Thursday, May 27, 2010

Get the Real Story

Professional's Choice is a company filled with a lot of history. We are a family owned and operated business. And, if you read last week's blog on how we got our start you can see how we've come a long way.

Over the years, I've heard various stories on how our products helped this or that horse or rider--even miracle stories. There's folklore and facts and of course plenty of exaggeration that comes along with any story. However, true facts--real history is always the best kind of story to tell. Did you know we were the first corporation to provide sponsorship to NRHA? How about the fact that we (no one else) created the Sports Medicine Boot that has allowed us to help more than 3,000,000 horses worldwide? Did you also know that we have conducted university studies on our boots and pads and print those studies that show the effectiveness of how they actually work? If you think a knock off product looks just like ours and you buy it because it's cheaper, all I have to say is do your research. There is not a leg care product out there that can do what The Original Professional's Choice Sports Medicine Boots do for your horse--support, protect and absorb up to 26% of negative hoof concussion that travels up the leg and throughout the musculoskeletal system of the horse.

I think equestrians love information. They love facts. They are always wanting to learn more, something new. Equestrians are information seekers who are passionate about their animals and their sport (be it English, western, competitive or for pleasure). Since we are a group of souls who want to be informed, I thought it might be fun and interesting to add a weekly post on "The Real Story." Getting the real story will be all about our products and how and why they work, horses who have had their lives improved or changed for the better, riders who have had their lives improved and changed for the better, etc.

If you have a story you would like to tell about along these lines, I'd love to hear from you!

Check in on Tuesday for "Our Weekly Blog Line-up." Here is a preview of things to come:

We will be posting on The Historical Horse. Getting the Real Story, Ask the Vet--Dr. Joleen Elston, Ask the Professionals (Al Dunning, Gina Miles, etc), and a few more fun items brewing. So keep coming back and checking the blog posts!

Have a wonderful long, holiday weekend. I, for one am looking forward to it. I am either insane or...yes insane, I am a horse lover, as I have taken on a huge project--3 yearling fillies. Therefore, I am really looking forward to the long weekend with my new girls.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is a Horse Just a Horse? Or is Your Horse a Family Member?

I am one of those horse people who some horse people think is a nut. When a horse comes into my family, he/she becomes family. I don't take horse ownership and responsibility lightly. This is a philosophy instilled in me since I was a kid. All of the horses I grew up with (all 5 of them) are buried on my parents' property under trees marking them.

Recently I was heart broken when given the news that my mare Krissy is a wobbler. Her diagnosis from the get go was difficult because for a year she would present lameness issues, yet we couldn't quite figure it all out until one day she was pretty ataxic and I knew right then that there was a real problem. There are some options with her, one includes surgery--but as far as I am concerned none of the options make a lot of sense. The one option that I have had a few people suggest to me is euthanizing her. To me, that is a horrifying thought. This is a horse who is all heart. She is kind, she is intelligent and she has a strong work ethic. She is family. I've had to wrap my brain around the fact that my dream horse is done with her job--at least her initial job. Trust me, I have cried, I have been completely frustrated and angry, and I have found myself in her stall asking her and God, or anyone who might answer me as to why? The answer I have settled on is that Krissy has a new job to do now. With her big heart, she provides me a place of respite at the end of a long day. I can talk to her and she listens (and she never talks back. I have 3 kids and they all have the ability to talk back). Is she expensive? Yes. Has it been an emotional toll? Yes. But is it worth it? Absolutely 100%. This horse is an animal that when I bought her, I made a comittment to her. And, just because the job I had intended for her hasn't worked out, her worth has not diminished in my eyes. I don't view her as a lawn ornament either. As I mentioned already, I view her as family. Call me a horse crazy nut...whatever...Krissy is a keeper and I've even found another job for her. She gets to try on any new Professional's Choice product design first. I have officially coined her as The Professional's Choice Super Model. Now if she could only bring in some super model type of pay check, we'd be even that much better.

The picture above is of her telling me a joke about the dumb cow who lives next door.

How about you? Do you view your horse(s) as family? If they couldn't do the job they were acquired to do, how would you handle it? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories.


Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Employee Spotlight: Kristen Davison

Today on the blog, I want to introduce Kristen Davison. Kristen is our marketing coordinator here at Professional's Choice. She is an awesome employee and an excellent equestrienne. I can't say enough good things about this young woman. We are lucky to have her on board with us, as she always goes the extra mile without ever being asked. When she read over last week's blog about "The Historical Horse," (which if you haven't read and made a comment, you should because you will be automatically placed in a drawing to win some great stuff at the end of the month!), she wrote a response to it that was thoughtful and enjoyable. It also caused me to think that a weekly employee entry would be a good regular post to have. We have a lot of horse people working here at Professional's Choice and I think it would be fun to spotlight them!

