Kristen Savage • The Good of Goshen

Kristen Savage

Instructor / Owner, Savage Riding

My passion is riding. I started when I was 6 and got my first horse, Frankie, when I was 13. I’m from the Cleveland area, which has some of the most horses per capita. I came to Goshen for Goshen College to study elementary education and afterwards went on to teach at Chandler Elementary School. I worked there for six years, teaching fourth and fifth graders, and taught horseback riding lessons on the side. I’d always wanted to bring a more educational approach to horseback riding. There weren’t a lot of people doing things with horses here in Goshen when I came. Where I grew up, there were lessons and opportunities all around, so I wanted to bring some of that culture here.

Savage Riding was officially founded in 2014, though I had been teaching lessons throughout. I eventually found myself at a sort of crossroads point where balancing teaching and managing the company was getting trickier. My husband is a small business owner and after watching his own journey we felt that we could take this risk with the riding company. So, I left my path in teaching and started the program full time. I have about 50 students a week from 3-year-olds all the way up to adults of any age. We do English riding, Western, and a little bit of everything to keep things diverse.

One thing I worked on was the availability and cost of horseback riding. I really wanted anyone in the community to be able to participate despite their income. Out here it’s just me, so I task students to help me in return for discounts off their lessons. Massaging horses, cleaning tack or feeding horses, etc. Students come before or after their lesson and help out and get a discount on their lesson. They can work as much as there is availability and as much as they want to. There’s a lot of work to do so I appreciate the help and they appreciate being able to ride.

Every day, the fact that I get to create smiles for a living keeps me going. I’m here as a person who has created something that wasn’t there before and people come back and enjoy it. I love working with animals and when an animal gets something or a student can master something that’s a pretty neat thing!

Editor • Liz Core Shenk
Interview + Photography • Olivia Copsey

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