Carol, Ashley and Doug Roe display one of their horses along with Valley View Farms students Tegan Yakimovitch and Max De Nardi. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Big opportunity for Valley View Farms

Duncan equestrian business selected for one of four grants in North America

Valley View Farms has been presented with a phenomenal opportunity.

The equestrian business near Duncan was recently chosen for a business development grant from the Kentucky-based American Saddlebred Horse Association that could open new doors for their enterprise.

Under the grant, Valley View will get six months of coaching and business development work with Elisabeth McMillan, who Doug Roe, who runs the farm with his wife Carol and daughter Ashley, calls “the world’s top equine business consultant,” followed by another 12 months of follow-up.

Valley View is one of four farms in North America to receive the grant, picked out of thousands. The American Saddlebred Horse Association identified four regions on the continent that were considered underdeveloped in terms of the saddlebred presence, but which have potential. Valley View was selected for the West Coast region.

Although all of the big saddlebred shows on the West Coast are held in Washington, Oregon and California, the association opted for a farm located in B.C., much to Valley View’s surprise.

“When we were chosen, we spoke to [McMillan], and we said, ‘we’re gonna be honest, we’ll be the hardest client you’ve ever had,” Roe recalls. “She said, ‘that’s why I chose you.’”

McMillan’s consulting will help Valley View redevelop their brand, website and social media, and get better at attracting and developing clients.

“It’s kind of a neat program to be gifted with,” Roe says.

Through the program, Valley View will become the main ambassadors for the saddlebred horse in the region, something they’ve already been doing to a degree for 20 years in the Cowichan Valley and 20 years in Langley before that.

“That’s why we’re excited,” Doug Roe says. “We’ve been working the last 40 years to promote this breed of horse.”

Under the American Saddlebred brand ambassador program, which awards points to farms and individuals for things like attending shows, promoting the breed and having a media presence, Valley View was the regional champion for five years in a row before being named regional reserve champion in 2018. Ashley Roe has been regional individual champion for six years in a row and was named reserve world champion for 2018. She recently took on the role of head trainer at Valley View.

“Ashley has travelled all over North America learning to be amazing,” Doug says. “And now she’s bringing her knowledge and skills back to the Island.”

A small farm in the scope of the industry, Valley View has developed several elite riders, many in the saddle seat style of riding, but Roe thinks that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

“We do very well,” he admits. “But we can do better.

“This year especially, we’ve got several new horse owners, new riders going to international shows and winning. Our lesson program is about as big as we can handle, but there’s always room to do better.”

Valley View has six lesson horses and four show horses, and typically has about 25 lesson riders a week. They took four riders and two horses to the regional finals in Eugene, Oregon at the end of September, and they all took either first or second in every class they entered, regularly beating barns with 40 horses.

There are no other saddlebred barns on Vancouver Island, but the Roes would like that to change.

“It’s a magnificent breed of horse,” Doug says. “Their versatility is hands-down the greatest of any breed. They can do anything you ask of them.”

Saddlebreds, the Roes note, can be used for jumping, dressage, eventing, western pleasure and trail riding.

Valley View’s main goal, says Doug, is to teach people to enjoy the horse world.

“People need to understand that if they come to visit us, we will show them how great this horse is.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Valley View Farms’ Ashley Roe shows off a ribbon after a big win. (Submitted)

Just Posted

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

No one hurt in Maple Bay Road fire

Fire under investigation

North Cowichan to police popular trails to ensure physical distancing

“You can expect delays accessing Mount Tzouhalem, or even to be turned away.”

Duncan’s Pat Kay copes with Olympic roller-coaster

‘Confusing time’ as Canada pulls out due to COVID-19, followed by IOC postponement

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Most Read