Equestrian Professional Member Spotlight - Sue Norman of Nehalem Valley Arabians
Usually, when I talk to one of our members about doing a Spotlight article, they are just climbing off a horse. But not Sue Norman - she had just finished saving a life!
That's because Sue is a full-time Paramedic for the 911 system in Washington County, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Sue had completed a 6-day shift, including the Memorial Day weekend, which she commented on as being, "Very busy." Sue is currently in the process of constructing her dream barn on her Nehalem Valley Arabian farm with her husband, Max and they also have the local feed store, Jewell Farm Supply on their farm. So how in the world did she get to this point in her life?
Sue started life with her family in a suburban area of San Francisco, with no background in horses. But that didn't stop horse-crazy Sue! "I remember cutting out ads of horses and barns for sale from the San Francisco Chronicle and leaving them for my Dad when he would come home from work," Sue remarks. "The only way he got me to move from my friends when I was 13 was to tell me I could have a horse!"
So the family moved to the rural area of Marin County, California and Sue got her wish - an ornery Quarter/Welsh pony that had a mind of his own. Sue laughed as she recalled, "We didn't know a thing about horses, but I rode the heck out of that pony and then, when I outgrew it, my father bought me an unbroken ranch horse because we didn't know any better. I met the ground more times than I care to remember and I can't believe I didn't get killed, but I loved every minute of it."
College time came and Sue worked part time as a veterinary technician and continued her love of horses when she met with a local dressage trainer and became a working student. "I learned so much as a working student. She gave me the foundation I needed in my equine education and I really enjoyed dressage," says Sue.
After college came meeting her future husband, who agreed to ride horses on their first date (making him a keeper for sure!). Followed by 3 wonderful kids, and the purchase of their current farm in Jewell, Oregon. Jewell is along the Pacific Coast north of Portland Oregon. With a willing husband, Sue continued her streak of always having something grazing in her paddock and has done so for the past 45 years!
To further immerse herself in the industry, Sue and her family have owned and operated Jewell Farm Supply since 1987. Their store provides feed, seed, veterinary and general supplies for livestock as well as pet supplies to the Seaside area of Oregon.
Sue's children are now grown and leading their own lives but are still active around the farm. Her son, Alex, also followed in his mother's footsteps of being a caregiver and is currently a Combat Medic with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is currently stationed at Fort Riley in Kansas and has been awarded the Bronze Star. Daughter, Ashley is a Medical Assistant and has two children, and Sue's youngest son, Brice and his wife are awaiting the arrival of their first child. Which gives Sue her next generation of riders! Her 2 year-old granddaughter, Bella is currently riding in Leadline and Sue already has great plans for all her grandkids.
Within the last year, Sue has begun a major expansion of her facility. She hopes to be able to retire in four years and have her second career with her farm. A new barn and riding arena were started on the property to be able to expand the services she can offer. Sue said, "I couldn't tell you the first thing about interior design of a house, but I knew exactly what I wanted in the design of my barn and indoor arena. I even had it down to the color of the paint on the wall between the stalls and the indoor. It had to be reflective white so the horse and rider would stand out when we took action photos."
The expansion includes a 120' by 60' indoor arena, the only one within a 20-mile radius of the area, along with more stalls, grooming stalls and a tack room. Sue has also allowed local 4-H groups to use the facility to practice their ring work. She is always giving back to the community in some form. Sue wants to offer riding lessons, clinics, and other services with the expansion of her current facility.
Sue hopes to use these next few years to cultivate and develop her equine business into her full-time passion. She currently has 5 Arabians and one Paint, and is showing in the Western Pleasure division with her new mare, Ms Vanilla Pie (aka Khate). At their first show together, Sue placed first in four classes and second in one. Not a bad start! Sue is also to be congratulated on losing 75 lbs. this past year. You go girl!
Whenever I consider myself busy, I'll just think of Sue and all that she has accomplished and is continuing to do. I'm not even in the same stratosphere!
What Does Sue Say About Equestrian Professional.com?
This website has invaluable information for someone like me who is just starting out in a new venture. The articles and forums have given me valuable insight on potential problems and ideas on how to grow my business. The download section is full of great tools.
If you would like to contact Sue, you may call her at 503-791-4681 or visit her website at www.jewellfarmsupply.com.
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