Good horsemanship is built on solid basics…so is good business!

Posted by Lisa Derby Oden
Lisa Derby Oden
I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that
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on Sunday, 13 July 2014
in Penniless Philanthropy

Free Rein Project Pays it Forward, by Kim Cardeccia


Kim Cardeccia, Hidden Promise LLC, shares her "pay it forward project" here. What a pleasure to hear of this good work - I got goose bumps! I hope you do too. Thank you Kim, keep up the great work.


HiddenPromiseslogoonlyLisa explained to me that the Penniless Philanthropy project was steeped in a framework of “pay it forward.” She would help me with my business, and in exchange she would ask that I agree to pay the sentiment of generosity and opportunity forward in some way that spoke to my heart. I decided that I would call my method of contribution “free rein” and let my imagination run a little with what this program would look like.


Then, all of a sudden the answer was incredibly obvious. I had been contacted almost a year previously be a lady who had stage 4 cancer. She was interested in learning about horses and had seen an ad for a workshop I was facilitating called “equine inspired mindfulness.” She came out and had her free introductory meeting, after which we scheduled an appointment for her.

For health reasons, she had to cancel that appointment, and later had to admit her father into a nursing home. A lot of these life obstacles seemed to keep her from being able to come out and spend time with the horses.


After her father passed away, she decided to take the workshop, and I watched her just light up with the experience. I knew that I wanted to be able to offer her the opportunity to be around horses as much as she could. So, when I ran into her and her husband one day at Meijer’s, I told her that I would really like to have her come out as often as she could, and not worry about paying. (I knew that finances were very tough for them.)


Even with this offer, I still couldn’t get her to come out to the barn very often at all. So, I told her about the Penniless Philanthropy Project, and how I needed to pay it forward to hold up my end of the agreement. This worked! It must have given her enough validation that it was ok to take me up on the offer, and she started coming out to the barn as often as she could, which was, and is, usually about 2 or 3 times per week.

She can’t always stay very long, but she is learning how to, and helping care for the horses. She also get some time in the saddle, where we include some visualization with her eyes closed as I lead the horse. She has shared that she feels like she has a purpose again. Cancer had robbed her of feeling like she had any reason to get out of bed in the morning. It has been amazing to watch horses give her back a purpose, as well as hope and joy. Horses are such amazing animals, and give so much so freely. I am so fortunate to be able to witness this, especially in this free rein adventure.

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About the author

Lisa Derby Oden

I've been fortunate to be involved with horses throughout my life... so far that is! Early in my career I owned and operated Derby Farm, a riding stable in Buxton, Maine. I have also worked as a freelance riding instructor and bring all this practical experience to my consulting work. Blue Ribbon Consulting focuses on business and nonprofit development in the equine industry. I provide evaluation, planning, research, marketing and problem-solving services to take you successfully through all your horse business transitions. I've worked with clients around the world, and have received state and national honors for my work in the equine industry. Since I love this industry and believe in it, I've also been a nonprofit founder, board member, and executive officer for local, state and national organizations. I've worked with nonprofits in strategic planning, program development, corporate development, fundraising, grant writing and grant administration. Part of this wonderful journey has also allowed me to serve as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer at several universities, and to deliver business development, marketing, and leadership seminars throughout the United States. I also developed and oversaw the Entrepreneurs Resource Center for a community college. I've published two books, have been a columnist and freelance writer for many trade publications, and am a partner in the CD series “Inventing Your Horse Career.”


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"When I was an adjunct at UNH, Lisa Derby Oden brought a wealth of information and knowledge about current issues facing the equine industry locally and nationally to the equine science students there...Lisa provided a full understanding of how each segment of the industry is dependent upon each other for stability and growth. Her in-class workshops helped students increase their awareness of problems encountered in the equine field. She offered opportunities to learn about small business operations and professionalism.

Time and again, she offered UNH undergraduate students insights into current horse industry trends which have an effect on their chosen equine profession. I sat in on Equine Business Management when Lisa offered it through UNH. It helped me tremendously with my own business on my farm. I highly recommend her industry workshops as a must do walkthrough before venturing into any horse-related business. "

Heather Smith, Sunrise Bay Farm, Durham, NH