Business

These sisters aren't just horsin' around

Sisters Pam Lockhart and Kristi Gates have been groomed to love horses since the day they were born.

“Our parents were both trainers and both of us have shown (horses) since we could breathe,” Gates said.

Added Lockhart, “There hasn’t been a day in our lives when we haven’t owned a horse.”

The sisters have taken this love for horses and their breadth of knowledge about equines and turned it into a business. They recently opened the North Country Equine Shop at 3382 Carlton Road in Old Town Silverdale.

“I ride hunter and jumper and Pam rides Western, so between us when someone comes in with questions, we know the answers,” Gates said.

The shop, a sunny location with blond wood floors, features a full line of new and used English- and Western-style tack and apparel. It also carries curry combs, body brushes, horse shampoo and a host of other animal-care products.

The owners said they are happy to accept consignment gear, as well.

“The other tack store in the area closed,” Gates said, “and there was a strong need for a store on the peninsula. Most people have been going to Bellevue to do their shopping.”

The owners hope to attract horse aficionados of all types to the shop, including outback, show, 4-H and casual riders. They have advertised in Horse Trader magazine, Little Nickel and are collaborating with regional groups to sponsor horse shows and 4-H activities.

Gates said she and Lockhart hope to find their niche.

In the future, Gates said she would like to expand the store and purchase a mobile unit to set up at horse shows. For now, the sisters are the store’s only employees.

Gates recently moved from Marysville, in Snohomish County, where she trained horses.

“I had a training stable for the last few years, but the property where I was got sold and the person who bought it didn’t want a trainer there. It was either move over here and start the shop or move to the East Coast and keep training,” Gates said.

She recently downgraded from professional to amateur status, meaning she can no longer accept money for training or teaching. She plans to focus all her energy on running the shop.

In the past, Gates also worked at and managed a tack store in Bellevue for eight years.

The store is open from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. The women offer a special promotion — 15 percent off all new equipment — on the second Saturday of each month. In addition, if customers bring a horse picture to post on the store’s “Wall of Fame,” they will get 10 percent off a purchase.

For information, call 698-6510.

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