September 2012: Gwynedd Saddlery At Irma Hill

Gwynedd Saddlery is operated by Holly McMullen, who has enjoyed thirty years of success serving the Hunter-Jumper and Dressage equestrians in the Philadelphia, PA. area. As these disciplines migrated into central Wisconsin, Gwynedd Saddlery was available to enhance and support their growth, while focusing on the requirements of those horses and riders who ride the trails in Central Wisconsin.

The Saddlery is located at the top of Irma Hill in Irma, Wisconsin, on the 'dedicated green’ 78 acre Drumlin Farm. The farm includes a log home and stables built by Scandinavian Log and Timber Works. In addition to the Saddlery, Drumlin Farm is focused on reducing its Carbon Footprint by implementing the McMullen Process which produces renewable Electrical Power and Solid Sequestered Carbon Products. Off -grid renewable electrical power, recovered heat and recycled nutrients are produced from available bio- mass and recycling, composting, wind, solar and various livestock. The home and stables will be available as a convenient and comfortable destination for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts as well as a working example of alternative energy production and distribution.

"Easyboots have been on our shelves from their inception," said Holly of their inventory strategy. "We started carrying the Original Easyboot as a way to overcome the unexpected thrown shoe or to be worn for hoof-related problems." Hoof boots have certainly evolved for the better since first entering the market. “I must admit to becoming a recent convert to the boots for trail riding. In the early years, one would never have thought to ride in boots but use only as an excellent way to retain hoof integrity while heading back to the barn."

The current boot styles offer ease of booting up, comfort for the horse and technology that affords horse horse and owner a proper fit of the hoof in ail disciplines of your choice. Gone are the days of one fit, fighting with cables and clips or having your horse stand around while waiting for the farrier. Holly is now proud to say that she is a convert and believes the boots offer the horse a safe and comfortable alternative to shoes, regardless of terrain.

Gwynedd Saddlery is currently carrying three styles of boots: The Easyboot Back Country, the Glove and the Easyboot Trail. She believes the Back Country and the Glove to be the most popular, offering customers a Fit Kit so they can ensure a good fit before purchasing the boots. Gwynedd Saddlery has also found the Stowaway Saddle Packs to be very profitable.

When asked what she attributes her success to, Holly responds "First and foremost, being honest and having good character is the only way to go through life. My shop has been successful over the last 30 years because of high quality products, repeat customers and the knowledge that was gained from riding and helping customers. Word of mouth has been, and still is, the best advertising strategy for me. Also, offering a mobile store for the barns and horse shows proved to be very successful. And, recently, I promoted an advertising campaign for our town of Irma, Wisconsin. I promoted all the local businesses as a destination and I have found that by helping other businesses to grow, it led to my own business growing."

Holly’s most memorable boot success story is about one of her customers that came in hoping to be able to ride her aged horse on short trail rides that, unfortunately, meant traveling over some rough, rocky terrain. She was able to find the proper boot and fit, which enabled an old horse, to once again, have a job and a purpose sharing evening trail rides with her owner.

Holly owns five horses herself: two Warmbloods, a Morgan Shire cross, a registered Paint and a retired mare for the grandchildren. The retired mare wears boots when needed for comfort. Holly is finding the Glove Back Country to be the boot of choice for one mare, while the other is in conventional shoes.

Growing up in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, Holly had the unique opportunity to trail ride with friends and associate in some of the top barns of the 60’s for hunt. Holly says that she finds many of today’s young people ride only in the ring, while the “older, wiser group of us” have returned to, or are starting to, enjoy trail riding. Holly feels that the barefoot industry will be expanding as this aspect of the industry grows. “Being back country, loosing a shoe and not having your home farrier in the same state does not set the stage for a nice vacation or help a horse return to camp in a sound manner. Thanks to the EasyCare boot line, I can now say that I have been there, done that and won’t be in that position again. I also feel that the ease of the boots, combined with a better educated, open-minded rider has helped the barefoot industry and the products to grow.”

The Mid-West Horse Fair is the only large commercial event that Gwynedd Saddlery does as a shop, while still serving the other horse shows as a mobile shop. Helping the riders of Northern Wisconsin has proven to be a great pleasure. Their website, shopgwyneddtrailrider.com, has proved to be very successful in reaching other trail riders throughout the country.


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