the horse industry, we are dealing with live animals and a lot of times, young children riding ponies. I find it heartbreaking and extremely disappointing when people are dishonest just to make money.”
Even with its challenges, Samantha wouldn’t trade her business for anything else. “The joy of horses and ponies, the happiness of my satisfied customers, and my adorable daughter’s love of riding are some of the main reasons why I stay true and honest in my sales business,” she said regarding what keeps her motivated.
When asked what she would tell someone who was skeptical of consignment barns, Samantha, as always, was honest. “There are horror stories out there, no lie,” she said. She advises to do your research, ask for good references, and to not give up on finding the right place for your horse. “Once you find the consignment barn that fits your needs, your horse or pony will sell faster than it would just sitting at your barn.”
Sky High Equestrian Center may be the right barn for your horse consignment needs, and Samantha wants to make sure all her clients are comfortable with the process before their horse ever steps foot on the property. “We have even had people FaceTime us several times throughout the day so I could show them our facility, stalls, and current horses before they sent their own,” she said. Those video chat conversations often result in loyal, long-term clients for Samantha. With her strong education, training skills, enthusiasm and honesty with selling horses, Samantha Buncher and Sky High Equestrian Center are sure to bring together many successful partnerships in the future.
To learn more about Sky High Equestrian Center consignment services, visit www.skyhigheqcenter.com or call Samantha at 337-764-3456.
About the Author: Lauren holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of California Riverside, and is a lifelong rider and writer. Beyond equestrian journalism, she explores body positivity, mental health and addiction through personal narrative. She enjoys showing on the local hunter/jumper circuit in Austin, Texas.
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