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

Making A Life With Horses

Keynote presentation for the American Youth Horse Council Symposium, April 2013

Synopsis: Whether you earn your living with horses, or they are part of your life in other ways, we are all lucky to be graced by their presence in our lives. Take a trip through how the horse industry has evolved and changed over the last 50 years. Find out best practices of how others have made their life and living with horses. Ms. Oden provides guidelines for personal, professional and industry growth, and invites you to create new vision for the future. 

Opening words:  

I believe that horses make us better as humans – at least I know that it’s true for me. Horses have been critical change agents for me throughout my life. Emotionally, physically, intellectually, and professionally they have challenged me, grounded me, and been the catalyst for growth. Simply put – HORSES ARE MY OXYGEN.

Whether you earn your living with horses, or they are part of your life in other ways, we are all lucky to be graced by their presence in our lives. Horses are what we all have in common. I’m guessing that if you are at this conference that horses are a real passion for you. For some, horses have been part of your life for decades, and others may be newbies, though no less passionate. Many of you earn part or all of your income from the horse industry, some provide significant volunteer power that makes the industry go round, and still others provide significant resources to the industry by earning their income in other fields and pursuing their love for the horse and horse sport. That’s the distinction between making a living with horses and making a life with horses. Either way, horses are a central part of your life, and whether you earn your living with horses, or they are part of your life in other ways, we are all lucky to be graced in this way.

I am lucky to have been part of the horse industry at is has “come of age.” It’s been during this time that this sector has become recognized as an “industry.” My generation is the first generation to benefit from the great breadth and depth of the industry. In generations before, if you made a living or life with horses, it was most likely because you farmed with them, or used them for work or transportation in some way. Up through the 1960’s, if you worked with horses you were the crème de la crème of riding talent, and if you were an instructor you probably worked for a school. Horses hadn’t been mainstreamed yet, and so professional opportunities were very small. There has been much change in the industry, and there has been one constancy – the horse!


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Making A Life With Horses presentation



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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