Change is never an easy thing; so often we fight it, fear it, or just ignore it. But when we look at change in a positive light, we learn to accept it and focus on all of the good things to come. After four incredible years, we will be closing Hanging Heart Ranch. (Some good news though: Michelle will continue to offer select lessons with her personal horses - SEE BELOW). This has been an incredibly difficult decision, but we are both very excited about our futures and we will ALWAYS carry the Hanging Heart brand as an integral part of who we are.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE INSTRUCTORS & HORSES:
Justine is excited to be living in San Luis Obispo and hopes to start a new job soon; Tucker will be joining her in the middle of September at a spectacular boarding facility. Michelle will be going back to school to get her teaching degree and is excited to be able to spend more time with her family in Santa Ynez. She will continue to teach lessons on select days with Charley, Kippy, Misty and Fetch (you are still able to use the firstname.lastname@example.org email or call 805-350-1971). Duke has scored an easy-going retired life in the care of two five-year-olds. :)
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE MEMORIES:
Between camps, meeting new lesson students, anniversary parties and horse shows, we have so many wonderful memories at Hanging Heart Ranch. We will never forget the Templeton Fourth of July Parade, where we decorated Drifter and Yellow head-to-hoof in red, white and blue, and pulled a trailer full of students. We were so excited to learn that we had taken home the first-place trophy! Another one of our most favorite memories was when our students helped us host a horse show to raise the funds necessary to send Duke to equine therapy for two months. We have always been so amazed by everyone's kindness and support for the ranch these past four years, and we are forever grateful.
THINGS WE HAVE LEARNED:
Just Go With The Flow
We learned to make the best of any situation. After days filled with 20 kid birthday parties, or summer weeks with 15 campers, “going with the flow” has become our specialty. We became sensitive to the cues to understand if a student (or horse) was having a bad day, and we made it our priority to turn that around.
Horses Always Know
Great day, sad day, bad day-horses ALWAYS know. They pick up on our emotions and proceed to either turn our day around or teach us a life lesson. Watching our incredible lesson horses help calm a nervous rider, or give a confidence boost to a student in need, was always such a great thing to witness. Our horses could always pick up on the type of rider that was on their back. The training horses we have schooled have also taught us many lessons about patience and controlling emotions. All of these different horses and experiences have helped shape us into the horsewomen we are today, and we are so incredibly thankful for each and every horse that has been a part of Hanging Heart Ranch.
Don't be Afraid to Try Something New
Starting our own business at 23 definitely fits in to this category, but it has been the little things along the way that have really helped us to realize that there is no need to be afraid to try something new. Whether it was trying a new type of advertising (being on the radio one summer was pretty fun!) or creating a show team, we realized that not trying something new because of fear was worse than failing. We know that our next endeavors after Hanging Heart Ranch will be just as incredible as the last couple of years, and we look forward to the future with confidence.
Best Friends are Forever
After running our business as best friends for the past four years, we don't doubt that our friendship will continue to grow after the Hanging Heart Ranch era is over. We have been through some great times (watching our business expand tremendously) and some bad times (dealing with both of our mothers’ cancer diagnoses and losing a lesson horse), yet we always worked as a team and understood each other's strengths and weaknesses. We both agree that there is no one else in the world we could have done this with, or would have wanted to do this with. The Hanging Heart Ranch brand will ALWAYS be a registered brand to Justine Gentilini & Michelle McKenzie (Tucker now has the Hanging Heart brand on his left hip).
We thank everyone for an INCREDIBLE past four years. We have loved every moment of this journey, and we know that the future has great things in store. We might be starting new endeavors, but the Hanging Heart Ranch brand will continue forever.
~Justine Gentilini & Michelle McKenzie