Earlier this year, had you turned into the Arizona driveway of Ryan and Andrea Kail’s facility on a sunny Saturday, you would have been greeted with all the sights, sounds and smells of a full-blown horse show. Some 60 people milled about the Kails’ arena while preparing for the Sun Circuit at a practice show Ryan and Andrea organized. While the couple bustled around helping their customers, and showing a few horses themselves, Ryan’s mother, Debbie Kail, stood in the center of the pen judging. His dad, Bob, was announcing with the help of the Kails’ son, Carter. Andrea’s mother, along with the husband of one of their clients, turned out delicious food for lunch. The event was a perfect illustration of how the Ryan and Andrea enjoy doing business and why they’ve been so successful.
“It’s almost like going home for Christmas. Our program is like a big family. Everyone who comes to our barn at a horse show can kind of see that. We all get along really well, and Andrea and I work hard to really nurture and cherish those relationships. They’re the backbone of our program,” Ryan says.
That relationship-first philosophy has been a staple in Ryan’s and Andrea’s evolution in the horse industry from the time they were youth exhibitors to now being renowned trainers who have won numerous World and Congress championships among other accolades.
Ryan was born into the industry; his love for horses beginning in grade school and nurtured by his parents and grandparents. His grandparents, Greg and Mary Whalen, built one of the bigger breeding reputations on the West Coast at that time, specializing in Quarter Horses and Halter. His parents both actively showed and judged, and they built their own legacy in horses.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Andrea was also growing up around horses, mostly trail riding until a neighbor recruited her to try a horse show. Just six years old at the time, before they even set foot in the show pen, Andrea’s horse ran off with her and loaded itself back into the trailer. Despite that, and somewhat miraculously, Andrea says simply, “I was hooked.”