by Kim F Miller
Even as digital technology makes marketing an ever-evolving and crazily sophisticated process, there’s still no substitute for a trusted horse friend recommending a product they use themselves. That’s exactly what Nicky & Mike Kurty do for friends and fellow horsemen through their Oakwood Manor program in Binghamton, NY.
The boarding and training program specializes in Quarter Horses and in the Ranch Horse, Barrel Racing and Western and English performance disciplines. They host the Cornell University Western Equestrian Team, their own squad for high school and middle school aged riders and a 4H group. The Kurtys also stand their champion barrel racer Nexavar. While juggling all these endeavors, a few products have impressed the Kurtys so much that they’ve chosen to represent them to others.
“It happens that we’ve been blessed with really talented horses, and people want to know what the winners are doing,” explains Nicky. Nexavar is an own son of Bully Bullion, out of a Major Meyers/Shawne Bug mare. He began his career as the 2009 American Ranch Horse Association World Champion 3-Year-Old Stallion and continued to earn many accolades including numerous top 10 finishes in the All American Quarter Horse Congress. His offspring are following in his winning hoofprints.
Nicky first learned of Haygain through the Flexineb Portable Nebulizer the company distributes. The discovery began when Nexavar was sidelined from competition by a severe respiratory infection. The handsome stallion wound up at Cornell University Veterinary Hospital where, “I learned way more than I ever wanted to know about respiratory health,” Nicky recounts. Delivering aerosolized medications through the Flexineb brought instant relief for Nexavar, but the effect was not quite enough to keep him comfortable.
Further research led Nicky to Haygain’s high temperature hay steaming. Nexavar and several of their horses have been thriving on a diet of freshly steamed, irritant-free hay ever since. After seeing how steamed hay helped her horses, Nicky inquired about selling the Haygain steamers at Oakwood Manor. “We don’t really have a retail shop, but I have a neat tidy garage where I keep nebulizers on display and have hay steaming brochures available.”
Most of her Haygain product sales come from doing what comes naturally: talking to fellow horse people about stable management and horse care equipment. That’s made her a go-to girl for good ideas.
Haygain’s ComfortStall Orthopedic Flooring came onto Nicky’s radar screen when a barn-building friend requested stabling flooring suggestions. A little research revealed the many benefits of the uniquely cushioned surface with a durable, sealed-to-the-wall top cover that prevents urine seepage and greatly reduces bedding and maintenance needs. Nicky’s barn-building friend is thrilled with her six-stall, plus an aisleway, installation, and Nicky is grateful to have the therapeutic surface in one of Oakwood Manor’s stalls.
Nexavar has serious foot problems after breaking his fetlock while competing at the World Show last fall. It was a heartbreaking end to his storied performance career, but Nicky is grateful for ComfortStall’s help in keeping him sound for a comfortable retirement from the show ring and continued service in the breeding shed. “He has improved so much since we got him on that stall and I think ComfortStall has everything to do with that. It’s terrible that he’s done with his show career, but I want to keep doing the very best for him.”
As Nicky juggles the varied aspects of Oakwood Manor’s equestrian business, she thrives on following the latest research on respiratory health and other conditions. “It’s important to keep learning and growing and that’s something I really like about Haygain,” she notes. “They have a lot of helpful research and my contact, Robb Thomas, is always great about answering questions.”