While most high school students have plenty going on in their daily schedules, they don’t leave much time for themselves.

Unless you’re Christa Caho.

For Caho, a Moore High School junior, each day is a balance of school, work, personal growth and time to work with 1,000-pound animals.

She is the owner of Git-R-Done Groundwork, a start-up business in Norman that offers personal horse training and groundwork for pasture horses.

“Driving around Oklahoma, and Norman specifically, you’ll see so many beautiful horses in pastures who look bored and sad, and I knew I had the ability to change that,” said Caho.

Groundwork is essentially development of trust and respect between riders or owners and the animal.

Caho said she grew up with and around horses, and with a mom who rode horses on a track to exercise them, it seemed natural that she would work closely with them, too. Her family owned horses, and Caho broke her first colt at 14.

“We got him when I was 12, and after I broke him, I trained two horses for our neighbor. That’s really how it started for me,” she said.

That neighbor spread the news of Caho’s work to others in need of groundwork for their horses, and a new business was born. The name, in fact, was from a motivational sign Caho had in her room. Her mom suggested it become the business name.

Over the past three summers, Caho has volunteered at the Cross Timbers Equestrian Center in Norman. In exchange for her work at the Center, she was taught jumping and dressage lessons, a technique where the rider uses slight movements to control their horse.

“I’d get dropped off at 6:30 a.m. and just work the entire day through until my Mom picked me up,” she said.

Her time, experience and love for horses was the easy part of starting her business; learning how to operate a business while finishing high school is the tough part. Caho attended a tour of Moore Norman Technology Center during Tech Tours with her high school, and instead of visiting three areas of interest, she remained fixated on the Small Business Entrepreneur class.

“Right away I felt that I belonged in this class. I knew it was the way I’d learn how to really make my business idea happen,” said Caho.

Her morning hours at MNTC now count toward elective hours on her high school schedule, and she said she loves “starting off each morning the right way.”

The class, which is available to high school juniors and seniors and adult students, has already given her the foundation she believes will last a lifetime.

“I’ve learned how to truly work with clients and listen to their needs, over just telling them what I can offer. It also becomes more like a working friendship and relationship with the horse owners for me,” she said.

One of her toughest skills was developing a cost list and then sticking to it.

“In the beginning, I’d befriend the client and lower my costs because I either really liked the person or their horse. I learned quickly that’s not the best way to do business. Now I set the price and we sign contracts together,” Caho said.

While still in the beginning stages of business, Caho markets her services through an online Horse Trainers Corner Web site, word-of-mouth, info cards and fliers at feed stores such as Atwoods and Tractor Supply Co. She’s also considering having MNTC’s Web designer and advertising designer students become involved with her business through a live work project to get a logo and Web site developed.

 For information about Git-R-Done Groundwork or to schedule a training session, call 794-5951. For more information about MNTC’s small business entrepreneur class, visit www.mntechnology.com or call 364-5763, extension 7260.

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