Sydney “Jenny” Lineker is one of few people who have been able to turn their passion into a profession. An avid equestrian and riding instructor for many years, Jenny knows horses and has been involved in the equestrian sport for much of her life. Her experience riding and working at other equestrian facilities gave her the confidence to start up her own training and show facility with her business partner, Ann Pryde.
Jenny and Ann met years earlier when Jenny was training Ann’s daughter in the sport. Ann had also grown up with horses and had owned and trained several horses herself. They became friends and after time decided to launch their own equestrian training facility. “Ann had previously run another successful small business, and I knew that with our combined experience we could do this and do it well,” says Jenny.
In 2009, the co-owners launched Vector Equestrian, a full-scale business offering training and show facilities for show jumping. They offer lessons and boarding for those who want to train and compete in equestrian sport. When they first started out, they leased property in Milton, Ontario. “We eventually outgrew that facility and made the decision to purchase our own land and training facility,” says Jenny.
“Purchasing the property was a huge decision,” she says. And a bold one. Located about 40 minutes away from their previous location, their choice of permanent location was a risky move considering they were asking their current client base to come with them. “That was a nerve-racking time. It was an incredibly scary thing not knowing if our client base would follow us so far away, but every single one of them did,” she says.
“The series of events leading up to the purchase pointed us in the direction of the facility we ended up with and it’s absolutely perfect. If we had to design a facility from scratch, it would be exactly like this one,” she says.
“Ours is not an easy business to make a go of, so to be able to buy our own property and get out from under a lease-holders thumb was a big move and big accomplishment.”
Their permanent location is beautifully designed farm complex that boasts 100 acres and includes outdoor riding areas, indoor riding arenas for training during the winter months, and a fully equipped building housing 31 horse stalls for boarding. The property consists of 40 acres of pasture where they grow their own hay and another 60 acres of conservation land where they can go trail riding and exercise the horses in a relaxed setting. The property is centrally located to Hamilton, Guelph, Waterdown, Cambridge, Burlington, Milton and Oakville.
Vector Equestrian trains riders at all levels – from beginners to competitive jumping. Their youngest student was just four years old, and they currently have riders competing in their 40s and 50s. “The oldest rider I have taught was in his 80s,” says Jenny with a smile. “That is the beauty of the sport – you can do it for a lifetime.”
Vector Equestrian currently has a team of 15 competitive riders that attend horse shows every other weekend from April to the end of September, competing for nearly six months out of the year. They attend Provincial and National-level horse shows and consistently bring home many year-end trophies in all age groups and event categories. They also bring their riders and horses to take part in one big show in the U.S. every year to compete against American riders as a test for their riders. “These shows are a great way to test yourself in terms of where you are at as far as the level of competition, and our riders have done very well in those competitions, too.”
Vector Equestrian has also found a winner in Sloan Partners in helping to make their business successful. Their previous accounting firm recently merged with Sloan Partners, and they are currently working through their first tax time with Sloan professionals. “We’ve only been with Sloan for about a year, but they have already helped us to understand how to make our operations better tax-wise,” says Jenny. Working with Sloan has also been an exercise in efficiency. “The tax season coincides with the ramp up of our competitive season,” she says. “We are busy with the operations of the business and it is nice to know we are in good hands and have someone we can trust to get done what needs to be done.”