Welcome, Stable Secretary fans!
We want you to know how much we appreciate you and your business, so each month, we will highlight our phenomenal customers in our blog series: Stable Secretary Success Stories.
Hickory Manor owner Kimmy Risser has always prided herself on being the owner, manager, handler, trainer, transporter, and every job in between. As an avid breeder of top hunter-jumper prospects, Risser aims to produce and offer everything from reliable Childrens/Adult horses to Hunter Derby superstars.
Risser received an Equine Management degree with a concentration in Equine Business from Dickinson State University, and is deeply involved in the governance of the sport. She routinely attends the USHJA and USEF annual meetings to keep up to date on rule changes, and where the industry is headed. Kimmy is a part of the USHJA Hunter Breeding Committee, and oversees the east coast Sallie B Wheeler Hunter Breeding National Championship. As an amateur, Kimmy also sat on the USHJA Amateur Committee. In 2017, Kimmy was awarded the USHJA Presidents Distinguished Service Award for her efforts in the hunter breeding community. 2017 also brought the election to the Board of Directors for the United States Sport Horse Breeders Association, a united voice for breeders that works closely with USEF and highlighting the successes of American bred horses.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your current stable?
A: I’m 31. I’ve been riding since I was 8 and have been a professional for 3 years. My background is with hunters. Currently, I have a warmblood breeding program which produces 7-10 foals a year. I have 6 or 7 horses in training. We recommend a minimum of a 90-day training program, and we have found that the young horse show series is an important part of program. It’s so great to start horses off with a positive experience.
How did you get involved with the equine industry?
A: I grew up on the outer banks of North Carolina. I asked for a lesson for my 8th birthday and got them! I grew up riding on the beach, and every so often we would trailer up to Virginia Beach for shows and training. At age 13, my family moved outside of Virginia Beach to be closer to trainers because my parents realized I wasn’t going to stop riding!
What keeps you going?
A: Initially, competing kept me going. I trained with Louise Serio who was dedicated to creating and maintaining a positive experience on the show circuit. I had a wonderful group of friends that I rode and competed with.
Breeding – want to improve the industry – improving the environment for the horses. In the governance side of things, I wants to improve the industry, even if it is only in a small part.
How many horses are currently in your stable? Who makes up your “team”?
A: We have around 25 horses on property, and have two riders as well as someone who helps with the daily chores.
What is an average day, night week, month, year in the life of a breeder?
We don’t know much about breeding, but have always thought that being a breeder means you work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Is that right or wrong? Are there ever “easy” days?
A: That is accurate!
Fall can be a little “calmer” for us, during breeding season I don’t sleep. I have an alarm set for every 15 minutes or I sleep in the barn. – I am the only one that does foal watch, and between riding, vet appointments, mare checks, and collecting the stallion, it is a full day. The only consistency is that there is not an “average” day.
What is the biggest challenge as a breeder?
A: Physically is probably the hardest but mentally it is also not an easy business. Risk of losing one of the animals can be high, and there is a lack of consistency. Having good people around you is key. Having a vet that understands the program is crucial.
What do you find most rewarding as a breeder?
A: When you get the horses into the hands of someone who appreciated what you have created. It is the best feeling when you get pictures and videos and emails- It makes you keep going. It makes you realize that what you are doing is appreciated and that what you created is changing somebody’s life. I have the best owners who constantly keep me updated.
What are some words of wisdom for others considering starting a breeding operation?
A: Intern – being a working student in a breeding farm that specializes in the area you want to specialize in (i.e. hunter, dressage, jumper, etc) is a good decision. Learning the basics is very important because it could mean life or death for an animal. You do not want to learn the basics as you go.
also, breed to what you want, keep the market in mind but if you don’t love what you are producing, you won’t produce something nice. Produce what you like and what you know.
How has Stable Secretary helped your business?
A: I use the phone app daily. With the farrier for instance, I make notes on each horse. I don’t need to try and remember who was done and who did it, and it’s the same with the vet.
When horse showing, it’s helpful to input costs as I go along, especially with things such as feed and shavings.
With horses shipping in or out – generating the report is very helpful when sending horses out and it only takes about 30 seconds.
The on the go organizing is helpful.
The billing – Everyone stresses about billing, but I never stress because everything has already been put in throughout the month, so it is a matter of clicking two buttons and I am done.
Give us one word that describes your stable life after becoming a Stable Secretary subscriber?
A: Easier. I know that is simple but it is the most obvious.
We are adding a Breeding feature to the mobile app this fall. Do you think that in general, most breeders are open to using technology to help them keep track of everything?
A: I think they are. It is easier to use something that they are familiar with, i.e. handwritten notes. However, there are a lot of private Facebook groups for breeders and they are often asking if there is a program out there, so there is definitely a desire.
To learn more about Hickory Manor, visit hickorymanor.squarespace.com, or visit their Facebook page.
Stable Secretary makes barn management easier. 30 Day Free Trial