For the Atkinson siblings, Walker (age 15), Vivian (age 13), and Stuart (age 10), horses and business go hand-in-hand. The three young equestrians have been riding since the early age of three.
They are Three-Day Eventers and Show Jumpers, enjoy Fox Hunting, and are members of the West Tennessee Pony Club. Parents, Oscar and Jocelyn Atkinson, are both life-long equestrians, entrepreneurs, and business owners, so the sibling trio’s new horse business came together naturally. Lucky7 Horse sells horse treats and gifts and was named after their Thoroughbred mare, Lucky, who was found in a dire situation.
The Atkinson’s bred Lucky, a Polo pony, through Oscar’s grandmother, Imogene Erb’s Thoroughbred stallion, Derby. Derby has a long lineage of Memphis-area Thoroughbred blood, so Lucky’s breeding is uniquely “Memphis” and traces back to original Memphis-area Thoroughbred Fox Hunters and Polo ponies. When Lucky was younger she had a horrible hoof abscess that ultimately left her unsound. The Atkinsons used her as a broodmare, but ended up finding her a forever home for her several years ago, or so they thought. The original plan was that she would live out her years as a pasture mate.
Just over a year ago, a Memphis-area horse trainer alerted Jocelyn that she saw Lucky on a “Save Site” through Facebook. It showed an image of Lucky and the post stated that if the mare was not “saved” she would be shipped to Mexico for slaughter. Jocelyn, mortified to see the horse they bred and raised in jeopardy of going to slaughter, immediately messaged the admin of the page to save Lucky’s life.
Jocelyn explained the “unbelievable” process of trying to get Lucky safely back and out of the hands of “shady” horse traders. She explained how they were never given any names of the individuals who orchestrated the web of horse trading on this national level. Thankfully, after many steps, one including meeting at a gas station in Byhalia, Miss. at night, Jocelyn was able to retrieve Lucky and bring her home where she was reunited with her baby, Seven, who was then three coming four.
The Atkinson siblings, Walker, Vivian and Stuart, were outraged that Lucky ended up in such a devastating situation. They recognized that Lucky was one of the “lucky” ones. She was one out of hundreds, if not thousands, of horses that fall into hands of “shady” horse traders who get paid by selling horses bound for slaughter at outrageous prices. These horse traders go all over the US selling off horses as they travel from auction to auction, finally ending their trips at Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses with trailers full of emaciated, sick, and crippled horses who are then slaughtered.
After the ordeal of rescuing Lucky back, the three pony clubbers thought of the idea to make and sell horse treats and cookies when they were on the hunt for a good horse-related gift for a friend. They wanted an accessible gift that would be suitable for any horse lover and, most of all, they wanted to help other horses that were in need of being rescued and rehomed.
After many days and nights researching and testing several homemade horse treat recipes, they came up with their unique ingredients which include flax and molasses, packing the treats with Omega-3s. They settled on naming the treats and branding them after Lucky and her colt, Seven, creating the business and brand, “Lucky7 Horse, Love of the Horse.”
The Atkinsons sold their first batch of treats at the December ExEL Horse Show next to the West Tennessee Pony Club Consignment Trailer. They created a limited edition holiday flavor which included peppermint. They sold out of all their treats and were fast at work to get more batches made and packaged. They pitched their treats to Fara Sudlow, owner of Saddles N Such in Germantown, Tenn. Fara agreed to carry the brand and the locally-made treats in her store, helping the midsouth pony clubber’s grow their business, while also helping support horse rescue.
These pony clubbing siblings have lofty goals with their new horse treat and gift business. They hope to partner with national Thoroughbred organizations like New Vocations and partner with a commercial kitchen to help make mass amounts to package and sell. Father Oscar said, “We have the idea to follow a similar model like Girl Scouts, so these horse treats can be sold through Pony Clubs to help raise funds while also supporting horse rescues.”
Lucky7 launched their new website: www.luckysevenhorse.com at the end of January. Their treats and limited edition holiday flavors can be purchased and shipped through their online store. Walker, Vivian, and Stuart are currently working on their Valentine limited edition that includes four left clover and heart shaped cutout treats. Lucky7 states, “We started this company to improve the lives of horses and make positive change in the horse industry.
Lucky is now 17-years-old, and Seven, her colt, is now five. Lucky will live out her days with the Atkinsons, and Seven is currently in training in Ocala, Florida with the Atkinson’s trainer, Macy Clark. They will return home in the spring, and the Atkinsons are hopeful Seven will become Stuart’s Three-Day Event Horse.