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Piper speaks with Amy Moore, Associate Director of the Equestrian Program at the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland about growing our equestrian community, and Jimmy Sardelli talks about his emerging equestrian lifestyle boutique- The In Gate . Andrea Knowles also joins to talk about her design company, Equine Residences. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!
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Piper Klemm [00:00:33] This is the Plaidcast. I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine. And coming up today on episode 336, I talk with Amy Moore of the McDonough School about how she’s growing our equestrian community, Jimmy Sardelli of The In Gate. And Andrea Knowles about her design company, Equine Residences. This episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services.
Piper Klemm [00:02:55] Amy Moore is the associate director of the equestrian program at McDonough School in Owings Mills, Maryland, since 2008. Amy’s training and coaching role has turned into more of a creative director for the program, and she is constantly working on innovative ideas for horse shows and how to grow the school program to encompass all levels of equestrians. Graduates of the McDonough School include top professional rider Jacob Pope and countless NCAA. And IHSA collegiate equestrians that are now professionals in the industry and include vets, barn managers, riders and trainers. Welcome to the plaidcast, Amy.
Amy Moore [00:03:29] Thank you for having me.
Piper Klemm [00:03:31] I think you have such an interesting career and also you do so many things that both unite the community and grow your students. Can you talk a little bit about how you got started and and how that led you to McDonough School?
Amy Moore [00:03:47] Well, I actually grew up in Maryland and I am an McDonough alumni. So after after I moved to California for a while, I taught out there and started my own business out there. I understood that it was a huge benefit to work for a school and have a huge team behind you than just working on your own. So I still had family and friends here, so I moved back and got to join the McDonough team.
Piper Klemm [00:04:16] Let’s talk a little bit about your time in California. You taught fourth grade in Compton, California, before getting back involved with horses. What was something that you learned being out in the education world and being out with students who weren’t horse kids?
Amy Moore [00:04:35] You know, I think kids are kids and you have to meet them where they are. Just because I had 38 kids in fourth grade, all, you know, ten years old or so that does not mean that each kid I could teach the same. And it kind of goes for the same thing around here. I might have a seven kids and a lesson. One’s, in short stirrup, one’s in pony hunter, one is five foot six and needs to do the medals. But I really just try to meet each kids where they are, not just define them by what grade they’re in or how old they are. So I think I use that every day just like I did in my classroom.
Piper Klemm [00:05:15] It’s really interesting. I think that’s something our sport does so well is that, you know, by being a little bit nebulous about progress and stages, it allows us to really spend the time with each student and progress as slowly or quickly as I need to on certain stages.
Amy Moore [00:05:35] And they’re all different and they all have different talents. You just have to kind of think about making each kid the best, the best they can be that day or that year, or by the time they leave, you know, it really doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing.
Piper Klemm [00:05:50] So then tell us a little bit about about your business in California. What were some things specifically that we’re really interesting to you. From a school perspective, I know that even like there’s so many big and small details that that having that that staff makes sense. But what were the things that stood out for you?
Amy Moore [00:06:09] When I worked out in California. I work by myself. I, I did everything from the stalls in the morning to riding the horses to sending the kids in the ring, the entries to the vaccinations, to the farrier, every last detail I did on my own, which was great because I learned a lot. I learned what to do. I learned what not to do very quickly. But having working at McDonogh, I was such a huge team behind me and with me that if we all kind of, you know, stay in our lanes and do what we’re good at, then we can come together as a team. And you just have so much more support. So our team, we do what we’re good at. I work with certain kinds of kids. We have somebody who works with a farrier. We have, you know, someone who works at the horse show. So when we all come together, it’s just so much easier than trying to do it all on your own and you have everyone else’s information and expertise instead of just your own. So if something’s not working, you have other people to rely on. Also.
Piper Klemm [00:07:14] Tell us a little bit about getting your horse show series started and you know what that’s meant for the community.
Amy Moore [00:07:21] Well, we’ve always had USEF A shows here and some local shows. We have 26 shows at the McDonough facility a year. But about two years ago, we started a series called A Welcome Series, which is exactly what it sounds like. It’s welcome to everybody. It does fall under MHSA state rules and regulations, but it’s we really want to create a show series using our beautiful facility that we have the rated shows that with the same rings and the same footing and the same jumps and the same stalls. But, you know, at a price point that welcomes everybody. So that’s taken off in the last as two years. And we had a huge finals last year and we had a derby and a medal finals and the riders got to stand on the podiums and wear ribbons as long as their selves. And we had tailgating and, you know, it was more like a community party than a finals.
