Last week, I had the pleasure of heading down to The Bluegrass State for an event designed for women with equine-related companies. What struck me is how kind, open and inviting most of the attendees of this gathering sponsored by the Women’s Horse Industry Association were. It was also interesting and invigorating to learn the stories and see the successes that so many shared. The camaraderie and sincere interest in elevating others was a refreshing change from what seems to be the norm with many industry associations and societies.

Keynote speaker, funny PJ Cooksey (on the right - a former jockey who continues to make men quake) and Catherine Masters (WHIA head hancho)
Keynote speaker, funny PJ Cooksey (on the right - a former jockey who continues to make men quake) and Catherine Masters (WHIA head hancho)

Marie Taulbee of LaRaedo Ranch Management Software did a wonderful job of spotlighting the speakers with links. She’s been kind enough to give me permission to share this here. Please do check out her website and consider her software product if you’ve ever been challenged with tracking the maintenance of horses boarded on your farm in a way that boarders can see what’s going on too.

Marketing Your Horse Industry Business
Lynn Baber – Amazing Grays
Jo Ann Challberg – Dressage Training Online
Lua Southard – Equine Resources International
Nanette Levin – Book Conductors, LLC
Wayne Hipsley – Hipsley and Associates
Kate Richards Wilt – My Racing Heart, LLC

Making the Most of Social Networking and On-Line Marketing
Kimberly Kincheloe – BB&T Insurance
Cathy Ebsen – Web Services, Etc.
Tamara Meier – Riding Arts, Inc.
Sheryl Kursar – Equestrian Aid Foundation

Making Money in the Horse Industry
Janet DelCastillo – Backyard Race Horse
Jennifer Foster – EQ Bookkeeping
Marie Taulbee – LaRaedo Horse Farm Software

Keeping Your Horses Healthy and Safe
Deb Metcalfe-Stolen Horses/Netposse

New Techniques and Products that Keep Your Horse Healthy
Pat Cleveland – The Balanced Horse Project
John Harnage – Equine IR/Equine Thermal Imaging
Linda Rubin – Your Health 321, LLC
Molly Wells – Equinessence

Coffee hour (had no idea there were so many flavors you could add to coffee to make it happy) at Kate Richard Wilt's room
Coffee hour (had no idea there were so many flavors you could add to coffee to make it happy) at Kate Richard Wilt's room

Frankly, I can’t recall the last time I’ve encountered a group of women with the caliber and character of the members I met at this conference. Few boasted of their success (although many had a list of achievements logged that gave them the right to), all seemed focused on helping others achieve greater success and many were willing to share their time and resources with others who may never be in a position to reciprocate. The entire experience had me leaving the conference energized and on a high ready to charge forward with new collaborations and initiatives. I needed that.

If you’re looking for an organization with a culture focused on the idea that elevating others is the path to personal growth and success, join WHIA (you’ll get used to the website). At $50 a year, it’s a no-brainer for anyone who’s serious about doing business in the equine arena. In case you’re thinking you’ll never be able to afford the annual conference – the cost for two full days of programming was $100 and it included two lunches and one breakfast.