People : Kaylyn Schmidt

March 14, 2017

People : Kaylyn Schmidt

Week 2: Kaylyn Schmidt

 "If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose."
// Bishop T.D. Jakes


Where do you work? I work at Apricot Lane Farms.

What do you do for the farm? I manage the horses, and help with the livestock, which includes running our sheep, cows, pigs, and our one goat.

What do you do with the animals? Everyday we produce products that are completely organic, we don’t use artificial hormones or antibiotics, unless it’s a life or death emergency. We treat all of our animals holistically. So if an animal gets sick, or if they are having babies, we watch out for the moms to make sure they are alright. We monitor the animals, and do a lot of rotational grazing, so that we’re constantly moving animals to new pastures everyday.

What do you like most about the work you do? I love working with horses because horses are my number one passion. I’m very blessed to be able to work with my own horse, on my own time, everyday.

When did you fall in love with horses? When I was young, I remember playing with farm animals and little toy horses instead of Barbie and baby dolls. I also think ever since I went on my first trail ride when I was seven.

True or False, did you cry after watching the movie Flicka because you wanted a horse so bad?  True. In the bathroom stall for at least 20 minutes after the movie.

Luckily many years later, you’re dreams came true, right? Yes, I bought my own horse and he is a doll. He’s just a baby, but I’ve already started to train him. We’ll be able to grow and bond together throughout our lives. His name is Bandit.

Are you training him so that you can show him? Yes, he will be my rodeo horse, and will do barrel racing. He has very good barrel racing bloodlines; his dad and mom were both top barrel racing horses in the one division, so I’m hoping he’s going be destined for greatness too.

Have you ever competed in a show before? I have when I was in college, I was in IHSA, which is the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. I got to travel to a few different states and compete on other people’s horses. I did western pleasure, which is where you follow patterns by using very subtle cues to make the horse look really nice and collected.

Is it safe to say you’re a horse trainer then? Yes and no. I don’t train horses for a living, but I am training my own horse. The thing about horse training is that you always want to work with someone who is better at it then you.

What’s something you’ve learned from working with animals? I’ve learned that some things can take a lot of patience. Animals are some of the sweetest, kindest, forgiving creatures on this planet. You’re going to have your good days and your bad days, but you always want to look at the good days and stay positive cause it’s not always going to be easy.

What do you want to do given the experience that you have? I would love to work on a big cattle ranch somewhere. I love working with cows, especially on horseback. I could also do rodeos on the side as a hobby. Really as long as I’m working with horses or some kind of animal, I’ll be happy.

What’s the best rodeo in the world? Pendleton Round-up. It’s big, it’s fun, you’re always meeting new people, and there’s lots of whiskey.

Where has this line of work taken you? I was able to start pursuing my passion in college at Oregon State University. There I started riding and getting to go to shows. After that I went to Wyoming and was able to work on a huge cattle ranch. I got to ride in the mountains everyday and move cattle on horseback. That was the dream.  Then I lived in Australia for some time and worked on a dairy farm. Now, I’m back here in California working on another farm.

What would you say to someone looking to move somewhere new? Go with an open mind and a positive attitude. Try and have a plan so you don’t feel too stressed or overwhelmed. Mostly though, just have an open mind and be adaptable to change, cause you never know what’s going to be thrown at you.

Favorite Charity?

Mustang Heritage Foundation

What’s the best thing about country life vs. city life? Country life isn’t always easy and laid back, like people say or think. If you’re working on a ranch or a farm, it’s still hard work. But it’s nice to be able to come home after a long day and listen to birds chirping instead of hearing cars or sirens. And who couldn’t love looking at thousands of acres, mountains, and green grass every morning?

What would you say to someone looking to do what they love? It’s definitely not easy, sometimes the things you really want and the passions you want to pursue take money. But I figure if you love something enough, you’ll find a way to do it. And I’ve learned to find people who have the same passion. You can learn from them and use them as your mentors.

What’s the hardest thing you have had to give up to have the life you do now? Umm, pretty much everything. Social life, I mean I don’t have much of a social life, because I’m always with my horse. Sometimes I can’t go out, cause I’ll be at a horse clinic on the weekend, when I could be hanging out with friends or doing something fun, but I want to learn more. That and money. Having a horse takes a lot of money, so I’ve had to sacrifice going out, seeing movies, or getting extra drinks, just so I could save.

Any regrets? Nah, I think if you’re doing what you love then its always worth it.

Anything you wish you knew back when you started? I wish when I was younger I would have found someone who could show me more about horses and horse training. I rode a lot because I loved doing it, but I never really sought out the nitty gritty of it, I never really asked. I have found that you always have to ask questions, you always have to further your knowledge somehow.

Describe a typical day. I work six days a week. I usually get up at 5:30 am and start work at 6:30 am. I’ll see the horses, and feed all the animals. We’ll move the cows and the sheep if they need to move, so that we never overgraze anything. Then it depends. Moving animals actually takes a lot of time. We almost always have to set up fences because we have neighbors close by. After that, I’ll clean the horse stalls and work with the horses by riding them and keeping them in shape. Then I’ll feed everyone, and do some afternoon chores, and am done by about 4:00 pm. After the work day, I’ll go see my horse and try to get to the gym. I’m home by 8:00 pm, jump in the shower and then head to bed.

What’s the hardest skill to master for your job? I think it’s being observant. When you’re farming, you really have to pay attention to little subtle things that you might not typically notice. For animals, you have to notice if they’re a little lethargic, or their ears are a little droopy, and when their not feeling well. You have to pay attention to the grass and see if its ready to graze on, or if its too short to graze. You have to learn how to pay attention. A lot of farming and ranching is observing.

What’s one of the most important lessons that you have learned from working on farms? I think that sometimes it’s just about taking time in the moment. Looking at what’s around you and noticing the little things that you might not have if you were just trying to get from A to B.

How many pairs of cowboy boots do you own? 6

Belt buckles? 3

Cowboy hats? 2

Pairs of spurs? 3

How many baby calves have you helped deliver? Maybe 30 in Wyoming.

What’s your proudest accomplishment? I would say being able to buy my own horse. And finding the strength to prove myself as a woman in the farm world, which is not exactly easy. You have to prove that you can work just as hard as men because you’re held to a very high standard when you’re working in agriculture.

What you’re favorite thing to listen to? That’s a tough one. I do like the classic cliché country. I’m a huge George Strait fan. Recently, there’s this new artist, she’s from Maryland, her name is Maggie Rogers. Her music is relaxing, refreshing, and different.

Do you have a philosophy for life? Do what makes you happy. Life is short. If you’re not happy, then was it worth living?