Piper Klemm [00:08:22] It’s almost everywhere I go in the country. That’s something people say to me, I wish we had more local shows. I wish I had more local shows. Your region is what I would say, the best served regions in the country for having something you can do with your horse at pretty much every level, every weekend. How does that build strong community and how does that allow people to? I mean, I think really grow as people?
Amy Moore [00:08:51] I think it just gives you more access to more people and more horses and more interest that it you know, it’s true. More the merrier. If you keep going to the same shows with the same people, you don’t really learn or grow and you’re kind of just stuck in your old ways. If you open it up to be inclusive to everybody and you always can learn something new from somebody or someone who has a new suggestion or they want to come volunteer it so you can keep the price points down, or you have a ribbon sponsor, or you have somebody who’s really good at making cupcakes and they bring 20. So the more people you open it up to, the more experiences you get.
Piper Klemm [00:09:36] It’s yeah, there’s so much investment in the community and an investment in this shared goal of keeping it affordable. And people can feel their place and feel their creativity. That’s that’s really cool. Tell us about the different opportunities you have for so many students. You’ve grown so many great members of our equestrian community into top professionals at every aspect of the sport, and many top riders, including Jacob Pope and countless NCAA and IHSA champions.
Amy Moore [00:10:09] I think at McDonough, we’re pretty unique because we have really something for every different kind of level. We have a P.E. program that starts in pre-kindergarten where they get to come up here a few days a week and just even see what the equestrian world is like. We have a lower school afterschool lesson program. We have a middle school team, we have a middle school and lower school competition team. We have JV, we have varsity, we have non McDonough student riders here. We have riders that never even show. We have riders that show every weekend. We have riders that lease horses. We kind of have. Enough resources to supply to everybody. So, you know, we have some riders that might not ever show but are really interested in the veterinary side of our industry. And we try to push them into, you know, different lanes and create their own journey. So if I have a kid that’s interested in vet care, we can, you know, have them work with our vet for their senior project. Or if I have a rider that I know would really thrive. You know, working with Don, then I send that kid and ride with Don for the winter. Or if I know I have a rider that would thrive under the structure of Heritage, I try to push them that way. We don’t ever want to limit any of our riders, you know, just to our program. We try to use everybody we know and every asset we have to help each kid, you know, on their own journey.
Piper Klemm [00:13:14] Born in upstate New York, Jimmy Sardelli developed a love for horses at an early age. After graduating from SUNY Morrisville with a degree in equine science and management, Jimmy worked for several top equestrian owners before moving into retail. He managed one of the country’s top equestrian lifestyle boutiques on the Philadelphia mainline, then spent over six years leading the equestrian division for Hermes. There, Jimmy developed an even greater appreciation for offering the finest quality items while really getting to know and understand his clients’ needs. Jimmy has had the opportunity to work side by side with the world’s finest craftspeople in France and Italy, and now looks to bring high quality items directly to his clients. At his emerging equestrian lifestyle boutique The In Gate, featuring products for the Rider, Horse, Barn and Home. Welcome to the plaiddcast, Jimmy.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:14:02] Thanks, Piper. Glad to be here.
