BY SISSY WICKES
The name Langer has been synonymous with California horse shows for almost half a century. Picture the horse show scene on the West Coast in 1970: a few scattered venues, sand or dirt footing, little crossing of the Continental Divide to mix with the East Coast folk. California was in a fledgling state of growth and treated as a dim bulb against the blaze of east coast events like Devon and the famed indoor circuit. California riders were offered a minimal menu of classes to choose from as entries were light and divisions difficult to fill. Enter Larry Langer who recognized the West Coast horse show scene as the new frontier of equestrian industry. Introducing multiple ring shows was Larry’s first visionary response to growth potential, but certainly not his last. From riding and competing himself to establishing new and attractive competitions to founding horse show circuits that still exist today, Langer was instrumental in forming and fertilizing the west coast horse show business. Over many decades, he developed numerous commercial endeavors culminating in the current iteration of Langer Equestrian Group.
Fast forward five decades later and the scales of competition are not so skewed. California horses and riders are an integral presence on the national and international levels and consistent winners at East Coast premier shows and finals. As the horse industry experienced robust, consistent growth, the necessity for ancillary supporting companies expanded. Langer Equestrian Group nimbly responded to the needs of horsemen and horses in California as the industry evolved. By cultivating horse show venues, supporting local circuits, and overseeing large boarding operations, LEG provided a guiding hand then and continues to shape the future today.
Langer Equestrian Group is a conglomerate of equestrian businesses. LEGIS covers insurance needs, LEG Up News provides marketing and public relations, and Langer Consulting offers analysis and strategy on a wide array of equine related businesses. In addition to these businesses, Larry and wife, Marnye, manage horse shows at the L.A. Equestrian Center and Hansen Dam Horse Park. Together, they are involved in the operation of 34 horse shows, with 25 directly managed by LEG. The Woodside Horse Show series is the flagship of LEG shows. Presented at a National (or “A”) rating, the five shows held in the spring and summer at the Horse Park at Woodside are popular fixtures on the California circuit.
LEG also manages shows at LA Equestrian Center and the newly acquired Hansen Dam Horse Park. As Marnye explains, “Our shows are aimed directly at the underserved mid-level of our sport. We offer nice shows that provide good experience and good competition. Not everyone wants the VIP frills, but still want a wonderful horse show experience. We serve the base and the middle as well as the upper levels.” With National and International Derbies, 1.35m and National Standard Grand Prix’s as well as less expensive divisions, the LEG shows cater to all levels of riders, enabling trainers to bring their entire barn to compete. Six shows in the heart of Los Angeles and ten at Hansen Dam Horse Park provide a solid menu of showing options for southern California and a perfect complement to the Northern based shows at Woodside.
Hansen Dam Horse Park is a new management acquisition for LEG. An established, versatile equine facility in Southern California, Hansen Dam offers a plethora of opportunities for boarding horses, providing a grass roots lesson program, and staging multi-level horse shows. The Hansen Dam Riding School is described by Marnye as “an experiment to prove that you can operate a profitable riding school and bring people into the sport of riding.” The school is staffed by established instructors and gives 350-400 lessons per month on well-seasoned school horses. From the first ride to entering their first horse show, the rings at Hansen Dam provide opportunity for riders to enter the sport and move up the ranks. The Langers support the educational offerings of the USHJA such as Horsemanship Quiz Challenge and utilize the USEF /USHJA Outreach and Opportunity programs which reduce fees and barriers to entry in horse shows.
LEG manages Hansen Dam Horse Park which includes housing 175 full time equine occupants, engaging with 12 trainers, offering 24 horse shows annually, and hosting weekend parties and meetings held at the bucolic facility. The scope of their purview includes all aspects of the industry from negotiating with vendors, staffing, event management, and meeting needs of trainers, owners, and veterinarians. The circumference of the LEG umbrella is impressive and, consequently, the staff possesses a vast array of knowledge and experience. As Marnye explains, “The concept of Langer Equestrian Group is to utilize different business units to complement each other and make sense of the sport as a whole. “
LEG Insurance Solutions (LEGISequine.com) is a gem on the LEG roster. Their tag line, “Horsemen Insuring Horsemen,” symbolizes the familiarity and knowledge offered by LEGIS agents. Marnye is particularly passionate about this component of the LEG companies. “We understand the value of insurance because we are involved in so many aspects of the equine industry. Insurance is about more than just horses. We pride ourselves on working with riders, trainers, owners, and horse show managers toward the best insurance solutions for their needs.” As Langer Equestrian Group’s Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director, Marnye uses her business skills to guide LEGIS and its talented team. In addition to an MBA, Marnye earned the highly esteemed Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Agribusiness and Farm Insurance Specialist designations. Marnye and LEGIS Operations Manager, Sarah Rajoy, are two of a very few equine focused agents in the United States to carry this qualification. “We are one of the fastest growing equine-centered insurance agencies,” Marnye explains. “We are horsemen and we speak the language, making us able to educate our clients about best insurance options.”
The LEGIS staff is young, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. One of the singular advantages offered is a yearly review of a client’s insurance status. This analysis involves shopping the coverage around to as many as twelve different insurance carriers to ascertain the best deal available. “We want to make sure that we give our clients the best possible coverage at the most appropriate price,” Marnye declares. While preparing multiple quotes is more labor intensive, LEGIS believes it is the proper way to service its clientele.
Two more spokes on the LEG wheel are LEG Up News, a publication and marketing company, and Langer Consulting. LEG Up News fulfills communication and press needs for all of the LEG shows and facilities, as well as outside clients. Newsletters, press releases, public relations, and marketing are offered to horsemen, associations, and event managers in any breed or discipline. Langer Consulting offers clients the collective expertise and experience of the industry’s experts. From facilities evaluation to long range planning to commercial strategy, Langer Consulting taps into the cumulative knowledge and relationships of the Langer Equestrian Group.
Larry and Marnye Langer are not just on the supply side of the equine industry economic equation, but have been active consumers for decades. Larry has a long resume of riding and training while Marnye is still an active jumper competitor today. In addition, the couple continues to own competing horses, one of which participated in the elite World Cup Finals of showjumping. The challenges of the horse show world are experienced in real time by the Langers as they remain owners, riders, and competitors while operating a myriad of equestrian based businesses. As Marnye explains, “We have a competitor’s perspective of horse showing with all of its challenges and we bring this to the management side of it.” Their lifestyle ensures that they are educated, responsive, and involved in all aspects of the equestrian world as reflected in the long reach of Langer Equestrian Group. For more information, visit langershows.com.
Photos © Adam Hill, Philip Kilipa, Captured Moment Photography
About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist and an autism advocate. Her illustrious resume includes extensive show hunter and jumper experience. She lives with her family in Unionville, PA and Wellington, FL.
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