Horses, horses and more horses, and oh, let’s not forget all those cute little ponies nosing around every fence post as if grinning and looking for mischief. This is the scene over a lovely spread of country landscape at Lilac Lane Equestrian Center located just off Fallowfield Road, only 20 minutes west of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Kelly Hoshko is passionate about her animals and its shows. She absolutely lights up when chatting about and pointing out to anyone of the healthy horses on her land while describing all the wonderful things they do for her students and her visitors. Kelly sees each horse on her farm as an individual with its own special needs. She is deeply and truly caring and she pairs up her steed to student personalities with both intuition and an eye for safety.
Kelly started her venture four years ago at the ripe young age of 24. Filled with ambition and courage, she has already developed a rough piece of land into an equine paradise and shows no sign of slowing down. It’s hard to believe that Lilac Lanes in its current status is born of not much more than scruff and tundra over open fields as riders can now enjoy outdoor training rings, lovely green x-country jumping and galloping fields, an indoor barn, acres of paddocks and a massive modern indoor arena with viewing center.
We at the OLH Real Estate Team, with Coldwell Banker Rhodes and Company, were entrusted to be part of Kelly’s plan. I bring you this article as both a 40 veteran of equestrian training and breeding and as a friend. Kelly’s success is an inspiration to all young people and this article is but a small recognition of such. With our warmest congratulations to Lilac Lane, to all of its students and of course those lucky well loved animals. We are so proud of you.
We interviewed Kelly between lessons and grooming and feeding. Here are her thoughts and insights toward growing a business, embracing a passion and finding courage.
Please visit Kelly and Lilac Lane online at http://www.lilaclaneequestrian.com/
OLH: So let’s start with the obvious question. Why horses and when did you start loving them?
Kelly: As long as I can remember I have admired the beauty and grace of these majestic animals! My mother has a passion and rode well into her pregnancy with me. My childhood birthday parties were entertained with pony rides for my guests. I started lessons at The NNEP, now known as Wesley Clover Park. Little Chubby Checkers, first taught me balance and basic form, but most of all trust.
OLH: I noticed that all your animals seem to get along beautifully in their respective fields and seem shiny and happy. How do you decide where they live?
Kelly: Horses are very much like people. Each one has his or her own unique personality. When I accept a new boarder or school horse, I take the opportunity to asses these characteristics through handling and observing their behaviour. For the most part, I find separating males from females (geldings from mares) to be important. Hormones play a huge role in the tranquility of the stable. Horses have a natural hierarchy and I assign paddock mates based on their acceptance of one another.
OLH: Your new indoor arena is nothing short of incredible. How did you decide on the design and was it a costly adventure?
Kelly: Our indoor arena was one of my greatest accomplishments. I first considered my training and business model and also functionality and design preferences. I am fond of working with the horses and their riders in the light and airy feel of open tarped buildings. The white cover allows the natural light during the day, which provides savings on energy. The project took months of research. I scrutinized the product reviews, specs for snow load and wind, optimal size and foundation requirements based on our terrain. The cost assessment was intense and divided into expense categories such as permits, the purchase of the building itself, construction costs, aggregate, machinery and equipment, lumber and siding, as well as electrical. I established a large buffer in my budgeting for unforeseen circumstances, which was useful when I came across bedrock, while digging the post holes. Weather also delayed construction. I owe the construction of the arena to my loving Uncle Jim.
OLH: If you were to describe the most important aspect of teaching people to ride and work with horses what would you say?
Kelly: I believe patience and encouragement are the most important. My job is to provide a safe environment for both horses and riders to build confidence. The mental, physical and emotional state of horse and rider affects our daily accomplishments. As a trainer, I rely on my intuition to guide their success.
OLH: Most people believe that riding and training horses is a passion and a sport for people of wealth. What are your feelings about this?
Kelly: I believe like any sport there is a financial commitment to the industry. My goal in establishing my own facility was to make lessons, boarding and competing affordable to anyone with the desire to participate. I feel like I have accomplished this for my clients.
OLH: What is your advice to other young people starting a business?
Kelly: I have are a few pointers yes. A first rule of business is networking! Also, embrace the expertise of those around you. I have met some incredible people over the years that have shaped myself and the success of my facility. Set realistic goals, consider what’s important to maintain your business during its growth. I still develop and shape our needs in stages such as fencing and shelters to bring my horses home. A fenced training ring to start teaching and an arena to allow us to work in all seasons – these were some of the things I required to maintain income while I expanded. Stay positive !!!! Sometimes things may seem overwhelming and unobtainable. Have confidence in your own abilities and dreams.
OLH: How about the future and what do you visualize for the next five years?
Kelly: In the next five years I will finish the renovations and beautification of my property. I will now have the time to invest in my own goals to compete. I will continue to guide my clients in all their dreams and ambitions. I also have a goal to start the construction of a new barn attached to my arena.