|Conversations with Equestrians|
Shelley Campf of OZ Incorporated
Wearing Many Hats
Besides donning her hunt cap, which earned her Indoor honors last year aboard Alexandra Zell’s green conformation hunter Costar, Shelley Campf wears numerous other caps in her own business as well as for the future of our sport.
Wearing multiple volunteer hats within the USHJA brought special recognition at the USHJA President’s Dinner in December, where Shelley was awarded Volunteer of the Year.
Rider, trainer, business partner, board member, committee chair, statistician, show manager, entrepreneur describe her professional life not to mention mother of two, wife, gourmet cook and kick-boxer. When does she sleep?
Never intending to be a professional in this industry, love changed her tune. Not just falling in love, but her passion for horses and teaching led her down a path that has proven to be successful, rewarding and continuously challenging.
EqSol: Your beginning in horses?
I graduated from the University of Calgary with an applied math degree. I was never going to be a horseperson. I did ride in France for a year, which was great. On my way home to ‘get a real job’, I stopped at the Rhode Island Jumping Derby and ended up working with Paul Valliere for two years. Then I did get that real job as an environmental waste management consultant. We were turning waste into energy.
EqSol: How does Jeff Campf fit into this picture?
In 1990, on his way back to Canada, he wanted to spend time with his aging grandmother in Oregon – he is really sweet and sensitive, a real family guy – he didn’t want her to be alone. He picked up some catch rides in the area. I went to join him. I was still a consultant in Calgary and was actually able to send my files electronically (in a very slow fashion). So soon after we hung our shingle – Jeff Campf Stables.
EqSol: From Jeff Campf Stables to Oz, Inc.?
EqSol: So you made the horse business your real job?
We actually look at our business as a business. We have a five-year plan and a ten-year plan. When we meet goals we do new plans. We leased a barn initially and now we have our own farm on 50 acres.
I mentor a lot of young riders about becoming a horse professional, how it’s not all glamour. I enjoy that process, helping young girls find who they are. Of course I’m a big advocate of college, whether or not you want to be a professional.
EqSol: Wearing a hunt cap?
EqSol: Wearing the show manager hat?
Running horse shows hasn’t been a profitable venture. We are career horse show competitors, not career show managers. The horse shows provide an avenue and venue for local barns to compete. We can get a high level of competition at the HITS shows, Spruce Meadows and Indoors. But that’s not where you get your miles.
It’s been an eye opener – everyone who competes should be involved in management once or twice. Managers have to follow the rules of the governing body, plus the operating costs of horse shows are high. Yes you can make money if there are a good amount of exhibitors but I now have a much better understanding of all the expenses and work behind putting on a nice show. In 2009 we partnered this year with Mike Gallaway – Triple Rise Horse Show Management – his focus is show management as a career, mine is not. I just want to have good quality events. Now I can compete and not be the horse show manager. We all come to the plate with different strengths. It’s exciting that my vision for our area is taking another step towards reality.
EqSol: Putting on the USHJA hats, especially the hunter restructure committee and the newly launched Trainers Certification Program.
The Trainers Certification Program has been my best friend for over four years – it’s now a reality. The committee has worked tirelessly on developing an important and essential change for our industry, I am very proud of the whole program. Of course it will continue to develop, something like this will be a work in progress for many years. We will learn and tweak it as it evolves.
Knowing that all previous attempts at licensing/certifying trainers have failed for many reasons, one element we decided was important was not making it mandatory. That takes the onus part away and makes it the trainer’s choice. But why wouldn’t you want to have the chance to learn from your peers and mentors as well as have earned a certification? We are extremely pleased with the progress since we launched it this year.
EqSol: And you started a horse show entry system?
EqSol: And of course mother, wife, cook and…
EqSol: So you never left Oregon…
Shelley, we congratulate you on a fabulously successful year in 2009 and thank you for your tireless contributions to our industry.
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