Piper Klemm [00:14:05] So we always love to talk to people who have kind of different career paths from being in the saddle or standing next to a jump. Tell us a little bit about how you got interested in the industry and then kind of your pathway to to evolving to your own business.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:14:21] It has been an interesting journey. I remember watching showjumping on TV in the eighties and nineties, and it wasn’t something my family knew about, it’s not something we did. It’s not even something that was in my family radar. Like, I just loved horses. I saw it on TV. I was like, I want to do that. I’m going to be a vet. That’s the route I’m going to go. And fast forward to 1996. I took my first riding lesson. I was a senior in high school at a cool A circuit Barn outside of Columbus, Ohio. From there kept riding doing horsey things. I. Spent a lot of time in the barn. At that time, I was working in a restaurant, as you know, high school kids do. Dropped that job and just became a barn rat. Started off Ohio State the next year. With my plan to go full forward towards vet school. And the more I got involved in the horses, the more I realized there was things other than being a vet that I could do. Dropped out of Ohio State, did kind of the typical young professional things, managed to barn. Would catch ride anything I could get on as I was kind of getting my feet wet. 2003 rolls around. I decide to go back to college. I went to Morrisville State in New York. I did get they do a two plus two program where you do two years of an associate’s degree. Two years to get the bachelor’s. And through my academic advisor, we figure figured out a way to do it in three years. And I blasted through it and got it done. Got a job actually riding for some cool families. At that point, I’d been probably in the saddle almost ten years and it was interesting not having had a real junior career, I wasn’t going to be someone they were going to throw in the ring. So I stopped doing the horses for 6 to 9 months a couple of times and then got a job in Pennsylvania, working for a family, riding, managing the barn and having a grand time. That lady decided to stop doing Hunters and Jumpers, and I got offered an opportunity to go to Malvern Saddlery, that’s where I started my retail career. Malvern was a great stepping stone into the business, a great perspective. I then got an opportunity to go to Hermes. I was at Hermes for almost seven years in their equestrian department. That was amazing to kind of see and grow through. From there I went to Lugano Diamonds for three, and then about a year and a half ago, we launched the In Gate, which is my personal brand.
Piper Klemm [00:17:35] So. And I always think it’s like one of the maybe cruel ironies of this is to to work at many jobs in this sport. It’s really not conducive to having a horse or getting to ride yourself because most of many of the jobs travel around with the circuit and travel around with different things. I’ve always respected you so much that you’ve somehow managed to have your own horse while traveling around for Hermes and Lugano diamonds and going to Florida and being sent all over and and you’ve managed to get in your riding time, have your have your horse and kind of make it all work. Can you talk a little bit about some of the the struggles of working in the industry? And you’re so excited to go to these horse shows and you love your job, but being sent all around, I mean, it’s not it’s easy to hand wave and say, Oh, it’s a wonderful time. But like that for people who love horses and want to ride, we’re so grateful to be part of the industry. But that balances is no joke. And if you want to spend more time around the horses, a lot of these jobs that are amazing aren’t exactly in the barn.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:18:46] No, they’re not in the barn at all, which has its pros and cons, and it definitely made for an interesting evolution. I have a lovely ten year old horse who’s literally last weekend went to his second horse show. He went to his first two horse show as a four year old, and it just makes things take longer. I was doing a lot of the training myself early on while working at Hermes and I would go to horse shows and mostly when you leave for WEF for three months straight, he would get his shoes pulled off and you know, he’d get turned out every day and be a young horse and then, you know, come back in the spring and take a couple of days to kind of make sure the groundwork was there and get back on and kind of keep playing through it. The shorter horse shows has never been that big of a thing because, you know, you’re gone for a week or two and then you’re back. But definitely going to WEF and leaving your horse at home is a little bit tricky. I think one of the other things that’s I think different is I enjoy the process of bringing them along more than showing myself because I’ve I’ve done a fair amount of showing and been successful. But you know, bringing one along and seeing the progress to me is special.
Piper Klemm [00:20:13] And so talk about the winters. I mean, sometimes you’re gone for two or three months and you kind of have to rebuild from from all that is that, you know, that that’s a lot to keep your you know, when you haven’t ridden. Ask me how I know and you haven’t ridden and you’re your dude is wild because you have it like it. It is a little bit of a compounding wave of a lot. And it’s it’s a little hard to keep motivated sometimes because you’re like, oh, my God, I’m going to get on this. He’s going to act like I haven’t ridden in a while.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:20:44] I will tell you, I’m extremely lucky. I have the world’s– so I have a loving fascination with thoroughbreds. I have two one that’s retired and my ten year old and the ten year old is the type that I can disappear for three months at a time. I’ll come home. I’ll put him on the lunge line in a pessoa rig for 15 minutes, and the second day I’ll put him in the rig for maybe 5 minutes and then climb on. And he’s as good as he was when I left. So it’s not normal. And I’m very lucky.
Piper Klemm [00:21:19] So tell us about deciding to start your own business and kind of that that side of things from from seeing so many businesses and so many angles of the industry. I kind of equate it to like an apprenticeship as an assistant trainer. And one of the things we talk a lot about is I don’t think people spend a long enough time in their apprenticeships and really learning their craft. And so that’s something I want to kind of get your take on and also commend you for for really taking the time to learn different aspects of the market before a very successful launch. And I think it’s very easy to want to want to launch early. I mean, we all want to go, go, go all on our own. Things are all excited to get started. But can you talk a little bit about that patience and maybe some of the lessons you learned by by really learning the market and taking the time?
