Building a Dream Barn from the Ground Up

Meet our newest blogger, dressage trainer Kelly McGinn, who will be sharing her journey as they build the dressage facility of her dreams.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted horses to be my career. Sure, I tried some other things along the way—I’ve had some interesting jobs that would probably surprise you, but that’s for another day. Fast forward to now: I have been a dressage trainer for going on 25-ish years. How did I get that old?

This was at Dressage at Devon 2018 on Don Sargasso. I hadn’t shown at Devon since 2003, so this was a great show for me after having spent many years building the business and focusing more on teaching. I was very grateful to Lynne and Bob Degour (owners and breeders of Don Sargasso) for the opportunity to show him. (Photo by Purple Horse Designs/Anna Smolens)

I have built a successful business over the years by hard work, consistent good training and effective and fair teaching. I have done all of this in other people’s barns. I have had some great opportunities due to the owners of these barns and I am truly grateful to each and every owner, as I wouldn’t have been able to have a business without their facilities.

This is at Dressage at Devon 2019. Don Sargasso and I were back at Devon but now with a new owner, Ruth Pomraning. Ruth has been a longtime client and friend who purchased Donny so we could continue our partnership. He was a firecracker in that ring (I love energy, but maybe slightly less would have been better!)

That brings me to where I am today, literally on the verge of building my own facility. This is truly a dream come true! We should begin building around the April 20, as long as the weather cooperates. This has been a long and arduous process that I am going to share with you in the next blog entry, but I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share with you my dream in building my own facility.

I hope that you will follow along on this journey with me. I am sure there are going to be ups and downs, victories and setbacks but if you have ever thought about building your own barn, I hope this could be inspiration and some help to you. If not, I can assure you some entertainment, bad grammar, equally bad jokes and a look into my life as a trainer, rider, mom and wife as we navigate this journey that we have worked so hard for!

So here goes… I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Kelly McGinn and I am a dressage trainer. I am married and have a daughter. You may remember an article in Dressage Today that I was featured in with Eliza Sydnor-Romm (she is a very good friend and our babies were born on the same day) on riding while pregnant

Well, that little person is now 6 years old! Her name is Louisa (or Lu) and she makes me a better person. I truly love being a mom and I want her to see my hard work and that if you are determined enough, your dreams can come true. She doesn’t have a pony yet… I know, I know… the horse trainer’s kid doesn’t have a pony?! But when I am at the barn, I am always working and since I don’t own my own barn, a pony has been put on the back burner. One of the first things I am going to do is get her a pony—I can’t wait! My husband (who was not a horse person, but he is kind of one now by default!) has been one of the main reasons we have gotten this far. He is the one who makes all the calls, gets estimates, meets with people and has basically driven this whole thing from the beginning.

He believes in me and my business and I would not have gotten this far without him. I hope you will join us on this journey as we build my dream barn and get it up and running over the next few months. Stay tuned as I’ll tell you more about our property and how we got to this point in my next entry. I’m looking forward to sharing this with all of you!

This last photo is Don Sargasso and I before we headed out to the show ring at Devon (2019). This is a great memory as I had so many of my clients/students at this show to cheer us on. I love it that clients become friends and we all build each other up and cheer each other on. That’s what it’s all about!






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