Couple take over Lake in the Hills horse facility
LAKE IN THE HILLS – Samantha and Josiah Kitchel decided a few months ago they didn’t want to live in the Rockford house they were renting, and preferred the countryside so they could have horses.
Josiah Kitchel, 28, then found the listing for the Lake in the Hills horse facility at 1109 Pyott Road. They took a look, did some research on the facility and decided to write a business plan.
“We want our family to grow up around horses, and this seemed like one of those amazing opportunities,” said Samantha Kitchel, who has worked in horse stables. “It’s definitely been an adventure so far.”
Ultimately, the Village Board chose the Kitchels’ plan to run RoseGate Equestrian Center over two other proposals to run the horse facility and replace Dynasty Farm.
The Kitchels and their 15-month-old son, Devereaux, moved in during November and began sweeping, taking down cobwebs and doing other cleaning. They are repairing doors and replacing lights.
“[There’s] a lot of maintenance things making it look better,” 26-year-old Samantha Kitchel said. “There is some stuff that is run down.”
They expect to have their first boarders at the beginning of the new year.
The Kitchels expect to invest about $20,000 of their own money into the barn to bring in limestone, fix door fixtures, lights, broken boards and other things.
Samantha Kitchel said she thinks the way they structured the lease will be helpful. A third of their horse stable revenue will go toward rent payments, rather than having a fixed amount due to the village by a certain time period. The monthly rent payment will be capped at $4,600 per month.
“I think that’s going to be a part of our success, because we want to make the barn self-sufficient,” Samantha Kitchel said. “How else do you do that, by only having the rent be what the barn is bringing in.”
Tricia Sales, 35, of Cary, is set to be the horse trainer at RoseGate Equestrian Center. She said the barn and its two indoor arenas should be a plus.
Sales said she used to show horses at the barn when it was called Spring Hill Farms about 15 to 20 years ago.
“I want to get the place back to when it was Spring Hill Farms and thriving,” Sales said.
The key for the Kitchels to run a successful barn will be “doing what they can to keep boarders happy,” Sales said.
The Kitchels and Sales plan to work with the village’s parks and recreation department to set up a riding program.
Offering lessons can help lead to more income and more interest in the barn.
“I think, together, we can get this place off the ground,” Sales said.
The Kitchels want to have the barn full within two years, Samantha Kitchel said.
The village also plans to help the Kitchels by investing about $40,500 into the facility with septic system upgrades, a roof replacement and the addition of perimeter fencing.
“Turnout area is what this place lacks,” Samantha Kitchel said. “The turnout areas now will not sustain, in my opinion, more than 10 horses. Having that large area ready to go, with fencing, offers us the setup to bring in more horses and care for them properly.”
For the Kitchels to attract people to board their horses to the facility will require them to be themselves, Samantha Kitchel said.
“We’re very happy, relaxed, go-lucky people,” Samantha Kitchel said. “I have high standards of horse care, mainly because I’ve worked in so many barns that have been successful and the level of horse care was amazing, and I want to mirror that. I want to be able to create a place where people can come and know their horses are well taken care of.”
To help attract interested boarders, RoseGate will have an open riding session from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 21 for $10 a person. For information, or to reserve a stall for the event, visit rosegateequestriancenter.weebly.com.