Jimmy Sardelli [00:22:13] I definitely think I was. Spoiled. But I think part of it has always been a little bit by design in my head, where I’ve found a way to surround myself with people that are very good at what they do. And the learning process along the way is. Invaluable no matter what you’re doing. But it definitely helps me kind of think about how I was going to do it, what I was going to do. Were we going to bring on investors? Was I going to do it on my own with amazing help from great friends and my partner? And ultimately decided to kind of do it on my own. I have great help. Who helps make sure I keep a brand on target? I have my partner who makes sure. The website, because the tech end of it is not a strong suit of mine, functions. And then when it came to. Designing the bridle, which ended up being the first thing that I launched with. You know, I kind of took the experience that I had. In a tack shop, working with bespoke clients through Hermes and a little bit of the customer service aspects that I got from Malvern, Hermes and Lugano and kind of incorporated. What do I want? What do I need? And kind of went forward from there.
Piper Klemm [00:23:56] And can you talk a little bit about like kind of connections and relationships and just that kind of genuine side of things that allowed you to have that feedback and, you know, that initial market testing, I mean, you’ve had such a huge market reaction to this, but, you know, it’s no accident.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:24:19] I, I think one of the things that helps me is I try to be as positive and friendly every day as I can in every situation. And I definitely think that that carries over. And when I do reach out to somebody who I’ve met, whether it’s in passing or I’ve had as a client, they’re willing to kind of give me good, bad and indifferent information knowing that I’m not going to. Typically get emotional about it. You know, as you evolve in anything you do, the only way it’s going to get better is to to take feedback and filter through the information to bring out. A better outcome for everybody at the end.
Piper Klemm [00:25:15] While you’re known for your bridles, what other products do we do We see at the In gate? I know, I know. We see Show Strides books, but what else do we see of at the In gate? What are we looking forward to this summer for? For the shop?
Jimmy Sardelli [00:25:29] Now? This summer in the shop, I have my obsession with Struck breeches. So I have a full range for women, men, and both boys and girls. I have show coats that were designed by Lillie Keenan, produced by Flying Changes out of England. I have a beautiful Italian boot line called Alberto Fasciani. It’s a man that’s been producing riding boots since 1950 and also does luxury shoes. So it’s the details are amazing. I have some interesting wood pieces that I picked up through the Amish that I’ve had hand-painted by a local artist. I kind of pick up things that I think are interesting and unique. And kind of go from there.
Piper Klemm [00:26:22] And what horse shows are we going to be able to find you at? I know you’ll be at Upperville.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:26:27] I will be Upperville. After Upperville. I go to Lake Placid. After Lake Placid, I’m going to do the last two weeks of July in Traverse City, Michigan. I’ll then transfer to pony finals and Bluegrass Festival at the Kentucky Horse Park. Now I get to go home for a little break and then this fall season, my plan is for Capital Challenge and Washington, as I did last year because I had a ball in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Piper Klemm [00:27:04] And Washington was amazing last year. I just have to give them a shout out for for what a special experience they made it. I saw you there. Lake Placid is amazing. If you haven’t been. This year might be the year to check it out and and all this other horse shows, I feel like I see you everywhere I go.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:27:25] It’s definitely. I think, you know, our brains tend to function similarly when we’re looking for places to go.
Piper Klemm [00:27:30] Yeah, well, that’s. I always say, like, camp friends. Adam’s like, okay, go see your camp friends.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:27:37] It’s a good analogy.
Piper Klemm [00:27:39] Because, yeah, we we see each other wherever we go.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:27:42] Yeah.
Piper Klemm [00:27:45] So. And then what? What do you think is the one thing that people are just going to go crazy over this year? I know you had some pajamas last year that people are going wild over. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s what’s out of the box. What’s the next the next big thing? Or is it just going to be like a huge like I was there one day when your bridles got delivered. I forget if it was at Washington or Capitol Challenge and it was like pandemonium.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:28:15] That was it was not a normal experience. That was a spectacular day. And it was a lot of Californians who had kind of seen and heard about their bridles in the periphery. And I just happened to get a shipment and it was. It was literally a moment, but probably big this summer. I have done tons and tons and tons of the show coats because the custom options are amazing. I think people are looking for an opportunity to personalize things. The show codes along with the bridges, are both done in a way that. Their size inclusive. Every body type can be fit beautifully. I moments ago finished barn order for custom horse clothing that’s been taking off because I bring forward options that people can then see in a different way. Cool color combinations. I tend to go things a little more, open minded. I love color, so I think those are going to be huge this year.
