By Christine Baker, TSB Staff
Most people know her as the lady with the beautiful horse and buggy downtown on the square. Running her own business, maintaining her horses and making dreams come true, Shannon Cole does it all.
“I grew up around horses,” Cole said. ” ‘Horse’ was actually my first word. I shared a horse with my sister when I was 3 and on my sixth birthday my dad bought me my own horse.”
Mrs. Cole’s love for horses is what got her started in the horse and buggy business on Jan. 7, 2006. She worked in Dallas for eight years before coming to the square in downtown McKinney.
“Basically my boss said that he was getting out the business and we needed to either buy our own horses or we were out of a job.” Cole said. “So I worked 18-hour shifts and in December I bought my first horses, Buttermilk and Trigger.”
She has eight horses and seven of them are Missouri Fox Trotters, a mix between a Saddle bred and Tennessee Walkers. She prefers them to other horses because they can work 4-7 hours without tiring.
“I do not believe in over-working my horses,” Cole said. “I take excellent care of them. They are my kids, I take care of them and they live with me. I buy them the most expensive feed and hay and I always have them groomed. I spend about $150 a week on hay and $100 on grain. A first impression is a big deal in this business, so you can’t cut corners.”
The horses and Mrs. Cole are available for any special occasion such as weddings, anniversaries, family outings, birthdays, prom, graduation, etc. Rides are preferably set up by appointment and the standard rate is $85 for a half hour or $150 for a full hour. The buggy can fit 4-6 people whose weight combined is less than 1,000 pounds.
“We do probably about 80 weddings a year,” Cole said. “It’s really great, because I basically have every girl’s dream job. Working with horses and making people’s dreams come true, it doesn’t get much better than that.”
She runs the entire business herself from secretarial work, tours, customer service, being the face of the company, and she even offers shoeing and training services.
“People travel all over to come here and go on the ghost tours,” Cole said. “They are all year round and I take them around to the houses and buildings downtown and tell them what I’m sensing. I also shoe my own horses because they have to have a special kind of street shoe so they don’t fall all over the place.”
Mrs. Cole is passionate about what she does. She strives for top-notch service and wants everyone to have a wonderful time during their ride.
“The best thing about my job is the ultimate joy I bring people,” Cole said. “Making people’s dreams happen is what I do. Helping that little girl be a fairytale princess on a horse drawn carriage, helping that bride be whisked away with her prince charming and white horses, that’s what keeps me coming back.”
To learn more about Shannon Cole and her services visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Happy-Trails-Farrier-Service/106257312741872
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