Becoming a Trendsetter
Kellie Hinely owns and operates Trendsetter Performance Horses in Chino Hills, California. Most trainers use their last or first name for their business, but Hinely decided to do something a little different. The name she chose has a fun back story.
“I was living with my soon to be husband at the time,” Hinely said. “I knew we were going to get married, so I couldn’t name it Egkan Performance Horses because then it is going to change. Then I thought it would be weird to call it Hinely since I didn’t even have a ring yet. We had to come up with something other than that. A friend of mine and I were driving and we were passing a street that was called like Trendsetter Road. She said what about the name Trendsetter. I was like oh my gosh that is perfect.”
Hinely is quite busy with 35-40 horses in training throughout the year. Deann Hudson has been a vital part of keeping the business running smoothly while Hinely is away at horse shows or family events. Hudson has been Hinely’s assistant for almost 20 years. She works great alongside Hinely.
“She was a boarder as a kid at one of the first places I trained out of,” Hinely said. “I had her doing blanketing, longing and things like that at first. She was not afraid of anything. She would ride my naughty horses that I had in training. As my business evolved I had more work for her. I can confidently say that I would not have the success that I’ve had without her. She’s ran my business while I have been at home having two kids. She runs the business while I am gone at the big horse shows. She teaches lessons and rides as many, if not more than I do, every day. She really is the backbone. She manages the horses and their daily care, while I manage the people.”
Hinely specializes in the trail and western riding, while Hudson particularly enjoys the hunt seat. Having two people cover different disciplines helps the business in all aspects.
“We definitely prefer the all-around,” Hinely said. “Deanne’s passion is the hunt seat and my passion is the trail and the western riding. My favorite to show in is the trail. We complement each other because we get along with different types of horses. She’s a lot more patient than I am. I kind of want to do the finishing stage and she likes the beginning.”
Trendsetter Performance Horses also offers numerous exceptional horses for sale during all times of the year Hinely enjoys this side of her business as well as training for her own clients.
“I love it,” Hinely said. “I love just meeting new people and having people come back to buy horses for the second time. I really like that. I think we have developed a good reputation for marketing quality horses. I mostly get them in on consignment. People send me their horses or it might be a client’s horse when they are upgrading or moving to a different personality horse. I do occasionally buy younger horses with a partner I have and we will show them for a year or two before we sell them. We try to keep one of those consistently.”
Kimes Ranch has had multiple Facebook contests over the years. Hinely was actively part of one of them that eventually led to her becoming part of the team.
“I loved the Kimes Jeans because I am six-foot-two and it is really hard to find jeans long enough,” Hinely said. “When they started making the jeans I bought them quick. Then they did the Facebook contest and I was obsessed with it. I made sure every person I knew was voting 32 times a day. I ended up losing by like two people. One of my customers wrote to Matt and Amanda that I should be on their team. They reached out to me and it’s been a great relationship. I have all of my customers wear the brand. They’ve been really good to me. If I’m riding I prefer the Betty and if I’m just wearing them around I prefer the Jolene.”
Many young people coming out of their youth career want to enter the industry as a trainer. Hinely offered some great advice for their future paths.
“Be honest,” Hinely said. “Be honest with your customers and the people you are dealing with. Work hard and I recommend working for a horse trainer first. Do the ground work, put in the time and see what all is involved. For me my business has gotten stronger by putting in the time and being honest. It’s super important.”
Hinely has had a very successful career in AQHA with numerous World and Congress champion riders. She also holds multiple titles herself. We wish her team the best of luck this year!
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~ Courtney Hall, Photos Courtesy of Kellie Hinely