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Selling $7,000,000 dollars worth of horses is something most people in the horse industry dream of doing in their lifetime. Now selling over $7,000,000 worth in one year by September 1st, that’s just reality for Melanie Smith, of Solo Select Horses LLC. Oh, and did I mention she’s only 28 years old?
Melanie’s path to success wasn’t handed to her either. She grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas, in a non-horse related family. Never the less her hard work and eye for a good horse has put her in a position of success in the horse industry.
“I began volunteering at a place called “Whispers of Hope Horse Farm” when I was 10 years old,” says Smith. This progressed to her getting her first horse, and later meeting Craig, Don, and Janet Crumpler of Crumpler Brothers Cutting Horses. The Crumpler’s taught Melanie A lot about performance horses while she worked there. Then she rode some of their cutters while attending college, “I had a lot of success with their horses in the barrel pen, and eventually I filled my WPRA permit on one of their geldings, that I trained,” says Smith.
Melanie graduated with a nursing degree and proceeded to work in the Emergency Room “[I was] working at a Level 2 Trauma Center in Wichita Falls. I loved the Emergency Room, and I enjoyed being a nurse,” says Smith. Her online horse sales grew and grew until she decided to quit her nursing job and to sell horses full time “After about a year in the ER, I quit my job as a nurse to pursue horses full time. Everyone, especially my family, thought I was absolutely nuts! It was, hands down, the best decision I ever made, and I have never looked back!” says Smith.
What started out as a ten stall barn has turned into 130 stalls, with 120 acres, at multiple locations. Today, Solo Select has over 190 horses on property at all time. Solo Select has nine employees full time. “The people that work here are literally the backbone of what we do. They are all very good at their jobs, and are vital to keeping our operation running at the level it does. There are so many moving parts to this ranch; it takes special people to be able to keep up with it all,” says Smith.
For Melanie life couldn’t be more complicated, she is as involved as she ever was “A typical day for me is pretty much chaos. No matter how hard we try to have a schedule, it just doesn’t work. You definitely have to have a lot of flexibility to hang out around here!” says Smith. Long hours and hard work has paid big for the company.
What sets Melanie and Solo Select Horses apart from other large horse brokering companies is that she selects each and every horse “I literally hand-pick the horses I sell, which is what I think makes my business different,” says Smith. What boosted their popularity in the beginning was that they shot x-rays of every horse prior to sale, “We vetted and x-rayed all the horses, which really set us apart in the begging, we were the only ones that did that,” says Smith. Today Solo select sells exclusively online though their sale auctions.
A new path is on the horizon for Melanie “We have made some new entities, including ‘Solo Select Properties’,” says Smith. She’s planning on continuing to invest money back into land, ranches and rentals “It’s new, exciting, and a challenge. It’s no different than the horse business, if you take the right risks, there’s a lot of reward!” says Smith.
With everything going on in Melanie’s full life it is important for her to get some alone time for herself “I usually try to work out a few days a week with my trainer KJ, first thing in the morning. It is three hours a week I dedicate to myself, and KJ really helps me keep my sanity!” says Smith. Melanie has recently started showing cutting horses again, she pulled one of her brood mares named “Nurse Connie” (LTE in excess of $180,000) out of retirement. “Over the next year or so, my goal is to get a nice futurity horse, and make the finals in Ft Worth!”
If this young, beautiful, Cowgirl doesn’t impress you I don’t know what will. She’s a power house that has been making waves in the Western performance horse industry.