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Horse Sense

In our final article highlighting young McCreary County entrepreneurs, JerRick Corder credits horse sense and hard work as keys to establishing business.

Photo by Lyndsey Oagle

Photo by Lyndsey Oagle


Twenty-six year old JerRick Corder is making his dream come true-right here in McCreary County.

After graduating from McCreary Central High School, JerRick obtained a degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee before living and working in Knoxville as a horse trainer for a period of time.  However, it wasn’t long before his desire to do what he loves and does best brought him back home to McCreary County to establish Corder Horse Farm & Training.

Photo by: Eugenia Jones

Photo by: Eugenia Jones

“I always said I’d never leave here,” Corder shared while flashing a shy grin.  “My mom really wanted me to leave and work elsewhere, but my ancestors were raised here.  I think this place is in my blood.  Coming home and establishing Corder Horse Farm works for me.  I’m chasing my dream.”

“We all have a ‘happy place,’” Corder continued.  “For me it is the forest.  I love riding in these woods with all the privacy and space.  I’ve travelled and there’s not another McCreary County in the world-not in Houston, not in Knoxville, not in Costa Rica-not anywhere.  I have no problem living here and making a little less money.  The forest and the people are worth it.”

Corder doesn’t regret going to college and receiving his degree.  He feels his time at the Universtiy was well spent as he met lots of people and made connections.  His degree in Animal Science, although not required for working his farm, has been helpful.

Corder has been training horses since he was fourteen years old.  At that young age, he got his first horse, Jack, and quickly learned to deal and make a profit by trading Jack for a car and a shotgun.

Corder enjoys working with the horses he lovingly refers to as ‘juvenile delinquents’-horses that haven’t been trainable for other folks.

“After Jack, I got Princess,” Corder recalled.  “She was a devil-a local horse known to kick and bite.  She was my first juvenile delinquent.  I broke her and picked up a reputation as the one to come to when you had a horse to break.”

Corder is adamant about utilizing natural horsemanship training techniques.  Training devices such as weighted shoes and spurs are not part of horse training at the Corder Farm.  Neither does he rely on the use of pain or fear.  Instead, Corder wins horses over with psychology, instinct, communication, love, trust, and fair firmness.

“You have to build a relationship with the animal,” Corder emphasized.  “And it takes a truly great relationship to get a 1,200 pound animal to compromise and see things your way!  It’s a great feeling in the end when you realize, through training, you’ve helped save a horse from slaughter.”

Corder shared a story about the response of one juvenile delinquent horse to natural horsemanship training.  That horses now holds a special places in Corder’s heart.

Maybe, a brood mare with the name of “Maybe” because “maybe she’ll kill you, maybe she won’t,” was raised in New Hampshire and went through six different trainers before ending up at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Louisville.  There, the head trainer attempted to train her.  Despite best efforts, Maybe retained the potential to be dangerous.  After being approached about training Maybe, Corder decided to give it a try.  Today, after one month of training, Maybe has been successfully shown in public in at least five different events.

Corder affectionately described the former juvenile delinquent horse as being “just one gorgeous Fruit Loop.”

“She was a beautiful Fruit Loop with trust issues,” Corder recalled.  “I couldn’t tie her, couldn’t touch her when I brought her home that first night.  At six o’clock the next morning I went to work.  Today, even though she still has some issues, this Fruit Loop named Maybe is getting better and better.”

“I think she has gotten attached to me,” Corder remarked with a smile.  From the look on Corder’s face, it is obvious the attachment is mutual.

Corder considers the farm his primary occupation-staying busy training and selling horses around the nation.  Corder knowingly accepts the innate risks involved in working with horses.

“Horse training doesn’t come with a 401K, and there is no back-up plan,” Corder remarked bluntly.  “There is always the possibility of injury in this line of work.”

Corder clearly has a good head on his shoulders and shared some advice for other young people looking for success in McCreary County.

“You have to know what you want and love what you are doing,” Corder advised.  “We are in a “boxed in” area here so it is important to find someone to push your limits.  I drive miles to go watch and learn from others.  You have to read a lot, follow trends, and learn new techniques in everything you do.  You can’t stay in the same groove.”

Corder stressed the importance of being passionate about one’s career.

“Chase your dream,” he urged.  “In biology, every organism has a niche.  People are like that-we all have a spot where we excel.  Find your niche and don’t let anyone talk you out of it.”

Additionally, Corder recommended starting off small.

“Don’t get overwhelmed,” he warned.  “Don’t go in so much that you can’t make your payments.  Look at expansion down the road but don’t start out full-fledged.”

Corder sees managing money and obtaining property as the hardest aspects of beginning any business.

“You have to make sacrifices,” he commented.  “You have to put a lot of sweat into starting a successful business.  You’ve got to remember nothing good comes easy.”

Corder’s final bit of advice is important both in business and in life.

“Don’t ever step on the people who helped you get where you are in your business,” he reflected.  “The same rule applies to the community where you live and do business.  You have to help each other.  Sometimes, you have to compromise, and you always have to help people.”

With wisdom like that, it is easy to see why JerRick and Corder’s Horse Farm & Training are galloping full speed ahead.

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