Thursday, 25 October 2012

Headwaters 2012 Equine Forum

Real Estate Agents and Restaurant Owners aren’t the only ones who have first-hand small business experience. What some have stopped noticing is that our farms all across Canada have succeeded as small businesses and partners in many corporations. Just last week, I went to join some very interesting professionals who either own or operate small businesses. They are a part of the Hills of Headwaters Destination Development & Equine Forum. What they do is support the dream of making Headwaters a hotspot for tourism and development. Shelley Peterson was one person that really caught my eye. A successful author and actress who owns a stable that is home to over twenty horses. She is not only an attraction herself, but as is her barn, Saddle Creek, which is the setting in two of her more recent published novel. She spoke on video to us about the focus of keeping money in the local economy.

There was also John Downey. He and his family own a dairy farm which has been operated by them for three generations. His story is inspiring, hearing how his parents were able to build the farm and make it run, later having John join the work after college and now having his kids help him out. They have attractions such as home-made ice cream and a bakery. They also host parties and school trips.

Key note speaker John Nicholson, a well known man who has been the Executive Director at Kentucky Horse Park since 1997. He has completely turned Kentucky Horse Park upside down in every good sense of the saying. His knowledge and assertiveness has KHP being known as the finest equestrian competition facility in the world. He has convinced the USA to allow the World Equestrian Games and was the President for the competition in 2010. He has been awarded the Special Eclipse Award which is the highest honor in the Thoroughbred industry, on behalf of the Park and in 2010, the Prestigious Equine Industry Vision Award from the American Horse Publications for “outstanding leadership, creativity and meritorious contributions to the equine industry” and many more.

These great people succeeded and continue to succeed because of their contributions to the community. They bring in tourists to our towns which keeps the economy going. We will flourish because of our willingness to work together and brainstorm great ideas on how to keep the countryside an attraction. Not many see places and farms with rolling hills like ours anymore. Now, with the help of the Headwaters Horse Country Movement, the Hills of Headwaters Tourism Association and our regional residents we can keep the Hills of Headwaters growing as a destination for years to come.

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