A childhood filled with horses leads to job as barn manager for equine center

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:14 a.m. CDT, Friday, September 6, 2013
Jacob Best, barn manager at the Columbia Equestrian Center, enjoys having residents of all ages ride and work with the horses.

COLUMBIA — Despite loving horses now, Jacob Best, one of the co-owners at the Columbia Equestrian Center never imagined himself growing up to work with them.

Best started working with horses as a child because his mother owned several, and his daily chores included cleaning out the horses stalls, which he said was less than glamorous.

"If you told me ten years ago I'd be doing this, I'd have no idea," Best said. "It's not exciting to shovel poo all day, but it's exciting to be here. I'm even here on my days off." 

He runs the center with co-owner Kris Wallace, who started the equestrian center.

After graduating from William Woods University in 2005 with a degree in equestrian science, Wallace moved to Springfield to be an assistant trainer. A year later, Wallace decided to open her own facility and relocated to Columbia.

The Columbia Equestrian Center at 5925 N. Route E was born, and Best joined her in 2010.

"There's a lot of people that can't do what she does," Best said. "We make a good team."

Wallace is the head trainer and instructor at the equestrian center, and Best is the barn manager.

"It's lots of long hours and physical work, but I love it," Best said.

The equestrian center is a full-service horse boarding and training facility that specializes in saddlebreds, Arabians, national show horses and Morgans. It currently has 24 stalls, is at full capacity and offers lessons for children and older riders.

"We aren't on the way to the Olympics, but it's a special place," Best said.

Supervising editor is Brian Kratzer.

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