Piper Klemm [00:29:29] Amazing. Well, Jimmy Sardelli, thank you for joining us on the plaidcast.
Jimmy Sardelli [00:29:33] Thank you.
Piper Klemm [00:30:44] Andrea Knowles owns and directs Equine Residencies. Equine Residencies offers a wide range of services from creating a facility from the ground up, interior design, full decorative redesign and remodels, architectural elevations, site master planning renderings, construction material and landscape design. With more than two decades in the design business, Andrea leads a team of experts in creating an exquisite, healthy and happy environment for your horses. And you. Welcome to the plaidcast, Andrea.
Andrea Knowles [00:31:14] Thank you so much for having me.
Piper Klemm [00:31:16] You shared your story and in the Plaid Horse magazine in our March issue. Can you tell us a little bit about starting the company and and your path to growth?
Andrea Knowles [00:31:27] Yeah, so we started back about a year ago after being in the residential and commercial interior design space. For a really long time. I’ve been in the horse space for a much longer time. I’ve had horses since I was a really little girl, and it occurred to me that it felt like there was kind of something missing. And a lot of the the equestrian facilities and barns that I was seeing. So I kind of, you know, started doing homework. And my homework led me to, you know, kind of all these beautiful places that I felt like could be missing something. And I felt like a lot of that was kind of joining the feeling that a a stable is a horses home. But also for the most part, it’s a it’s a people home, too, because people hang out there. You know, I think all horse people would agree, you know, most of us want to stay in the barn as much as possible. So I felt like adding that kind of the aspect of making a barn, a place where people and horses feel at home was a kind of a niche to fill. And that’s far it’s really it’s really proven to be kind of true. You know, I’ve quickly built a pretty good book of clientele. So, you know, people people love to be in the barn and why not feel even more at home? There is basically what’s happened.
Piper Klemm [00:33:06] You’ve worked really hard on how to give clients healthier barns in addition to thoughtfully designed spaces that are beautiful. What makes a healthier barn? What? What can you take into account when designing a barn to make it a healthy environment for horses and staff?
Andrea Knowles [00:33:22] So I think it’s, you know, pretty evident that airflow is a very key part of, you know, the barn being a healthy place, you know, with you know, obviously there are a ton of factors in that. But, you know, one of the big ones is that, you know, horses make a lot of waste. And so, you know, if it’s sitting in, you know, kind of stuck in the barn, then everyone the horses and people are breathing it constantly. So it’s a thing I really take into consideration is how we can not just have the best airflow. But I’ve been doing a lot of research and there’s a really interesting professor based out of University of Kentucky who’s done some studies that he applied from livestock into into the horse world. And so I’m really interested to see how it works when we do our first expert kind of experiment with it, using a different kind of concrete as our foundation for the barn. So that when horses go to the bathroom over and over in their stall, it has somewhere to go. Obviously, it would be great if we could ask them to please stand over a drain. But seeing as that’s not going to happen. So it allows the the horse urine to to go elsewhere. So therefore, reducing ammonia from the environment in the barn. So that’s one of the ways that I’m really focused right now on that and trying to kind of learn as much as I can and talk to as many people as I can that are interested in that and then apply it, you know, to to clientele. And as well, there’s a new product and I don’t want to sound like an an advertisement, but there’s a new product on the marketplace right now that was just released a couple of months ago that also really interests me as far as wellness goes. So it’s it’s from River and Rube and it’s an actual it it’s it’s built in like plumbing and it sends a mist into the air that is extremely, extremely fine. So you don’t feel wetness. And what it does is it it’s anti-microbial and it’s cleaning the air in your barn, so it’s picking up dust molecules, which we all get, you know, no matter what we do, we’re spreading shavings or even straw and hay, etc.. It’s all very dusty. So, you know, and also with ceilings often as high as they are in barns, we see, you know, dust accumulate in crazy places. So this new product from River and Rube is, you know, intending to clean the air. It’s very good for horses, lungs, it’s good for people. It isn’t wet in the sense that it’s not it’s not going to wet your horse or, you know, the tier of your stable or any of your tack, etc.. But it cleans the air. And then as well, it keeps it they you know, they’ve found it, it keeps insects away, so it also deters flies and mosquitoes, etc., other pests that we find inside the barn. So it’s, you know, kind of keeping my finger on the pulse of everything that’s going on in the horse wellness world is, you know, one of the ways that I’m doing my best to to build healthier environments for for horses and people.
