Equestrians Thrive in Kershaw County
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of Mary-Louise LeVeen
Fox hunting brought Janice Coley to Kershaw County, but it was the enthusiasm of the community that made her want to stay.
As publisher of The Camden Equestrian, board member of the South Carolina Equine Promotion Foundation and Secretary for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation South Carolina Committee, Coley is immersed in a network of horse enthusiasts. Yet just five years ago Coley was a resident of Charlotte, leading the fast-paced life of a successful advertising executive.
“My mother often told me I lived too fast, and finally I realized she was right,” Coley says. “In 2003 I bought a horse, Kirby, who became my best friend and changed my life.”
A New Home in Camden
In addition to participating with Kirby in hunts and equestrian activities around Charlotte, Coley made the hour-long drive once or twice a week to hunt and ride the trails in Camden. In the spring of 2006, she decided to stay.
“I liked the informality of a small town,” she says, “the pace is slower, and you can take time to get to know people."
After living in Camden for a year, Coley realized the depth of the area's equine heritage. "It's not a rural area with some horse farms scattered about; it is a true 'horse town,' which has supported jobs and businesses for decades. The stories are endless and new ones are being made every day."
The Camden Equestrian
Coley conceived the idea of publishing a magazine that would celebrate the community and its unique place in the equine industry. The Camden Equestrian, a full-color, high-quality glossy magazine was born, sharing stories and promoting business.
"Bringing people together is what it's all about. Business owners know their customers by name and care about their interests."
Readers from 14 states subscribe to The Camden Equestrian to keep in touch with the area's training, hunting, showing and other horse-related activities. Although Coley lost her best friend Kirby this year, another horse soon turned up “out of the blue," she says. "He is a beautiful Thoroughbred off the track, and I'm sure Kirby is happy that I have a new friend."
Thoroughbred training facilities like The Camden Training Center bring in hundreds of Thoroughbred racehorses each year. "The footing and climate is great for horses. Camden has arguably the finest training facilities in the country," Coley says.
The South Carolina Equine Park, the National Steeplechase Museum, Springdale Race Course and the Camden Equine Rehabilitation & Conditioning Center draw people here, further contributing to the quality of life.
Coley enjoys living on her small horse farm and running her equine-themed business, which promotes the area for others to enjoy. “I would encourage anyone to consider Kershaw County. Our area is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, a large historic district, festivals, shopping and dining. There is always something to do, even if it is sitting in the barn smelling the hay."