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Mom and son launch Saskatchewan horse training center and arena to fill business niche

CompanySchafer Horse Training Centre
Industry:Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
City:Battleford, Saskatchewan
Amounts: various  Find what funding programs you qualify for

Communicating your vision with an effective business plan

For her whole life, Shirley Schafer’s passion were horses even though she did not realize her dream of owning a horse training center until later in life. With the help of an effective business plan from the Centre for Business Plan Development, Shirley now has a business plan to seek additional financing for her venture.

Growing up on a horse farm

For ten years, Shirley Schafer and her son, Chad Hartley, have been breeding and building up a herd of American quarter horses. Chad is a professional horse trainer, and Shirley was born on and raised on a farm where her father trained horses. It was their passion, but Shirley continued to work as a business office manager in a car dealership. Then, last June, after fourteen years at the dealership, she was laid off. "I'm just tired of working for somebody, when you never know if you've got a job the next day when you go to work," she says.

Turning a passion into a profitable venture

That development was the spark that finally moved her to turn her passion into a profitable venture. Not far from her Battleford home in Saskatchewan, 240 acres came up for sale at a very attractive price. It was the perfect location for her dream – an indoor riding arena suitable for hosting rodeos, competitions, clinics and horse training year-round, complete with living quarters and food service facilities. She also envisioned storage facilities for equestrians, breeding services, horse raising and dog breeding.

Finding the perfect niche for a business

Before working at the dealership, Shirley had run her own hair salon for 10 years, so she brought a strong business background to the venture. Her son, and two other trainers he's known for years, came from a school of horse training that eschews the use of ropes and whips. It's hands-free and safe for both the animals and the riders, and it meets a growing demand for this type of training. "The area needs this type of facility," says Shirley. "The one that is here is old and not safe anymore, so people aren't utilizing it. And the KCRA (The Kakeyow Cowboys Rodeo Association), the native rodeo association, have been saying they need a facility to support their events. So there's a huge demand for it.”

Effective business plan helps with financial part of venture

In order to communicate her vision and get financing, she knew she needed an effective business plan, and she turned to the professionals at the Centre for Business Plan Development to help her develop one, including all the necessary financials. "I'm very pleased with the job they did with the financial part," says Shirley. "It was a pleasure working with them, and I appreciated their professionalism.

Word of mouth as a way of marketing a business

"I'm getting calls sometimes daily," says Shirley with a laugh. "'How close are you to getting it up? We need it!'" She has also had interest from cowboys in the U.S. "The reason for that is my son's training abilities. He trains horses and takes them out to different events, so word of mouth has built up."

Imagine how a professionally prepared business plan could help grow your business. For a free consultation, call 1-800-481-8434.

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