Piper Klemm [00:37:13] I was thinking about this the other day when I was giving my horse a bath of like of all the weird things that we promote, like, why don’t we tell you, train them to pee in the wash?
Andrea Knowles [00:37:21] So it would be great, right? Like, you know, we get them to bow and and do, you know, jump over fences with us and saddles and all kinds of other crazy things. But yeah, we can’t seem nobody’s ever seem to get a horse to go to go to the bathroom or drink on command.
Piper Klemm [00:37:39] So you’re not just designing barns, you’re designing whole, whole facilities and whole spaces. And I loved chatting with you for the article and all of your ethos and thought that go into designing thoughtful turn out spaces as well. And this is something that I hadn’t thought of that much. Tell us a little bit about how you design turn out spaces, especially especially in small facilities for for maximum efficacy and usage for horses. I mean, I think we’re all in agreement that the turnout is great for most all horses.
Andrea Knowles [00:38:20] So one of the things that we really try to do and it’s, you know, as you said, it’s really sight dependent is put turn out where the horses will get the best benefit and also where other people that are also using that site. So, you know, if they’re having a lesson in an arena or, you know, someone else is lunging a horse, whatever that looks like, that a horse can really get their bucks out without creating, you know, drama for someone, like I said, having a lesson or, you know, even while other horses are in the barn and not turned out, we found that, you know, really pleasing turnout seems to be an important factor in every barn. And as a as a rider, I can remember as a as a child, there was a a pretty good sized turnout right next to the main arena at my barn. This is when I was in ponies. And, you know, if you put a horse in that turnout, they were going to get their bucks out and it was going to disrupt everybody that was in the main arena riding. So, you know, going forward, 100 years later, I really thought about that. So we try to we try to make kind of make space for absolutely everything. And you know as well, one of the things we also really try to take into consideration is kind of the location of everything in the site. So if that you know, if that’s your your walker, you know, I advise my clients put the walker next to the barn because you want to be able to keep your eye on your horses if they’re in a horse walker and also not, you know, walk the entire property back and forth from the barn to the walker. It kind of defeats the point. It’s better to have more space between the arena and the barn so that your horse is able to, you know, have a nice walk into the arena and then also have a nice cool off going back into the barn. So, you know, I think that that’s what you’re asking me.
Piper Klemm [00:40:33] Absolutely. I think I think space between the barn and the arena has that really natural warm up time and. Yeah, it’s that flow of not repeating work and making making the facility work for you as much as possible.
Andrea Knowles [00:40:49] Yeah. And we also try to, you know, kind of think to that, you know, not so even even the, the biggest and fanciest barns. You know they, they, they too want to take into account what they’re spending their money on. And, you know, whether whether you have two horses and you have your own backyard facility or you have, you know, 100 horses and it’s a professional facility, one of the things that we try to think about, too, is is not just horsepower, but manpower. So if you’ve got things spread out in a not great use of the site, then you’re also not using the people that work there or for yourself your time. Well, so, you know, putting, you know, for instance, putting, you know, a walker at a great distance away from the from the stable or, you know, even the lunging pen being too far away, things like that make no sense. And also, you know, one of the most important things that we cite in any project is the manure receptacle or pile or, you know, depending on what the law is in the part of town that you are, you know, wherever you are in the world. So, you know, we try to keep it away, but also not make it too far away because then you’re adding additional manpower. But if it’s too close, then you’re getting flies. So, you know, it’s always finding the right balance of where we site everything within a site. And I find that that’s kind of obviously our starting point for every project, whether it’s a new build or a remodel, is, you know, really nailing down what that site should be and how it should service the people and the horses.
Piper Klemm [00:42:39] Absolutely. What are some other things that you find a lot of requests for in the barns that you build or are things that you’re often thinking about?
