Kiersten Sudlow and Performeq: Hitting the Road with a New Mobile Business


Kiersten Sudlow, the owner of Performeq, a mobile tack store, has been riding horses her entire life. Her mother, Fara Sudlow, is well-known among Hunter/Jumper riders in the Greater Memphis area as the proprietor of Saddles N Such in Germantown, Tennessee.

When Kiersten was around 13, Fara purchased Saddles N Such, seamlessly integrating the tack store into Kiersten’s daily life. As a young teenager, Kiersten would finish her homeschool courses and homework at the store’s register every week day.

At 14, Fara bought Athena Du Rouet SCF, affectionately known as Tina, for Kiersten. Tina, a powerful 17.2-hand Show Jumper, was bred by Karin Morgenstern Jiminez of Sporting Chance Farm. Reflecting on the early days of their partnership, Kiersten recalls, “I could barely hold on to her, but because the smile on my face was so wide when I rode her we decided to take a chance.”

As Kiersten competed with Tina in Show Jumping and immersed herself in the daily operations at Saddles N Such, she developed a deep appreciation for having the right gear for a horse. “Anyone who knows Tina knows she can JUMP, but she’s not an easy ride. Finding the right gear, products, and care regimen for a sensitive, complex mare took a lot of trial and error. Through all those efforts, I became passionate about how the right choices for a horse and rider can significantly influence success.”

Kiersten pursued higher education at Rollins College, majoring in International Business with a minor in Archaeology. During her time there, she tried to explore life beyond horses, even studying abroad in Australia for a semester. However, no matter what she did, she always found her way back to horses.

While at Rollins, Kiersten trained with Olympic rider Lucia Santa Cruz. “She [Lucia] helped shape me as a horsewoman. I consider the knowledge I gained under her guidance some of the most valuable of my college years,” Kiersten reflects.

As her four years at Rollins ended, Kiersten returned home to work as a Barn Manager for Macy Clark Eventing. “I loved spending all day at the barn (having a great boss helped too), but I missed the hustle and bustle of Saddles N Such during the quiet moments,” Kiersten explained. In January 2024, she swiftly initiated plans to debut a mobile tack store at the Gulf Coast Classic in February, leading to the creation of Performeq.

Tell us about your business name and why you selected it?
I firmly believe that in order to perform your best, it is essential to have properly fitting tack, gear, and apparel selected to suit the horse and rider as individuals. Hence, Performeq: High Performance Equestrian Gear Specialists was born. I carry a variety of high quality products that I know, love, and have researched in order to help my customers, horses and humans alike, perform their best.

What has been the best thing about starting your own business?
The best thing about starting my own business has to be the freedom it gives me. Freedom to share my passion with the equestrian community, freedom to build my own schedule, freedom to travel to shows I’ve been dying to see, freedom to financially support horses of my own.

What has been the most difficult thing about your business?
The most difficult thing about my business is the time it has taken away from the barn. I went from spending eight+ hours a day, six days a week, in the barn with my hands on horses, to spending 10+ hours a day, six days a week primarily watching them from afar. Oftentimes I go weeks without riding or getting to see my own horses. The goal that one day I can be doing this, with my horses traveling alongside me, keeps my chin up in the moments that I miss them.

Where do you see your business in five years?
In five years, I hope to have a second mobile unit on the road, or perhaps open a storefront in an area I discover while on the road that feels like home.

Who are your role models?
Without a doubt, my mom is my biggest role model. An entrepreneur herself, she has built Saddles N Such on a foundation of trust and reliability to the Memphis Hunter/ Jumper community. Clients, amateurs and trainers alike, respect Fara not just as a retailer, but as a horsewoman too. She applies her knowledge from years spent in the barns to her work in the tack store, to ensuring that riders are leaving the store with just what they need– not too little, but not too much, either. She works religiously, even outside of the store, even on her days off, taking texts or calls in the late evening hours, only to start again before the sun has fully risen. She does this all to provide the community she loves with the best service possible.

What do you think is the most important thing about running a business in the equine industry?
I think the most important thing to remember while running a business in the equine industry, is that just because something works for you, doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone. Horses and riders come in a million different shapes and sizes, their minds and experience in even more complex combinations beyond that. I think it’s important to keep in mind that there should always be options– there is no forcing people and their horses into a box. If something isn’t working, there’s always another solution. From the retail perspective, there is a constant revolving door of new trends and styles. But when it comes to gear, especially safety gear, what’s trending isn’t always the perfect fit for everyone, and it’s my job to ensure I’m sending someone out with the right thing for them, not just because it’s what I like the best for myself or what all of their friends are using at the moment.

