Carol, Ashley and Doug Roe display one of their horses along with Valley View Farms students Tegan Yakimovitch and Max De Nardi. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Big opportunity for Vancouver Island horse farm

Duncan equestrian business Valley View Farms selected for one of just four grants in North America

Valley View Farms has been presented with a phenomenal opportunity.

The equestrian business near Duncan was recently chosen for a business development grant from the Kentucky-based American Saddlebred Horse Association that could open new doors for their enterprise.

Under the grant, Valley View will get six months of coaching and business development work with Elisabeth McMillan, followed by another 12 months of follow-up. Doug Roe, who runs the farm with his wife Carol and daughter Ashley, calls McMillan “the world’s top equine business consultant.”

Valley View is one of four farms in North America to receive the grant, picked out of thousands. The American Saddlebred Horse Association identified four regions on the continent that were considered underdeveloped in terms of the saddlebred presence, but which have potential. Valley View was selected for the West Coast region.

Although all of the big saddlebred shows on the West Coast are held in Washington, Oregon and California, the association opted for a farm located in B.C., much to Valley View’s surprise.

“When we were chosen, we spoke to [McMillan], and we said, ‘we’re gonna be honest, we’ll be the hardest client you’ve ever had,” Roe recalls. “She said, ‘that’s why I chose you.’”

McMillan’s consulting will help Valley View redevelop their brand, website and social media, and get better at attracting and developing clients.

“It’s kind of a neat program to be gifted with,” Roe says.

Through the program, Valley View will become the main ambassadors for the saddlebred horse in the region, something they’ve already been doing to a degree for 20 years in the Cowichan Valley and 20 years in Langley before that.

“That’s why we’re excited,” Doug Roe says. “We’ve been working the last 40 years to promote this breed of horse.”

Under the American Saddlebred brand ambassador program, which awards points to farms and individuals for things like attending shows, promoting the breed and having a media presence, Valley View was the regional champion for five years in a row before being named regional reserve champion in 2018. Ashley Roe has been regional individual champion for six years in a row and was named reserve world champion for 2018. She recently took on the role of head trainer at Valley View.

“Ashley has travelled all over North America learning to be amazing,” Doug says. “And now she’s bringing her knowledge and skills back to the Island.”

A small farm in the scope of the industry, Valley View has developed several elite riders, many in the saddle seat style of riding, but Roe thinks that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“We do very well,” he admits. “But we can do better.

“This year especially, we’ve got several new horse owners, new riders going to international shows and winning. Our lesson program is about as big as we can handle, but there’s always room to do better.”

Valley View has six lesson horses and four show horses, and typically has about 25 lesson riders a week. They took four riders and two horses to the regional finals in Eugene, Oregon at the end of September, and they all took either first or second in every class they entered, regularly beating barns with 40 horses.

There are no other saddlebred barns on Vancouver Island, but the Roes would like that to change.

“It’s a magnificent breed of horse,” Doug says. “Their versatility is hands-down the greatest of any breed. They can do anything you ask of them.”

Saddlebreds, the Roes note, can be used for jumping, dressage, eventing, western pleasure and trail riding.

Valley View’s main goal, says Doug, is to teach people to enjoy the horse world.

“People need to understand that if they come to visit us, we will show them how great this horse is.”

 

Just Posted

‘Every day is a new feeling’: Jackie Bates adjusts to her new life, and new lungs

Ladysmith woman’s life has changed for the better since receiving a double lung transplant on July 15

How the pandemic ushered in a marketing evolution at a B.C. aquaculture firm

For Grieg Seafood BC it meant pivoting fish to parallel markets without halting production

Kayaking the Johnstone Strait

An unpredictable delight for local travelers

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports fishing vessel personnel made the find on Saturday, Sept. 19

Patrick brothers pioneered hockey and tried, but failed, to remove violence

New history thesis shows their efforts to sell a “clean game” in Oak Bay

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Water supplies declared safe in wake of major tire fire near Ladysmith

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10 scrap yard fire at Schnitzer near Nanaimo Airport

Hundreds march against location of Duncan safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Most Read