Andrea Knowles [00:42:47] Storage is a big factor. Having having really well thought out storage capabilities seem to be, I think, a request. But also I think people are really interested to see how someone whose job is space planning can plan their space or, you know, to maximize things like not just putting rakes and brooms and and, you know, cleanup equipment away. But, you know, one of the things that I really advised all my clients to start doing is rather than just keeping absolutely everything in a tack room or in your trunk right outside of your store is to kind of really be mindful of how we’re building out around tack up in most all areas. Oftentimes, I find that there’s tons of room to put, you know, all of the things that you’re going to need when you’re grooming your horse, right. You know, right there at your cross ties and your wash soles instead of having it be something that gets left out. Right. So, you know, putting shovels up by your wash stalls or your cross ties, you know, there’s there’s no reason why shampoo bottles can’t get wet. But, you know, there is also no reason, in my opinion, to leave shampoo bottles on the floor. And I think that one of the things we’re trying to do a little bit, too, is make, you know, things like plastic caddies, etc., would be a thing of the past. They don’t look nice and you don’t really need them. If you could do something as simple as put some shelves up where where you are every day when you’re grooming your horses.
Piper Klemm [00:44:28] Absolutely. It’s like practical hands on of of how the actual days flow goes and, you know, and how often you get time to put things away or how frequently it makes sense to put things away in a given day.
Andrea Knowles [00:44:44] Exactly. And, you know, we we also obviously, we we get asked to to make things look, you know, look pretty. But one of the things that we really take into account to is, you know, pretty but also cohesive so that there is, you know, really good visual flow and esthetic flow. And every barn that we do so that, you know, you’re you’re not putting kind of really crazy crystal chandelier in a modern barn. You know, By the way, I don’t really advise that anyone put crystal chandelier is and I see them periodically in their barn, even though they’re really pretty and they may be eye catching. They’re also dirt and spider and cobweb and dust and everything else catching. And I you know, to be honest, I don’t know many people that have that kind of stuff capability to stand on a ladder every week and clean something like that. So, you know, it’s so within the esthetic and within the beauty of the barn, we really try to also remember it’s a barn. You know, it’s not the living room of your house, no matter what we do to it, you know, and how clean we try to keep it, you’re always going to have those little battles, Right. So that’s that’s definitely something that we that we really try to think about, you know, looking for options that are sensical and beautiful.
Piper Klemm [00:46:13] And for most barns, I mean, staff is the most expensive piece of of putting together an equestrian business.
Andrea Knowles [00:46:21] Yeah. Then the, for sure and I think that, you know, I’d rather have my staff in my barn cleaning the stalls better every day and actually, you know, cleaning out the waters or buckets or, you know, giving really good scrub down the aisle, etc., every day or every week rather than, you know, standing on ladders cleaning my, you know, sparkly lighting. I you know, I think it’s cool to put things like that more in a tack room or if you have a lounge or office space in your barn, there’s no reason not to, you know, jazz it up a little bit and make it really pretty and personal. But I think that there are also some other ways that you can do that, you know, using fabrics that are, you know, weatherproof and indoor outdoor. Same with rugs. There are lots of products on the marketplace that feel like they could be in a house that you can very easily put into a barn that clean up easily and last for a long time. As long as you know, as long as you take care of them like anything else. But that also, you know, make your as far as, you know, our philosophies states make your make your barn a home.
Piper Klemm [00:47:33] Andrea, where can people find more information.
Andrea Knowles [00:47:37] If you Google us there’s quite a bit of information online. We’ve been in a couple of publications. There’s another one coming out next week and then another. I believe I’m in another magazine this summer. And also, you know, kind of reaching out in the community is is the way that I’ve kind of built my relationships and when anything seems interesting. So there are quite a few people that I have relationships with. I live between Los Angeles and Wellington, Florida, and I, I travel quite extensively, so kind of I’m all over the place. So, you know, most of the people that are in the, you know, storefront and and equipment business for barns and I know each other. So if you ever feel like asking them anything, they all know me. And also I’ve recently partnered with River and Rube for I, I love their product and they love my designs. So we’re it’s it’s a partnership in the sense that we’re trying to work together more often in the United States and abroad. So they are definitely they all know me They’re a very good resource for information about about equine residencies and what we do.
