I’ve been there: My Journey to Building CBC
I have always wanted to be a trainer training horses and giving lessons. I honestly could not see myself doing anything other than that. As I got to the point of graduating Highschool, I knew my purpose was a little deeper. I did my senior project on therapeutic horseback riding, and after much research, I knew I wanted to incorporate therapy into my future program. I wanted to help as many people as I could. I wanted to create a safe space for everyone. I wanted to share my love and passion for horses with others despite who they were.
As I went through college to get the education necessary to help others, I had to put a pause to my equestrian life for 4 years. It was hard, but I knew it was going to be worth it once I was able to get back to the horses again.
Prior to starting my own personal lessons, I was denied places of work that I applied to. Individuals that I asked to mentor me (I would have paid of course), turned me down. Individuals took advantage of my knowledge and wanted to “be my friend” to get what I had learned for free, and have me build a program under their name. Then I realized, anything that I could not put CBC on, did not feel right. So I stuck to my values, beliefs, and vision and went full steam ahead to build the program of my dreams.
Fast forward some years, and on December 1, 2015, I officially opened CBC Therapeutic Horseback Riding Academy LLC. I had one horse that I leased on Tuesdays and Sundays, and 3 clients. I had one set of tack, and used the trunk of my car as a tack room. I was living my dream. I was using all of the tools I gained throughout my courses of education and all of the horse knowledge I had gained from being around horses all of my life. Little did I know, things would not be easy as I grew.
I had a lot of fail forwards throughout the time of building my program. I have picked out the wrong horses and had to send them back. I accepted clients that did not match the academy’s positive culture. I had policies and procedures in place that hurt me more than they helped me. I cause ALOT of unnecessary stress on myself trying to make everyone happy. I have had these fail forwards, and more.I am sure that I will still have some in the times to come...and that’s alright. It’s a fail forward, right? We live and we learn.
Throughout the years of building CBC, I have established systems for my clients and staff that make processes as easy as they can be. I try to cut out any room for any form of miscommunication. My clientele and future clientele know what to expect when they come to the academy as we have a set culture. The community knows what to expe when they come to us. Our horses are phenomenal. The “lesson horse checklist” we have created has saves us an ample amount of time when looking for new horses.
How have I learned all of this? By experience. My fail forwards have taught me a lot. I wish there was someone I could have called to guide me along this wild ride.
Currently, CBC averages 100 students on the roster, has 5 full time lesson horses, 4 staff members, a private barn, and won Californias District 8 2020 Small business of the year. I am are very proud of how far we have come.
Lesson programs lay the foundation for our future equine professionals. Whether it be those who master the art of liberty work, or those who make the United States Show Jumping team, we all have to start somewhere.
Now, I am putting my best for forward to help others build their dream programs by sharing my fail forwards in hopes to prevent them from going through what I went through. I want to help others creat safe spaces, for the aspiring equestrian.