She was an equestrian competitor from Cincinnati. He was a trail rider from Salyersville. But when Katie (Hart) Salyer (13) met Hershall Salyer (07), they knew they’d found something special. Not only did they find love at Morehead State, they each found a partner with a passion for horsemanship and a genuine love for the animals. Now, Katie and Hershall have made their passion into their livelihood by opening Hidden Creek Farm, also called Salyer Ridge, an equine boarding and training center.
Katie and Hershall first met through a mutual friend while Katie was a member of the MSU Equestrian Team. She earned her bachelor’s degree in equine science, and Hershall had an associate degree in agricultural production. While neither of them had grown up on a farm, they were both drawn to working with horses. Katie had taken riding lessons before college, and Hershall learned to trail ride with his father, who owned horses.
Both Katie and Hershall have fond memories of their time at MSU. Katie loved living in a residence hall and said she built strong relationships with her fellow Equestrian Team members.
“They were my best group of gal pals,” she said. “Every time I went to the barn, I got to see my best friends.” Katie added she learned a lot from the program that she can apply to her everyday work.
“I learned how to muck all the stalls at once, feed all the horses at once, while back home I was used to just dealing with the single horse I was leasing. I also learned a lot about breeding. We don’t do breeding here at the farm, but we do have a stud and I have the knowledge, so we could do breeding if we wanted to.”
Hershall lived in student housing at the Derrickson Agricultural Complex and said he enjoyed being completely immersed in farming.
“Just living out there at the farm and being surrounded by other students with the same interests as me was something I really enjoyed,” he said.
The Salyers formed lasting bonds at MSU, both personally and professionally. They boarded a horse this spring for Rudy Pohlabeln, a freshman from Edgewood who competed in this year’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Competition in Syracuse, New York. They also maintain a close friendship with MSU Farm Manager Joe Fraley (94), who officiated their wedding ceremony.
Katie and Hershall were married June 8, 2013, and started Hidden Creek Farm in 2015.
“We always wanted a farm, and I knew the Morehead community wanted another boarding stable,” Katie said. When they first started out, the Salyers were renting a farm but found their ideal home in their current location on Bull Fork Road in Morehead, which was already fenced in and set up for horses.
“Being at Morehead gave us the opportunity to come here and meet each other and make this happen. Finding this place helped us get started a lot faster than if we had to start from scratch.”– Hershall Salyer
He and Katie own three horses of their own and board and train anywhere from 18 to 20 horses with owners who live in places as far away as Vermont, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The Salyers train horses for both trail riding and show riding and Katie said which type of riding a horse is best suited to depends on its personality.
“Usually, the horses tell us what they want to do,” she said.
“And we tell the owners what the horses are going to do,” Hershall finished.
Hershall works in Ashland as an electrician during the day and works the farm at night. He says that juggling the two can be a challenge, but he loves overseeing the farm.
“You can work at your own pace and you know things are done right,” he said.
Katie also loves the freedom of being her own boss and added she loves that they live close enough to the barn that she can always keep tabs on the horses-even at night.
“I worry about the health of the horses constantly, so I like that I’m close enough that I can hear everything that’s going on,” she said. “If one of the horses is making noise in their stall, I can run out and check on them.”
Both Hershall and Katie expressed gratitude for the continued support they receive from MSU.
“They are the only other boarding facility in town, and rather than worrying about us taking away their business, they support us and helped us create our own business and do our own thing. They even refer people to us if they don’t have room to board at the MSU Farm.”
For more information about Hidden Creek Farm, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SalyerRidge.