Piper Klemm [00:48:58] Absolutely. Andrea Knowles, thank you for joining us on the plaidcast.
Andrea Knowles [00:49:02] Thank you so much for having me and I look forward to talking to you again really soon.
Piper Klemm [00:50:14] Thank you for listening to the plaidcast. We’re going to listen to a selection right now of our new book that’s coming out. Good Boy Eddie. Good Boy Eddie is currently available on theplaidhorse.com In print or on Audible and Kindle on Amazon.
Rennie Dyball [00:50:30] Chapter two, A Parade. My journey to New Barn began with the sounds of a truck. I had never been anywhere before. Old Barn. At least nowhere I can remember. But the morning that I heard the big truck, one of the grooms, those are the people who work at horse barns, put a halter on me and walked me out of my stall. He led me to the truck, which had a big box attached to it. It looked a bit like the tin cans people peel open to feed the barn cats just a whole lot bigger. Then the groom holding my lead rope asked me to walk up a ramp and go inside the giant can. Pretty unbelievable, right? I held my head straight up in the air and backed up several steps. I needed him to know I wanted nothing to do with that scary can. Whoa, Eddie. Whoa. It’s okay, buddy. You’ll be safe in there. This trailer is going to take you to your new home. He said to me. I understood. Whoa, Eddie. Of course. And the groom was speaking gently. I could tell he was trying to make me feel better, but I was just too afraid of the big can. It was dark and I had no idea what could be in there. Something that eight horses for all I knew. I really don’t like to disobey my people, but there was no way I was going to walk up that ramp. The groom seemed to understand. Because instead of taking me closer to the big can, he walked me around the parking lot. I looked at myself, reflected in car windows. My dark mane was blowing and wild since it was a windy day. I checked out all the vehicles and nibbled on the grass at the edge of the lot crisper and Tangier than the paddock grass. I was hoping the groom had forgotten the big can, but after my snack, he led me right back to it. The wind lifted my tail into the air and I started to get that same panicky feeling. I pulled on the lead rope trying to get the groom to take me back to my stall where it was safe. Instead, he nodded his head to someone standing behind me, and that person tapped me on the butt with the long lunch whip they sometimes use in the lessons. I know what that whip means. I have to move forward because I’m a school horse and it’s my job to listen. With an ear turned toward the person behind me. I walked slowly up the ramp. Each of my steps made a hollow thud sound. It only took a few before I was inside the can. Surrounded on all sides with some hay in a net hoisted up high by my head. That was nice. I could feel someone lock a heavy bar into place behind me. Then they closed up the back of the can. I felt the truck rumbled to life and soon we were moving. I poured out the small window by the high net for the whole ride. When the truck stopped, a new person came inside the can and held my lead rope as I stepped backwards down the ramp. Then she led me to a stall where there was more hay and a bucket of water. A relief since I got thirsty on the ride, plus a big window to look outside the barn. I’ve been happy in my new stall since the day I arrived. The door stays open here, and there’s a chain covered in rubber that the people clip across my open doorway. I can look out at what’s happening on the isle anytime I want. For those first few days, there wasn’t much to see. The barn cats, an occasional groom, and Melissa, the instructor who walks around with a clipboard a lot. But this morning, things started picking up. That’s when I noticed a difference between the other horses and me. A big difference. When I first arrived at Newburn, I thought there were only a few other horses here. I saw several empty stalls and I figured no one lived in them. But it turns out there were horses living in those stalls. They had just been away somewhere and now they were coming back. The sounds of a truck filled the barn before the horses did. When I heard the truck from inside my new store, I stood in my doorway and watched a parade of beautiful, fancy looking horses making its way through the barn. Each horse that walked by was wearing a blanket of some sort. Not the heavy kind that we wear out in the paddocks in the winter. These blankets were lighter and fuzzy with braided ropes tucked underneath the horse’s tails. And speaking of braids, the horse’s manes were arranged into the neatest, most intricate little braids, almost like berries dotting the length of their long, sleek necks. Each horse had tall boots on all four legs, and as they marched down the aisle to their stalls, they looked proud and happy. I wonder what made them feel so proud.
Piper Klemm [00:55:44] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit theplaidhorse.com. You can find show notes at theplaidhorse.com/listen. Follow the Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of the Plaid Horse Magazine at the Plaid Horse.com/subscribe. Please rate and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!
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