From SAE to CEO
Ambitious FFA member has big business plans for the future
Roselynn Orr is confident that she’s going places. And she doesn’t just mean on the back of her saddlebred horse, Rocky.
“I’m going to be a businesswoman,” she said with conviction. “That’s for sure what I want to do. I love creating stuff, and I love helping people.”
The 17-year-old is just a senior at Hallsville High School, but she’s well on her way to reaching those goals. Through her FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project, Orr has already launched one business and has plans for more. She created an app, EqueTrainer, that placed second in the Equine Science Entrepreneurship SAE category at the Missouri State FFA Convention this past spring, and she is developing another app called “GiddeeUp” that she hopes to enter in the 2024 competition.
“I am proud of how far I got in the state contest this year, because entrepreneurship is a very competitive category,” Orr said. “I’m grateful for that opportunity. I haven’t released my new app yet, but I’m hoping that this year I’m going to compete with it.”
This competitive spirit is rooted in her self-described “obsession” with horses, which began when she was 8 years old.
“My mama found a coupon for riding lessons—she loves her coupons—and took me to the barn to try it out,” Orr said. “From that point on, I didn’t want to do anything else. Horses are a passion that fuels my soul.”
She and her first equine companion, an appendix quarter horse named Ollie, quickly transitioned from riding lessons to ground pole exercises and then to hunter-jumper competitions. A few years later, Orr began working with Rocky in show-
jumping and eventing, which combines show-jumping, dressage and cross-country disciplines.
Her involvement in the equine industry led to an interest in agriculture, even though Orr doesn’t live on a farm. She took her first ag class in eighth grade and joined FFA when she started high school. The organization’s extensive opportunities fostered the teen’s ambition.
“My ag teacher really encouraged me to be involved, and I got really competitive,” Orr said. “It pushed that drive in me to get where I am today. I know I wouldn’t be here without FFA and ag.”
This drive extends to her education. With a year of dual-credit classes under her belt buckle, Orr will be entering the University of Missouri next fall as a sophomore, diving right into her agribusiness major with minors in ag communications and animal science.
“I also do this thing called ‘SAE Flex,’ which allows me to leave school at 1:00 and go to work at my job at a veterinary clinic,” Orr said. “On top of working and leaving early, I have still managed to take a year off of college, too!”
Her work experience includes several years at equestrian centers, which helped inspire the concept for the EqueTrainer app. The online platform tracks medical records, farrier details, feeding schedules and training information by horse in one convenient place. While processes vary by stable, Orr said many don’t have a central, secure method for managers, owners, trainers and veterinarians to stay on top of each horse’s needs. For instance, she explained, information such as feed amounts and medications might be written on a whiteboard that can easily be erased or become illegible.
“I’ve grown up working in stables, and I’ve seen how chaotic and frustrating things can be,” Orr said. “My goal is to help fix these problems and find a way to make things easier.”
One of the key features of EqueTrainer, she added, is the ability to create customized training programs for each horse. This enables trainers to tailor their approach based on the horse’s unique characteristics and needs, resulting in more effective and efficient training programs. Orr said she envisions the app not only being beneficial for larger stables but also for smaller farms and veterinarians.
“It touches every little aspect of the equine community,” she said. “I think anyone who manages horses could find it useful. I think that’s what makes it so versatile.”
Though Orr points out that the app will be simple to use, it’s not been so simple to develop. Today’s online technology makes building applications much easier than in the past, but creating a brand-new program meant Orr had to learn web development code the “old-school” way. Fortunately, her mother, Dianna, had expertise in this area.
“About 20 years ago, my husband, Aaron, and I helped build a new algorithm for metabolic testing and heart rate training technology for humans, based on something called ‘respiratory compensation,’ and I taught myself how to do coding,” Dianna explained. “When Roz started looking at SAE ideas, she ran across an article about how they utilize heart rate training for horses in Europe, and I said, ‘That’s similar to what your dad and I used to do. I could help you create something like that.’”
Mother and daughter worked together to develop the ideas and algorithms for the app, supported by funding from the MFA Incorporated Charitable Foundation SAE Grant Program. Orr received $1,000 through the MFA donation to boost her project.
“It helped tremendously, and I’m beyond thankful,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this stuff without my grants. It helped pay for some of the assistance in development, coding and web design that I wasn’t able to figure out on my own.”
Orr’s next big idea is GiddeeUp, which will be a horse-trailer rental app that follows the ride-sharing approach. Equestrians who do not have their own horse trailers can find available equipment and drivers to haul their horses to shows.
“GiddeeUp is the fun one to me. I say it’s like Uber for horses,” she said. “You look in your area and find trailers that are near you and where they are going. Then you book the trailer, and it’ll come and pick your horses up and take them where you’re wanting to go. Personally, I don’t have my own trailer, so I understand the struggle, and I see it on Facebook all the time, people asking if someone can help haul their horses. I think this is a really big need.”
EqueTrainer is now being beta-tested by a select group of FFA members and others in the equine industry to help provide feedback. Orr said she plans to launch it commercially in mid-2024. GiddeeUp is still under development with the goal of having it ready for FFA competition in the spring.
While awards and accolades are rewarding, Orr said the real value of FFA is the opportunities it’s given her for personal growth and professional development.
“FFA has meant a lot to me,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of encouragement from like-minded people who have aspirations and want to make an impact. We’re all very determined. Being around people who bring that positive energy has boosted me and reassured me to keep going.”
Learn more about the EqueTrainer app at equetrainer.com or follow its progress on Facebook and Instagram.
See related FFA story in this issue here: https://www.todaysfarmermagazine.com/mag/2165-mfa-grants-help-ffa-members
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