fbpx

Clover Luck Stables Finds Their Fortune in Howard County

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Howard County native Stephanie Williams combined her passion for horseback riding with her love of teaching when she opened Clover Luck Stables. With help from the Howard County Economic Development Authority, Stephanie was able to secure a permanent home with room to grow for her students and horses.

While Williams has been a passionate lifelong equestrian, she didn’t always own a stable. She has competed in local and regional horseback riding contests, but when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Stephanie was solely the owner of the Drama Learning Center in Columbia, where she shared her other passion for theatre. The theater was able to stay open with help from PPP funds, as well as state and local grants for arts and entertainment venues.

“I had, unexpectedly, more time on my hands for my horses, and I started getting riding lesson requests from friends of friends,” Williams recalled. “When the most stringent health requirements were eased up, people wanted things they could do outside. Horseback riding was a naturally socially-distant activity that people were really interested in.”

As the stable came to own more horses, Williams and partner Matthew Carroll began looking for a permanent home.

“What we were looking for was very specific and hard to find,” Williams says. “We bought the property at the end of 2021 and moved the horses there in early 2022 before constructing a brand-new barn on the property. As they say, the stars and planets all aligned, and this has worked out very well.”

Currently, Williams teaches 60 students with 22 horses on the 33-acre farm. Many students take part in group lessons, and their horses participate in one lesson a day with at least one day off a week to keep them healthy and happy.

While they were in the process of finding the stable’s new home, the HCEDA was an invaluable resource. Williams said HCEDA Director of Agriculture Business Development Kathy Johnson and county staff were always available to help Williams and Carroll answer questions about zoning, grant funding, and more, which helped immensely while they navigated the process of coming to own and operate the farm. They also received a $10,000 grant from the HCEDA that allowed them to undertake a rainwater collection project.

“From the very beginning stages, after we found the property and were waiting to go to settlement to being able to bounce ideas off her now, Kathy has been wonderful. She and the county staff in agricultural and soil preservation helped us get everything in order before we went to the closing table,” Williams says. “We’re new farmers, and it’s been very helpful to feel connected to the county in a way where you feel comfortable asking questions that might seem silly but still need answers.”

Williams said they were recently invited to participate in a roundtable discussion with county officials and fellow farmers that allowed them the opportunity to discuss what support Howard’s agricultural businesses require.

“It’s nice to feel connected to people who can answer your questions and want to hear your thoughts. We don’t feel like we’re going at it alone,” Williams says. “Agriculture businesses are very unique, and within the county, there are so many different kinds. I’d encourage others to explore what the HCEDA and the county have to offer. There are more resources than you might think, and more people willing to help you find answers to your questions.”

Find out more about the HCEDA’s farm and agricultural resources here.

###

About the Howard County Economic Development Authority: Howard County Economic Development Authority is a public-private partnership whose primary goal is to promote economic growth and stability by supporting existing businesses, targeting new businesses, and attracting corporate/regional headquarters. HCEDA also maintains several programs aimed at small, minority, and agricultural companies’ unique needs. Additionally, the HCEDA strives to preserve the distinctive quality of life in Howard County. To learn more about Howard County farms and the HCEDA, visit www.hceda.org

Upcoming Events

More Events

Latest Updates

More News