It all starts with love...
Love of horses, love of family, love of people, and love of doing the right thing.
My love of horses began at an early age. My dad was a guide and outfitter at the time, so we regularly had a small herd of horses at our place—unless it was hunting season, when they were all out West. My mom is a ”horse person”, too, so I guess you could say it’s “in my genes.”
Despite my love of dresses and all things “girly”, I still managed to be “in my jeans” a fair amount of the time, either playing out and around our horses, or riding around the neighbourhood or out to one of Dad’s permanent camps (on the rare occasions we took a family trip out).
Falling in Love
The summer I was nine, my parents acquiesced to my pleas to let me go riding alone. We had a dapple grey mare named Gal. Stubborn—my father made no secret that he was not overly fond of her—but she was stable, and short enough for a tall nine-year-old girl to get up on by herself. I tried to saddle her a few times, but of course, one of my parents always checked to make sure everything was snug… (Well, except that one time… but no harm done—I just learned how to slide off a horse instead of under the belly with the rig.)
That summer on top of Gal was full of magical memories. I took miles-long, hours-long rides all over the surrounding countryside (most of which was owned by relatives, so I guess my folks weren’t too worried), all by myself. Riding a horse became my first taste of independence, of freedom—and all the magic that had only lived inside my head until then seemed absolutely real. Gal was slow, and grey, and kind of pudgy, but in my mind I was atop a brilliant silver unicorn, and we were dancing through woods filled with faery kind.
A Good Match
Fast-forward almost twenty years to 2005: it has been over a decade since I’ve been on a horse; I now have a family of my own; my dreams tend toward the artistic (I am a songwriter and composer—for more about that, go to my music website, www.talenawinters.com.); and I am looking for a way to stay home and raise my babies but still bring some extra income into our family.
I started selling saddle pads by accident—and “by accident”, I mean, it was available. My mother, still very involved with the equine industry, had started up Wells Equine Products with her second husband, Vern Wells, in about 1998, with the idea of making the best-quality saddle pad in the world. Unfortunately, only a few years into their marriage and business venture, Vern passed away.
By the time I began looking for an income source, Mom had re-married to Mike Easton, the name of the company was changed to 5 Star Equine Products, it had moved to Arkansas, and they were just entering their sixth year of business.
Winters Distributing is Born
I approached Mike and Mom (Laurel) about becoming an online dealer, which they supported, but were hesitant about my choice of e-commerce
platform: eBay. After I convinced them to let me give it a try, I started up my new business. And that’s when my learning curve began!
I loved the mission of their company, about creating products that were the best for the horse. I loved helping my customers get saddle pads that actually fixed their problems. And the more testimonials and glowing reports that filled up my inbox, the more convinced I became that I had finally found a business I could believe in.
I have worked in several different industries, but have discovered that this one has the best customers in the world. People who love their animals, and want to do the best they can to take care of them. People that I have learned so much from. Honest, forthright, decent folk who are a true pleasure to serve. People for whom the magic of horses is still alive and well.
Happily Ever After...
After several major moves (through which my online business remained open, almost uninterrupted), we have settled in northern Alberta, in the Peace Country. In 2009, we started “homesteading” on 60 acres of old pasture, and we’re loving every minute. Despite the challenges, we are building our own little “farm”, which now includes two dogs, two cats (this number is changeable, as most country folk
know), two roosters, and about twenty laying hens.
Hopefully, we are only a few years away from owning a few sheep, a cow or two, and finally having some horses of our own! Our land is my dream property, and our woods are filled with faery folk. I love walking through the trees, watching for the magic that they left laying about out of the corner of my eye.
I am so thankful that I have been able to stay home and home school my three wonderful boys. I am thankful that this business has allowed me to pursue my passion of songwriting. And I am thankful that, because of Winters Distributing, I have met so many wonderful people. It is because of you that I have finally ventured out to my own web store. You have made the whole, crazy ride enjoyable, and I thank you for your continued support.
As I said, it’s all because of love. (And maybe a little magic.)