Sam Pegg is a Grand Prix rider. His brother, Michael, an FEI course designer.
Together, with business partner Basheer Khan, they are Ten Sixty Stables, the training-showing-horse-dealing-course-designing-trillium-show-running operation from Uxbridge, Ontario that’s been dominating the winter circuit at the World Equestrian Center these past two years.
We caught up with the Pegg brothers in Wilmington, Ohio to talk about their multi-faceted business and the horse that’s putting their name on the map.
HN: You are two of three brothers. Was it always the plan to go into business together?
Michael: I think it was going to end up that way inevitably. We’ve worked together on and off since we were teenagers. Sam went off to do different things [after school] and get some mileage and experience in the United States. [Editor’s note: Sam worked for World Champion hunter rider John French one summer and spent six years riding for Chris Chain in Kansas City before returning to Ontario.]
I stayed in Canada and, in a roundabout way, ended up starting to make some partnerships and things to be able to put the whole [business] together.
HN: What’s your vision, ultimately, for Ten Sixty Stables?
Michael: What we really want to do is have a farm and have Grand Prix horses and sell them and win prize money.
We have some other businesses that are off shoots of that and are, for now, are helping us work toward that goal. We run a series of Trillium shows at home—we do five shows every summer. We have students and horses in training. And I do a lot of course designing as well, which takes your time but is also a good thing for forging new connections in different parts of North America.
HN: Working with family comes with a unique set of perks and challenges. What’s the best part about working with your brother?
Michael: [It’s] really easy, straightforward. It’s all out in the open. No one gets upset or harbors anything. We just say it how it is.
Sam: For sure, [it’s] someone you can trust and rely on. We travel a lot. Sometimes we go in different directions. Sometimes we go to the same place. You don’t have to worry when you leave your brother at home that things are not going to get looked after.
HN: And the worst part?
Sam: Living with him too! [laughs]
Michael: There’s nothing too bad about it. No one’s perfect and that’s for sure the case here as well.
HN: Real talk: is one of you messier than the other?
Sam: *points at Michael*
Michael: Nah, I don’t think so.
HN: There’s always one…
Sam: He leaves garbage in the cars!
Michael: [laughs] It’s because I’m always in a hurry! I have a million things to do.
HN: Okay, moving on. The grand prix horse you co-own with Khan—Shaia de Macheco—has played an important role in helping build your business. Talk about that.
Sam: Finding Shaia was a stroke of luck. Michael was in Europe and she was competing in an international show. We couldn’t actually even try her because she had qualified to get into the Grand Prix that week. But she had a very good record and was exactly what we needed, so we bought her off videos and her show record.
Last year, she won at least a dozen Welcome Grand Prix or Modified Grand Prix classes [for me]. She’s done it all.
HN: Was it an instant match or did it take a while for your partnership to gel?
Sam: She was a little bit difficult. I’m lucky that I’ve had a bit of help in my career to ride a lot of different horses—you start to figure them out sooner and sooner. For sure, the horse had good results with a bunch of different riders so it was just getting to know her and her getting to know me.
Shaia likes to go her own way and has good results doing it her way. I let her be a little bit on her own mission. When it’s game time, she always tries to win every class. There are bigger horses with better technique and more scope, but we’ll go a long time before we have one that has a heart the way she does.
Michael: She’s a genius.
HN: You’ve certainly been successful at the World Equestrian Center these past two winters. What made you decide to go to Wilmington and not Florida or California?
Sam: It made more sense for us and our business to spend the winter at the World Equestrian Center. Last winter, they started to have proper prize money in the Grand Prix—$25,000—and it’s less than half the distance for us. It’s the only show that I’ve ever been to across Canada or the US that’s offered free stabling. We bring a lot of our own horses and campaign horses for prize money, so that for sure helped.
HN: It seems to be working out for you. You took home the $5,000 bonus for most prize money won in 2016…
Sam: Last year, we had a really good winter. We’ve had good results this winter as well. We’ve loved everything about it here—the horse show’s good, the footing’s nice, it’s all indoors so if we have bad weather it doesn’t really matter. And Shaia really liked it, so we couldn’t not come back this year.
HN: Do you base your travel around Shaia’s preferences?
Sam: [laughs] We’d be silly not to.
HN: Michael, let’s talk about your course designing.
Michael: I have had my senior card for Canada and the US for the last five or six years and my FEI Level One as well. I started off doing small shows in Ontario then through horse showing met some of the right people and got the chance to do some AA shows in the US.
It’s accumulated to the point now that I’m very careful about taking new ones. We have a lot going on with the horses. If you’re on the road 30 weeks a year course designing, there’s only so much riding and clients you can take on. It’s just finding that balance. I enjoy designing for the hunters and the jumpers. Everybody would say they’d like doing the open classes and Grand Prix and that’s the case for me too.
HN: You designed for the World Equestrian Center this winter. The rings are huge! What’s that like as a course designer?
You can pretty well build a smooth outdoor course indoors here—there’s just a lot of options. The combinations can be on the side or in the middle. You can make long related lines. This morning, there was an eight stride to a one stride to a six stride, all down the same side of the ring. There are outdoor rings that won’t fit in.
HN: Well, you two clearly have a lot of work to get to! Before you go, what do you think makes your partnership work so well?
Michael: You need to work with people you trust. We have to see each other at holidays and Christmas so we need to be able to get along. [laughs]
Sam: Yes, that. And you need to believe in what you are doing. I think you really need to trust yourself and do what is right and treat everybody fairly because the world is small.
Michael: That’s the truth.