Lots of little girls dream of owning a pony of their very own. Not many will start their own horse treat business to make that dream come true. Kayleigh Kendricks isn’t just any pre-teen.
Kayleigh wears more hats than some adults: student, businesswoman, baker, and eventer. The 11-year-old has been running her business, Galloping Goodies Treats, for the last two to three years after one of her favorite horses left her barn. Hoping to give him the send-off he deserved, she looked up a recipe and baked him some horse treats. Since then, the business has evolved into a nearly full-time pursuit.
“I’ve always loved to bake. I started baking treats when one of the horses at our barn was sold and I wanted to make him the cookies as a goodbye treat for him,” said Kayleigh. “I’ve seen it from different companies, so I just tried it. The first ones were horrific, but I’ve gotten much better.”
Galloping Goodies Treats plays an important role in Kayleigh’s life. She perfected the flour-and-molasses recipe after several months and now sells them online and at local schooling shows to pay for her horse’s board. She also works at the barn twice during the week and cleans stalls on the weekend.
“I’ll package them up and take them to schooling shows when I’m watching my friends and sell them there,” said Kayleigh. “Sometimes I do okay, but I’m still really shy.”
At this year’s Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, Kayleigh had the unique opportunity to test out her treats on an equine celebrity: 5* event horse Jollybo. 2023 was Kayleigh’s second year in a row attending the event, but it was her first time meeting a 5* horse and getting individual one-on-one time with a 5* rider. Kayleigh and her mom, Katherine, entered the World Equestrian Brands contest to win a Meet & Greet with Hawley Bennett-Awad and equine celebrity Jollybo via Eventing Nation’s instagram.
“I’ve met the riders at autograph signings, but never a five-star horse. Boyd Martin and Hawley are my favorite five-star riders, but I really loved meeting Jollybo. She was very sweet,” said Kayleigh, reflecting on the experience.
She didn’t know it, but Hawley also won a prize when Kayleigh was selected for the Meet & Greet: a big gift bag of Galloping Goodies Treats, including custom-made Jollybo cookies. Katherine said that Kayleigh made the cookies as soon as they entered the contest, in the hopes that they would win.
“I was hoping after I entered us that she would win,” said Kayleigh’s mom, Katherine. “She just decided that she was going to make Hawley some cookies and if we didn’t win, she was hoping to give them to her at an autograph signing.”
The good-luck cookies worked. Kayleigh won the social media contest and walked away from the World Equestrian Brand’s booth with a brand new Vespucci leather halter and memories to last a lifetime, after Hawley brought Kayleigh and her mom back to the barns to meet the famous and personable Jollybo.
For her part, Jollybo could not have been more thrilled with the fan attention from Kayleigh. She showed off several tricks, including her bloodhound (or should we say treathound?) skills. After a quick demonstration thanks to Hawley’s husband, Gamal, Kayleigh got to play a game with Jollybo where she hides a carrot in one fist and nothing in the other, and holds them both out to the horse. Without fail, Jollybo picked the hand with the carrot every time.
The Meet & Greet was almost like a mini clinic for Kayleigh, who got to ask Hawley lots of questions. The conversation covered topics from horse care to Jollybo’s personality to advice for the future. “Hawley told her not to be afraid to talk to the upper-level professional riders and ask questions, because they’re always happy to answer them,” said Katherine. “She also told us about a young Thoroughbred she has and showed us pictures.”
Perhaps most importantly, Hawley talked about the importance of being a good horsewoman with Kayleigh. “Hawley talked about how she keeps her horses sound and healthy and how involved she is in taking care of Jollybo,” said Kayleigh. “She also told me how that helps her to notice any issues before they become a problem.”
Kayleigh and Katherine are a family of Thoroughbred lovers. While Katherine has had her Thoroughbred for the better part of the decade, Kayleigh just got a horse of her own less than a year ago, a nine-year-old Thoroughbred named Shoot for the Stars (barn name Bold). “He had recently had an injury to his leg. I think he got it caught in a fence, but now he’s perfectly fine,” Kayleigh said. “We’ve done a little bit of Beginner Novice, but mostly just starter events. He’s just so perfect.”
Like a true Thoroughbred lover, Kayleigh loves the adrenaline rush of riding Bold. “I just love jumping,” she said. “I have a love-hate situation when he launches over things. Because it’s fun, but then I go flying, like a squirrel.”
Looking to the future, Kayleigh said that she doesn’t know if she wants to ride in a CCI5*, but she’s looking forward to competing on Bold this summer. While she says he’s still green and gets anxious, they’ll get to go out and have some fun at a few local starter events. When I asked her if she could ride one horse, any horse, who would it be, she didn’t have to think for long. She simply said, “Bold.”
[Click here to catch up on all of EN’s coverage of the 2023 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event]