I grew up working on the family dairy farm/ranch, and I often say I haven’t worked since. Nothing I’ve ever done has been as hard as dairy farming. But I have to admit my love for animals and the land is rooted in those early years. As a kid and adolescent, I was involved in 4-H and FFA. But then everything changed — my dad got a job in Detroit, and I spent the rest of my high school years there. Nothing like the decaying cities of the Midwest to make me appreciate the wide-open spaces where I grew up. So, for college it was back to Utah, where I played basketball and soccer while earning degrees in business and fire science.
After college, I traveled the world for several years, including spending time in Russia, Estonia, and Latvia, before ending up in Southern California in the late 90s. My time abroad made me realize how lucky we are here in America to live without fear of the government or official corruption. The right to own property without undue interference is one we tend to take for granted. It was in California that my early love of horses was reignited as I got involved with retired and rescued thoroughbreds.
It was also in California that I got into real estate when a real estate agent friend asked for help with some clients. They were specifically interested in horse properties, and he had no idea what they were looking for or how to help them. He knew I was into horses and asked me to consult with them and help him find what they wanted. In the process, I realized how much I enjoyed helping people find just the right piece of property. I soon found myself involved in real estate full-time, becoming a licensed agent in 2006.
It was that spring of 2006 that I met my wife, Rachel, and we married soon after. She might not have been raised around horses like I was, but she soon came to share my passion for them. She also proved to have a natural talent for riding. Our eldest daughter was born the next year and my mind turned more than ever to my dream of owning sizable acreage for horses — and the lifestyle that goes with it. I soon realized that my best hope of making the dream come true was to move again — back home to Utah. And that’s what we did in the summer of 2008. We’ve been here ever since, and I certainly have no intention of ever leaving. We’ve added a son and another daughter to the family here in Utah.
Currently, we own Quarter Horses and other warmblood sport horses. We do a lot of trail riding, including long pack trips deep into the mountains throughout the western U.S. As our eldest approaches 9, she is getting involved in both English and Western riding disciplines, and it looks like the younger ones will soon be following. We are also starting a breeding program — Rachel is proving to be very knowledgeable and astute when it comes to producing fine horses with great dispositions.
Our own search for a suitable horse property when we moved to Utah reemphasized an issue I had recognized in California. Probably 90% of real estate agents simply can’t conceive of the importance horses have to their owners. They are not just a hobby, they’re a lifestyle. And there is a serious commitment that goes with that lifestyle. It’s a standing joke that horse people looking at properties check the land, barns, etc. first and only after they know their horses will be comfortable, do they ask if there’s a house on the property. But the difference in attitudes aside, there is also a factual issue. Horse properties often involve concerns that are mostly particular to them and are not usually encountered in other real estate sales, with the result that most agents don’t know how to handle them. So, when I got back into real estate full time after getting my Utah realtors license in 2010, I decided I would specialize in this aspect of real estate, merging the two passions of my life — horses and land.