I am sure you will enjoy Kristen's post:

This blog got me thinking not only about the history of horses but how horses have affected the history of me, Kristen Davison - Marketing Coordinator at Professional’s Choice. What kind of person would I have become if I had never fallen in love with horses? They have been such a big part of my life for so long that it’s hard to imagine another way.

I started taking lessons when I was 6 years old. After a few years and a lot of hard work I began catch-riding and helping my trainer “flip” ponies. In high school I moved up to schooling the clients’ horses and teaching the “up-down-ers” (we call them that because you feel like a broken record trying to teach them to post “up… down’). Then it was time to apply to college. I knew I wasn’t ready to give up riding, so I set my sights on a campus with an Equestrian Team. The essay question for the University of San Diego asked me to “Briefly explain how your unique background and interests will contribute to our community” – so naturally I wrote about horses… and I got in! I spent four years at USD riding for the Equestrian Team, where I met the coach who is now my trainer, and fell in love with her “project horse” who is now my “project horse”.

When it was time to graduate and begin looking for a job in the real world, I knew I may have to take a break from riding. After many hours of searching and a healthy dose of frustration – as anyone who recently looked for a job will attest to – I found a posting at an equine sports medicine company. In the end, it was my knowledge of horses that gave me an edge over the applicants and earned me a spot at Professional’s Choice.

Without horses I would have never made it to USD, never met my horse that is now my daily dose of therapy, and would not be sitting here at Professional’s Choice writing this blog to you… I would be a totally different person, living a totally different life. I am so thankful to my four-legged friends who have molded me and pushed me to grow into the person I am today.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The American Dream

My parents are American Dreamers. They started Professional's Choice over thirty-six-years ago. There have been some tough times and some great times. I think probably most of the time we are always learning, growing, and striving to make the lives of horses more comfortable.

I have been asked over the years how the company was started. I have to take credit for that. Well, sort of. You see, I fell in love with horses when I was about five-years-old and my parents bought a house with a little land on it where we could have horses. The neighbors across the street had a pony I would go over and ride, but that didn't satisfy me. I wanted my own horse. Lucky for me that my dad had grown up on a ranch and had always had horses as a kid, so he was pretty much on the same page as I was. I'm not sure how my mom felt about it, but she got on board soon enough, and Dad brought home this giant of a horse named Ivan. Ivan was a gentle giant. He was some kind of draft/Quarter thing. He was about 16. 3 and had a butt on him that was about as wide as a bus. I have no clue what Dad paid for this horse, but whatever it was, he proved to be worth a million dollars and then some. Ivan passed away when he was about thirty-years-old and he's buried on my parents' property under his tree. He taught so many people how to ride--kids and adults. He had to have been one of God's angels on this Earth because Ivan genuinely loved people and other animals.

So, Dad brings home Ivan, and for a week my little six-year-old brain is in over drive because all I want to do is get home from school and ride this horse, and all I want Dad to do is get home from work so that I can ride this horse. At the time, my dad was in the car industry and he worked extremely long hours. Finally, I guess Dad couldn't withstand my begging and pouting any longer, and he came home early to take me out on Ivan. We hadn't even had a chance to buy a saddle yet, so he puts a bareback pad on him and hikes me up on his back. He tells me, "Now we're gonna go out behind the houses there on that trail, and you're only to walk him." I nodded, my pony tail bobbing in the air (this was the days before the helmet was mandatory and en vogue--I can tell you that my dad had me wearing a helmet long before most kids and that had to do with one ornery pony I grew up with, which is a later blog story to come).

I did as I was instructed and took Ivan out on the trail at a walk. My dad had one of those little putt-putt motorbikes and he followed behind us on it. We get to the end of the trail and turn around and Dad says, "Okay, now this horse knows it's close to his dinner time and he also knows he's headed to the barn. You are not to go any faster than a walk."

I am sure that my response was, "Okay, Daddy." I'm just sure it was. However, it didn't go down quite like that. Within a couple of minutes Ivan was headed to the barn at full speed and Dad was in the dust. We went over a hill and down the hill, and I came off, landed on my butt in some sand. Ivan ran back to the barn, and Dad wiped out on his bike--big time. He broke his leg in several places.

Now, sometimes you can look at a broken leg and think, "This really sucks." However, my dad is one of those 'the glass is half full types,' and he was sitting out by the pool with his cast on trying to figure out how he could get into the pool without getting the cast wet. This set in motion a series of events. The short version is that Dad created a product called The Dri-Cast, and this neoprene cast protector allowed him to get into the water without getting the cast wet.

The cast came off, the product was developed along with a few more and then another light bulb moment occurred. Dad realized at the time there was nothing really great available to protect and support a horse's leg. He started talking to vets, trainers, any professional he could in the equestrian world and he came up with what he coined as the polo boot. It went from there. Since those early days, we've come a long way, but the focus remains the same--The Horse.