How do you select shows where Performeq will be at? 
I have scrolled through either USEF or HorseShowsOnline’s register of Hunter/Jumper shows from the previous year and looked at areas not more than a day’s drive away that have good horse show numbers. I also take into consideration where my customers have said they are going next, or perhaps they might have a suggestion of somewhere they would like to see another store. Oftentimes, there will be multiple tack stores at shows, but I try to pick shows in which I don’t have too much stock in common with the other stores. We’re all out here trying to best serve our community. Competition is inevitable, but I always think it’s better if everyone can be in a position to succeed.

Do you feel it is harder to gain repeat customers as a mobile business?
I think, perhaps if I were traveling very sporadically, repeat customers might be a struggle. But I would say, the hardest thing is getting people to first come in the door. I’m an unrecognized brand and a new face. But once people come in, I usually see them again throughout the show. A lot of barns utilize a similar tactic for finding shows– they don’t want to ship the horses further than a day’s drive, unless it’s for circuits or finals, of course. Taking the feedback of where customers are planning to go next helps with repeat customers as well, because we are once again set up at the same show together. One of my favorite things is when they bring their horse by to visit me again, as well!

What are the benefits to owning a mobile business?
One of the benefits to owning a mobile business is that I can take a week or two off of work, and not have to have an employee cover to keep the store open. I can simply bring the store home, and I will not be missed for a week or two! That kind of time off in America is a huge luxury. I also get to travel to horse shows and areas that I love, and experience it with new friends. While in Gulfport, for example, I was able to spend a few days off in New Orleans, a place I’d never been before but had been dying to visit. While in Pin Oak, I got to watch six Grand Prixs– more than I’d gotten to watch in the entire year prior!

What are the disadvantages?
The disadvantages, and one of the things I am struggling the most with at the moment, is managing a healthy lifestyle on the road. Horse show food is oftentimes not the most nutritious, and staying in hotels or Airbnbs all the time can make preparing food difficult (and all the eating out isn’t easy on the wallet, either).  Without a horse to ride on the grounds, and the business taking up more hours than your typical 9-5, it can be hard to find time to keep myself fit, as well. It’s a good thing I can take time off when I’m at home, because after riding Tina without sitting on a horse for weeks, you know I’m going to be worn out the next day!

Advice you want to give to young equestrians wanting to work in the equine industry?
There are SO many different paths out there other than riding/training in the equine industry. I know we all appreciate our professionals endlessly, but that lifestyle isn’t for everybody, and that’s okay! For a while, I thought I only had two options: ride professionally, or become a lawyer or doctor or something like that to pay for it. I think it’s important to do what you love, but there are a bunch of amazing career paths that can incorporate horses and even horse showing into worklife. I’ve met some amazing bodyworkers, artists, sales reps, and other small business owners during my short time on the road.

Quote you live by?
“Do what you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” - I think this quote has especially rang true for me in recent months. Ever since I was young, my mom has always pushed me to explore my passions and encouraged me to pick a career that I enjoy. I think I have always known in my heart that whatever I did, it would have something to do with horses. Growing up, I found myself spinning every essay and almost every conversation into something about horses. Working in the tack store at a young age really spurred this on, and part of why I decided to go this direction in the industry is because I get to spend everyday talking about my passions.

What is a must have in your tack trunk?
A must have in my tack trunk are Incrediwear polo wraps. They work as a compression bandage while you’re riding. Afterwards, simply hose them down to activate an icing effect. This is such a great product I always have in my trunk, especially for horse shows when access to a freezer and ice boots might be limited.

What is a must have in your riding apparel closet?
A must have in my riding apparel closet would have to be my navy Equiline Hayley coat. I absolutely love the timeless, elegant design of this coat, and how it works in any ring. A few changes in accessories, and I can take my look from “Jumper Baddie” to “Hunter Princess”! Putting together the whole look from head to hoof is one of the most fun aspects of my job!

Performeq will be on the road this summer. Here is the planned summer schedule where you can visit Kiersten and her new mobile store, Performeq, while on the road showing:
Germantown Charity Horse Show June 4- 8
ExEL Summer Spectacular & College Combine June 21- 23
HITS Chicago Lamplight Summertime I, II, & III July 3- 21
HITS Chicago Equifest I, II, & III July 24- August 11


Lauren Abbott

Lauren is a lifelong equestrian. She was born and raised in Memphis, Tenn. Lauren has worked in Journalism for over 20 years and has served as a staff writer, designer, photographer, audience and business development consultant, & advertising senior executive. She is the Owner & Publisher of MSHR, and CEO of Ford Abbott Media, LLC, the parent company of the Horse Review and Hunt & Field Magazine.

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