Deborah Connor has been riding horses before most people learn to ride a bike. Competing by the age of eight, Deborah has spent her whole life working with horses. Today, Deborah trains and sells showjumping horses. Her story is so unique that it was made into a film in 2016 called A Sunday Horse. Deborah shared her incredible journey with us and how Headway Capital was able to help her business thrive.
When I was growing up, things weren’t always easy — far from it. My parents weren’t wealthy and I had a passion for horses, which was not a cheap business. However, I never let that stop me from pursuing my dream. When I was 17, I found myself at a crossroads and turned to my faith for comfort. It eventually brought me to the decision to quit my job in Florida, move back to Virginia and spend my life traveling all over the world through the horse show circuit. After many years of competition, I have settled into the business side of horse shows, and now run my own business. I import horses from Europe, train them and sell them to prospective riders. I also train the riders as well.
The funds I received from Headway Capital helped to bridge the gap during less busy times. Horse buying and selling can be very unpredictable — especially because prices vary by horse — and my Headway Capital financing helped me with that.
Getting the funds I needed was crucial to the livelihood of my business. On my 50-acre farm, I host 40 – 60 horses at any time. In order to acquire my stock for sales, I have to put a lot of money down as an initial investment to purchase the horse. Once they have been trained and ready to show, that’s when the real return comes in.
I’ve been using the same horse breeder for over thirty years and really respect the relationship we’ve built. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not what you buy, but who you buy it from. I frequently travel to his large farm outside of Amsterdam because I know I will find what I need. My source has up to 3,000 horses on his property at a time!
The funding also helps during our busiest time of year: the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit. Starting in December and lasting all the way through March, HITS attracts horse enthusiasts from all over the world. With our farm just 15 minutes from the grounds, this time of year is our largest for sales.
A very long time ago when I wasn’t as well off and younger, I got a horse for $1500 — I named her Touch of Class. She was a little crazy thoroughbred horse right off the racetrack. I invested a lot of time and money into training with her and after a while, it really paid off. We won double gold medals in the Los Angeles Olympic games. Touch of Class was the only horse that jumped in the Olympic games without a fault. She won athlete of the year, an honor typically reserved for the riders. After that, I was able to sell her for $2.6 million. It was a very proud moment for me, even after all these years. I’m glad that I can continue to work in a field that is challenging as well as rewarding.