How did you develop the idea for Home Horse? What inspired you to start the business?
Twenty three years ago when my children were little I replaced their little toy horse on springs with a wooden horseback shaped I carved from a log. I could strap their little saddle on the wood horse back shape which was mounted on the springs to keep them legged up for visits to the farm where my family has a show barn, mostly Hunter/Jumpers and some school horses. They always needed to be ready to mount up and go in the show ring so my main goal in the beginning was just simply to give them have enough time in the saddle to stay in shape. Since we didn’t have horses in New York City, it was this “pre Home Horse” that did the trick.
I eventually mounted the wooden horse back shape on an office chair post and mounted it to a round base and used it myself as a short stool while working in the studio. After a few days I could feel my core improve so I decided to pursue the design in a sustainable and economical method. After a couple of years I had the Home Horse as it now. I received a utility patent on the function of the Home Horse so for the next 17 years I need to get this to every trainer and rider in the world before I croak.
Is Home Horse your day job? If not, what else do you do?
My other work is as an artist. Besides painting, I have large site specific sculpture works in 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 14 Wall street, Goldman Sachs Headquarters in London on Fleet Street, St Paul MN
City Hall, the Via Com building in Times Square, 640 Fifth Ave, and I just finished a big outdoor piece for the crown of 220 Central Park South. Most of these pieces are created from cast crystal, steel framing, usually lit from within.
What is your background and how did that help develop the business?
I was riding before I could walk. My grandfather, who immigrated from Germany, kept about a dozen show horses since the late 1920’s. American Saddlebreds at first, and then after the War he became friends with some of the displaced horsemen from Europe and became interested in Jumping competition. With this group of military expats they came up with the idea that America should have big jumping competitions. A “Grand Prix” like they had in Europe so they held the first Grand Prix in the states at the Chagrin polo field in Cleveland, Ohio on July 25th, 1965 as part of the PHSA Horse Show. This first Grand Prix was featured in the Aug. 27, 1965 edition of The Chronicle of the Horse.
I had my mother’s horses to ride until I was 5, and then I got my own 1-year-old stallion pony to break and train. I started formal training with professionals at 7 when I would not listen to my mother anymore. First was equitation teachers, then jumping and dressage on an endless series of horses. Pony Club was new in the US then and my mother was a DC so we fox hunted with the Firestone hunt and we evented in the long format from the 60’s into the 80’s. We did hunter paces, gymkhana’s, and steeplechases. I played polo at Cornell when I was 14 and eventually ended up in the Olympic trials by 17. When I went off to college, I decided that I would pursue being an artist and just ride for fun. I continued to give lessons at the family farm and train and teach in NYC. In the 80’s my family switched to hunter/ jumpers and has sent horses and riders to Madison Square Garden. They still have about 30 horses and compete every week. They still teach the old-fashioned way; hours in the saddle, good horsemanship…etc. and the riders win!
What is it that makes Home Horse so successful for fitness? It looks so simple!
Secret Sauce. No, it is the pattered co-contractions that build symmetry, the ability to stretch and strengthen the inner thigh adductors, the abdominals, the obliques, the hip abductors, pelvic floor muscles, to lift the diaphragm up and get the shoulders over the hips, supple lower back, and develop a balanced secure seat. Oh and to have fun without it seeming like the dreaded word: EXERCISE. You can work on things you need to fix on yourself and do them over and over and over and not risk wearing out your horse (or teaching them bad habits). This helps build correct muscle memory for when you’re riding a real horse. It also helps to build your strength and stamina for riding so you can better support your horse.
What groups can Home Horse help most?.
Home Horse can help many groups of people, not just your average competitive or casual rider. Sciatic sufferers, cerebral palsy patients, fused spines, back issues, stroke, and people with balance issues benefit from using Home Horse. Golfers – for getting their hips flexible for driving. Polo players. Pregnant and postpartum riders. Any person needing a no impact workout, veterans and others with no legs, gymnasts…the list goes on. If you’re reading this, it can most likely help you.
Thinking about problems and solutions and speaking with trainers as to their needs lead to the additional products that go with Home Horse. We develop products by testing them out and then the manual labor comes – drilling, threading, gluing, cutting, poring, molding, etc. I make every Home Horse myself.
The Home Horse is guaranteed for the life of the purchaser against malfunction and that all parts are interchangeable so if something happens to the seat part you can pop another on and it fits your old base and post and visa-versa.
Do you plan on extending the Home Horse line any further?
I just developed a new product called Heels Down. It gives the ankles flexibility while on the Home Horse.
I have wedges that go under the base at 10 and 2 for 2 point practice. I’m working on an elastic return for posting practice.
Where do you see Home Horse in 5 years?
Right now, many members of the US and other Olympic teams use the Home Horse. They are also in use by the British Horse Society. In 5 years, I would like every equestrian to use it for the sake of their horses. I would like to see a Home Horse in every riders home or barn all over the world.
What are some of your biggest challenges as a business?
Supply chain management, keeping costs down and the quality excellent are always challenges. Advertising is a non stop challenge.
What are some of the most rewarding things about running Home Horse?
The amazing emails, letters and calls I get from riders that have been helped by their Home Horse.