Equestrian Professional Member Spotlight - Mark Farndale of Farndale Stables
When you say Burbank California to most people, their first thoughts are of Hollywood and the home of mega-entertainment companies such as Disney and Warner Bros. What I also found nestled in the city is a dazzling equestrian facility by the name of the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, home of Mark Farndale and Farndale Stables. Mark took time out of his busy schedule to fill me in how he came to this place in his life.
Mark didn't really consider horses as a child as his family had no background in the industry. It wasn't until he was 14 that his family decided to move out in the "country" that he even considered it. The area they moved to had ½ to 1 acre lots and everyone had a horse in their backyard. There was also a community riding ring so Mark's sister decided she wanted a pony. "When my little sister decided she wanted a pony, being the competitive brother, I decided I wanted a horse. After riding, she wanted nothing to do with it, and I was hooked. I used all my savings ($125) and bought a horse."
That horse was a 2-year old Appaloosa filly named Frosted Parfait who was "kinda broke." Mark and "Misty" learned together and did gymkhana, barrel racing, and their own brand of eventing. "I saw someone jumping their horse and thought that looked neat. We learned to jump fence lines and picnic tables. We then went to Equestrian Trails Inc. (ETI) competitions, which is like 4-H, and competed in shows."
At age 16, Mark sold Misty, and purchased a Quarter Horse for $350 and began to focus on riding English. Unfortunately, his horse developed ringbone and Mark wasn't able to continue to ride. He then learned about Foxfield in Westlake Village. Foxfield was a highly regarded facility and fascinated Mark as a young man. At that time, Mark began to take lessons in earnest and was very successful in the Junior Jumper division. Mark's natural talent blossomed with training and he realized that he wanted to make this his career.
He moved to Virginia to attend Morven Park International Equestrian Institute and graduated with his Instructors Degree. Mark has coached many juniors and amateur riders to top honors in the show ring, and continued his own education with some of the top trainers in the United States.
Mark then stepped away from the industry for a period of time and was a personal chef for a catering company. "It was during this time that I realized how important horses were to me," Mark said, "I understood, because I stepped back, they weren't just fun or toys or machines, and that it wasn't just a daily grind. It helped me to focus on what was essential to me."
Mark returned to horses and came to the Equestrian Center in 2003 as an assistant trainer with Rosie Reed. He then become owner of the now Farndale Stables which is a very successful hunter, jumper, and equitation full-service barn. Mark used his knowledge to help working adults ride to decompress and come to the barn to relax. He has a clear understanding, from his own experiences, on how to work with new riders or riders coming back into riding after being away for a few years.
Another fun aspect of being so close to Hollywood is that Mark has been asked to provide behind-the-scenes support to Hollywood personalities for riding instruction. He has had several celebrities come to the farm to learn about riding and horse care for various movies.
He agrees that the economy has been difficult lately and he has made some adjustments to his business model. "I recently went to Germany in June, and I had to be selective with the horses I chose." He currently has 11 horses in training and is placing an emphasis on the Young Jumper Championships. "This is the one direction we really want to focus on for the future," said Mark.
There is one area that Mark feels hasn't changed and this is his philosophy with horses. "My number one concern is the health and wellbeing of my horses. They are partners and I respect and focus on that. I give all my horses personalized, world-class care. They may not all be worth a million dollars, but they are all treated that way."
I have no doubt that Mark's tailor-made approach has every horse spoiled in his barn. And that's just the way it should be!
What Does Mark Say About EquestrianProfessional.com
This website has invaluable information for someone like me who doesn't have an extensive marketing or business background. The articles and forum have given me valuable insight on potential problems and ideas on how to grow my business. The download section is full of very useful tools. And the webinars have been very educational.
If you would like to learn more about Mark, please contact him at:
Farndale Stables at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center
480 W. Riverside Drive
Burbank, CA 91506