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Living a dream, Keeping it Real
By Heather Baiano
Nestled among the trees along Troup Road in Port Colborne, Hidden Creek Stables sits quietly in the winter snow. Horses munch comfortably on piles of hay, enjoying their turnout in the spacious paddocks. This is a lovely and welcoming sight, not only to a visitor, but to owner Brooke Cooksey who sees a dream come true.
Looking at Brooke, one would not guess that she is only 22 years old and has been in the horse industry for over 15 years. Having started lessons at age five, she went from riding horses to working and showing at different farms. This talented young woman learned to ride saddleseat, hunter, western and dressage. The idea of running her own farm grew in her mind during those years. When her parents bought a farm in 2004, Brooke decided to run her own barn. Her goal was to run a low key farm, one that would have lessons, boarding, showing and training.
In 2007, Brooke and her fiancé John decided to make Hidden Creek Stables their own. They bought a farm and some property in Port Colborne, along some quiet dirt roads. Now that she was on her own, Brooke realized she had to narrow down her focus on her business. Brooke found that she was spreading herself too thin; trying to do everything was actually hurting her plans of a happy, small barn. She now only does boarding and coaching clients on their own horses. Brooke shows her own horse when she has time and money.
When asked what she has learned in the past six years of running her own farm, Brooke makes sure to explain the good and the bad.
“I’ve always enjoyed the work, especially being able to see and work with my horses every day.” You must be prepared to put in hours of work every day. Brooke also says that you build special friendships with boarders. These friendships however come at a price. She has learned that everyone does things a different way, and sometimes there are clashes with horse owners. Being flexable and willing to compromise are two traits Brooke has developed in the six years she’s run Hidden Creek.
As a young woman starting her own farm, Brooke Cooksey has the following advice for others her age and have the same dream. Starting small is a good idea, than you don’t get over your head and out of money. You can always build bigger as time goes on and you prove yourself in the equestrian world. Brooke knows firsthand that you cannot be afraid of the bigger barns. They started small once too. To start a farm, at any age, people must believe in themselves, their abilities, and their dreams.
“Always dream big, just keep it real.”
905-380-3778 (phone for Hidden Creek Stables)