Student Success: From Business Owner to Horse Trainer
I meet with faculty and students quite a bit, and I like to share their stories. This is an occasional series.
CJ Kolberdanz’s agricultural roots go deep. A great-grandfather was the right-hand man for W.C. Harris, a “cattle baron” in the 19th century.
CJ herself is partial to horses, learning to ride almost as soon as she learned to walk. So it should be no surprise that she started the FRCC Equestrians Club.
Goal: Transfer from FRCC to CSU.
With Colorado’s guaranteed-transfer agreement, CJ is taking advantage of FRCC’s affordability, class size, and teaching faculty before transferring to Colorado State University. CJ is on track to receive an Associate of Science degree. After that, she plans to attend CSU, eventually to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
“FRCC is smaller and less expensive,” she says. “You get individualized instruction. The instructors are top-rate.”
CJ is a member of the Science Club. She was the only student to perform some experiments at the Larimer Campus annual “Halloween Science” lab in 2010. She performed experiments involving refraction (physics), carbon-dioxide bubbles (chemistry), and bacteria (biology).
High-tech company owner.
Even with her passion for horses, CJ once owned a niche company in the communications field that was anything but Pony Express. She owned an optical fiber splicing business for 10 years. As optical fiber lines were laid, CJ would bring her high-tech trailer on site to splice the next portion of the line. Or, when a line was cut in a construction miscue, CJ would be called to splice the line back together.
It was a lucrative business.
Back in the saddle again.
Then she suffered a head injury. Yes, it was a horse-related accident, but that hasn’t stopped her from, as the saying goes, getting back in the saddle again.
Upon recovery, however, she found that the focus needed to splice an optical fiber line was lost. She sold the business.
She returned to her passion. She found more time to be on a horse.
“Riding, training, and giving lessons have always been my passion,” CJ says. “I don’t make near the living, but someone once said that if you do what you really want, you’ll never work again. And that’s what I’m doing. It’s not work.”
New business venture.
Her new business is called the Misfit Training Center.
It’s a curious name until you ask.
“People embrace the name,” she says. “I’ve rescued animals for quite some time. In fact, my mom dubbed me The Misfit Queen. I take in all these unwanted animals and make them into something wonderful. Really, people don’t have horse problems. Horses have people problems.”
CJ looks after 22 horses on a spread near Nunn, Colo. She teaches Western and English riding and has started working with an international dressage trainer to make herself a better horsewoman.
She is supplementing her startup by working as the pet and equine department manager at Jax in Loveland.
Her future lies in ranching.
CJ and her fiancé were married in June. It was a western-style wedding, of course.
“We aspire to have a very large ranch someday,” she says.