You never know how things are going to turn out. Who would have thought that a gentle giant (and he really was) headed to the barn with a pipsqueak of a kid falling off his back, causing a dad to break his leg and then invent a product would then one day turn into a company that is the market leader renowned for revolutionizing the equine industry. We've done it through not only diligent scientific research, but also through dreaming and tenacity. One thing I do know after watching my family build a company over three decades is that a lot of hard work and good people goes into it. Nothing comes easy, but when done with the right intentions, somehow (I believe) God puts His hand in it and stirs it a bit, and dreams become realities.

I'd love to hear about your dreams and how your horse(s) help them come true.

Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President

Friday, May 14, 2010

Why We Ride

I am fortunate to have two real driving passions in my life. Obviously, the horses are a huge part of my family's life and mine. I love working for our family business where I can participate on a daily basis in finding new ways to make our equine partners live out their lives comfortably and happily. Some of you may know that my other passion is writing (let me just say that if we were having this conversation face-to-face, I would have to really annunciate the "t" in writing versus the "d" in riding). Yes--I am a writer. I've written two mystery series and a handful of other novels.

The reason I bring this up is that I was lucky enough to be able to participate in an anthology project titled, "Why We Ride." This is a book of short stories written by women writers on the horses in their lives. My good friend Verna Dreisbach edited the book and Jane Smiley has written the foreward. The stories in the book are inspiring, fun and full of love for the horse. The book has already gone into a second printing and it was just released this month! I hope you will consider checking it out at your local library or picking up a copy at the bookstore. It is a book for horse people by horse people. For me, it gave me the opportunity to tell the story of of what growing up with horses was like and more than that it's about the adventures my friends and I had out on the trails with my Dad who was the leader of our little gang that we called "The Billy Dal Gang." My Dad started Professional's Choice, along with my Mom over 35 years ago, and the horses were the reason they started the company. As mentioned in my last post, it's always about the horse. However, my short story on The Billy Dal Gang is also about how much fun the horses provided us as little girls, and how my Dad taught us what it meant to care for, respect, and really love our animals.

Here is Libarary Journal's Review Of "Why We Ride"

Dreisbach writes that we choose a horse for many reasons, such as beauty, ability, what we see of ourselves reflected in the horse (or what we wish we were like). All 20-plus contributors to this collection--for example, Jane Ayres, Kara Gall, Michele Scott, and Jacqueline Winspear--believe that their horses taught them something about themselves and made them stronger, better people. If you're looking for a rational, objective reason as to why women ride, it will not be found in this book--all the contributors write of a passionate love and connection with the horse (sometimes in spite of being physically injured while riding), and most are impressed at being in control and/or partnering with such a beautiful, graceful, and powerful animal. VERDICT Animal lovers and readers of horse memoirs such as Susan Richards's Chosen by a Horse and Jane Smiley's A Year at the Races (Smiley here contributes a foreword) will enjoy this compilation. --Library Journal, May 1, 2010

As a sidenote, I'd really like to know from you, what are some of your favorite horse stories? They can be books, movies, TV Shows. And, don't forget to read this week's post on the Historical Horse. If you contribute on the comment page, you will automatically be eligible to win some cool stuff from professional's Choice in this month's drawing.

Have a wonderful weekend! Go hug your horse.

Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Historical Horse

The other night some friends and I got on the topic of horses. Imagine that! And, after a couple of glasses of wine our conversation grew quite philosophical. We all agreed that without horses, we wouldn't be where we are today as a civilization and culture. The advancements that our equine partners have provided us with are in many ways a miracle and they are the footing (no pun intended) for thousands of major historical events. Wars have been waged on horseback, transportation for centuries was done via the horse which brought us mail which allowed us to communicate, helped us trade and wage in commodities--and on and on. Thinking about this gave me an idea!

I'd like to try something new on the blog as a weekly article and hope our readers will participate. I think it's important to chronicle the history of the horse and I believe that because of the fact that they are so much of the reason as to who we are as a society today--whether you have horses or don't have them, whether you adore them or can't stand them--the fact remains that this is true. So, I'm hoping you will help me--if you have a historical tidbit about a specific horse who helped shape our future or a group of horses (say in battle or via The Pony Express) e-mail me at and I will put a little time and effort into researching history and post about it. Anyone who comments with a story or tidbit will become eligible to win a Professional's Choice product in what I am calling the ProfChoice.blogspot monthly drawing!

The value of the horse is, well, invaluable. That's why our philosophy here at Professional's Choice is all about making the horse's life more comfortable, their careers lasting longer, and their lives easier. It is truly about the horse and giving back to him. If we were to take our focus off of that fact, we would be just another company making products that might make us money because they sell, but wouldn't achieve what we strive to do everyday be it in developing new products, improving core products, researching and turning that research into data to see if our theories work. It's why we have studies that back up the fact that our Sports Medicine Boots absorb on average 26 % of negative hoof concussion.

Bottom line--it is about the horse. It has to be. look at all they've done for us.

Now get out your history books and send me your stories!


Michele Scott
Professional's Choice
Vice President