From Military Service to Equestrian Entrepreneurship: Zachary Leyden's Inspiring Journey
Zachary's journey from serving in the military to fostering an equestrian community is nothing short of remarkable. Before joining the military, Zachary had some experience with horses, which only grew during his service. Post-military, he found solace in horses, leading him through a process of self-discovery and reconnection with the community.
The Birth of Ocean View Stables
The turning point for Zachary was the decision to dedicate his life to horses, veterans, and showcasing the healing power of horses. His first venture involved organizing hunting trips, which later evolved into wilderness kids camps. The desire to bring his wife closer to her family led him to Sacramento, where he transformed underutilized horse facilities into profitable ventures through his unique business strategies.
Challenges and Triumphs
Zachary's motto of 'fail forward' highlights his journey through various challenges and successes. From setting up horse packing for wilderness camps to managing a 300-acre facility in Sacramento, his path has been a testament to resilience and adaptability. The journey included a stint with a winery, leading to the establishment of a winery horse ranch.
Veterans Free Rides: A Healing Initiative
Zachary's veterans free rides initiative began with an encounter with Michael, a fellow veteran. This experience underlined the therapeutic power of horseback riding, prompting Zachary to offer free rides to veterans. The program cuts through the red tape, allowing veterans, who might otherwise hesitate to seek help, a chance to heal through horse interactions.
Running a Stable: Lessons from the Military
Operating a stable brings its challenges, but Zachary's military background has equipped him with problem-solving skills essential in entrepreneurship and horsemanship. One significant challenge was relocating his operations from a county-owned facility in Sacramento to a winery horse ranch due to contractual changes. His determination and negotiation skills played a pivotal role in these transitions.
Community Impact and Future Endeavors
Ocean View Stables has grown into a community-centric space, offering programs for kids, families, and veterans. The facility aims to expand further, with plans to include lodging pods with ocean views and leadership clinics, transforming into a guest ranch experience in San Francisco.
Advice for Aspiring Equestrian Entrepreneurs
Reflecting on his journey, Zachary believes in the power of diving into opportunities, even when the path seems daunting. His advice to aspiring equestrian entrepreneurs is to embrace the journey and be open to the challenges and learning experiences it brings.
Listen & watch our episode with Zachary below!