James Alliston: On Starting His Own Business

When we heard James Alliston was starting his own business, we asked him to blog about the challenges, highs and lows, and rewarding moments he will undoubtedly face along the way. This is his first installment for Eventing Nation, in which he outlines his vision and goals for his new business. Like James on Facebook to follow along on his journey. Take it away, James!


James Alliston mucks stalls at his new facility. Photo courtesy of James.

From James:


Having my own three-day eventing training business has always been an ultimate goal of mine. I finally took the leap this March into moving to an empty facility and filling the barn with horses of my own, training horses and a handful of fantastic clients who continue to train with me. I had many fears and nerves moving into this new program, but have been nothing but excited, inspired and hopeful since I have made the move.

My focus has been around a few different aspects in creating a hopefully successful business. One, I have a riding school included in my business for starting out future event riders, so that I may build students from the ground up. This has already been extremely fulfilling in many ways and brings a lot of great energy to the barn having such ambitious and excited kids around the barn. Two, I have been pursuing any and all jobs, such as breaking and starting horses, as there is really a strong need for that in the area. Three, I have searched and scoured the area for young horses who show promise and have filled my barn with horses for the future, so I may sell some along the way and have a strong stock of talented event horses to work with.

I believe it’s important to keep an eye on not only this year’s competition season, but the competition seasons over the next 10 years that my current horses may not be a part of. I have also began doing more traveling clinics to really spread my business up and down the West Coast and have had great experiences and success with this. There is business in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, as well as California, and I want to wet my foot anywhere I can.

I believe I can enhance West Coast eventing with my connections to both England and the East Coast; however, having recently found so many nice young horses in California alone, I’ve been working to encourage clients to look more locally in their searches for young horses. While Europe has many strongly established breeding programs, there are plenty of quality horses in the U.S. too and specifically plenty on the West Coast. A great example is Hawley Bennett-Awad’s win the other weekend on her California-bred Thoroughbred Gin and Juice at Twin Rivers. You just have to search a little for them, which I have done and want to help my students do as well to fully utilize West Coast eventing.

My first two weeks on the new job have certainly been exhausting, as I have yet to hire anyone to clean stalls. The job has involved a lot of mucking out along with my riding. However, the thrill and excitement of having my own program motivates me to continue working hard, as I believe I can have an extremely unique program using all of my skills and experience to build young event riders and horses.

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