CEO Gets in the Business of Horse Retirement

After leading one of the fastest growing companies in Nashville, Melissa Webb and her husband decided to incorporate those winning business skills into a top-notch horse retirement community. From the editors of Practical Horseman magazine.
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After leading one of the fastest growing companies in Nashville, Melissa Webb and her husband decided to incorporate those winning business skills into a top-notch horse retirement community. From the editors of Practical Horseman magazine.

Many people struggle with what to do with their horses once they reach the age of retirement. Horse owners shouldn't have to feel conflicted about wanting a new horse because they are worrying about the time and money required to care for their older horse. At Paradigm Farms, clients have the freedom to make the transition of spending time with that new horse, while ensuring proper care for a reasonable monthly rate for their retired horse.

Jason and Melissa Webb with some of their retirees at Paradigm Farms. | Photo courtesy of Melissa Webb

Jason and Melissa Webb with some of their retirees at Paradigm Farms. | Photo courtesy of Melissa Webb

For nearly a decade, Melissa (Neill) Webb supplied top businesses to some of the best talent of the southeast. As CEO of Questar Partners, Inc., a corporate recruiting company, she received numerous awards including the "Music City Future 50 Award" awarded by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce to the 50 fastest growing privately held companies in the Nashville area (1999 and 2000), and the Business Nashville Magazine's "Top 25 Fast Growing Companies" (2000).

Melissa was on the fast track to corporate success, and all eyes were on the young, successful entrepreneur. But, in the midst of all the recognition and success, something was still missing. She no longer felt passionate about her work. Melissa soon realized she needed a change.

The seeds of change happened a few years ago, when Melissa was faced with a decision to care for her childhood pony Daisy. Melissa began riding at the age of 6, and welcomed Daisy into her family by the age of 9. Daisy remained a part of the Neill family until she was sold when Melissa outgrew her. By chance several years later, Melissa's father, Tom Neill, ran into Daisy's owners, who were at a loss as to what to do with her as she aged. Melissa's business savvy instinctively kicked into full gear and Daisy became the first retiree at her family's farm in College Grove, Tenn. Eventually Melissa made the decision to sell Questar Partners so she could focus on her horse business. Melissa's corporate background soon evolved the Webb family farm into one of the best-rated horse retirement farms in America.

The Paradigm Farms Equine Lifecare system was designed to provide customers with an economical, guilt-free, easy solution for horse retirement and lifelong care. Each horse is given daily attention and extraordinary treatment. Clients find great comfort in knowing Melissa's husband, Jason, has an extensive background in agriculture and a degree in animal science, with a focus on animal nutrition. While there isn't a national shortage of boarding barns, Melissa and Jason's facility offers hands-on, top-quality care specifically for retired horses. Horses are not used for lessons or training purposes because those services are not offered at Paradigm.

Horse owners send their horses to their Equine Lifecare program because they know their pets will receive premium care and services at affordable rates. For $295 per month, a horse can carry out its life with serenity and safety. Board rates include annual vaccinations, bi-monthly deworming, hoof trims every six weeks, free choice pasture or hay, grain, blanket changes and more.

Paradigm Farms has enough acreage that the horses are able to live and graze on pastures naturally, except in the winter season. Owners can visit their horses at Paradigm from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. To help ease the owners' transitions, Melissa and Jason send weekly digital photographs of their horses during the first month and periodically afterwards.

As horse owners and specialists, Melissa and Jason know all the factors which must be considered when it comes to how a horse should spend their retirement. True to their background, Paradigm Farms remains committed to caring for horses and ensuring peace of mind for owners all across North America.

Editor's note: Melissa Webb has been a Practical Horseman magazine reader for at least 20 years and has just started dabbling in eventing after a lifetime of hunter/jumper riding. Of her retirement farm, she says, "It was a hard decision to sell a successful company I had built from nothing, but I was very burned out because I was not following my passion, which at bottom has always been horses. I now feel I am living a dream. I never deal with rush hour traffic. I don't set an alarm clock because I can't wait to get up in the morning, and my entire life revolves around horses. Heaven!" You can visit her farm online at www.retiredhorses.com.

For an in-depth story about important factors to consider when deciding when, where and how to retire your horse, see the February 2007 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.