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May 2020 Newsletter - How I got from there to here - Part 4

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

It was September 5, 1999 when I was honorably discharged from the U.S.Navy.  Although I thoroughly enjoyed my experiences in the Navy, it was time for something else. I had taken a second job on the weekends for the last year of my service, as head mechanic of an automotive repair shop. My wife and I saved as much money as we could in preparation of getting out of the Navy and starting our own business.

We did it, we started a carpet cleaning business in California and then moved it to Texas. It was hard work building a business, and many valuable lessons learned. I can remember buying our first house. The house was newly remodeled.It cost us 47k, and my payment was a little over $350 a month. The square footage was 780 sq. feet. It was our first home! We lived there for 3 years while building the business. It was hard at first, I had to beat the streets, and solicit business. I bought a notebook, and wrote 10 different businesses on the first page, and 10 more on the second page and so on through out the notebook. I would visit those 10 places each day, and write a yes, no, or maybe beside the names if they were potential customers. I did this everyday for 6 months. It seemed that I did more begging and talking than ever landing any customers. I got a few here and there, but it was close to failure a few times. Then, one day, I was in a Century 21 realty company, and the manager was just hanging up with the carpet cleaning company they had been using. She was complaining that they couldn't get out to a rental house she needed cleaned before the new tenants were due to move in. Talk about the right place at the right time! I had visited this particular office four different times, and finally this was my big chance.

I took the keys, and went to the house. I spent 4 hours cleaning the carpets, perfectly. I wanted that manager to walk into that house and think it was brand new carpet. It must have worked, because the next day, she asked if I could clean 3 more houses. Little did I know, she had 140 houses in her rental pool, and was tied in really well with every other real estate company in three little towns. I had just landed approximately 600 rental houses to clean as they renewed leases, and rotated tenants. It was smooth sailing from that point, and the business took off. I cleaned apartment complexes, city buildings, many residential homes, restaurants, Navy base housing, oil field company offices, and even RV dealerships. As the business grew, so did the money, and I bought us a new house, a big house, with a big payment. I bought boats, ATV's, jeeps, guns, scuba gear, tractors, horses and anything I wanted. I was flying high, and bought rental properties to make even more money. I made Entrepreneur of the year in our local paper, and was best of the best 6 years in a row.

Now, with all that success and money, I was working very hard, but always broke. I was looking around in my desk drawers one day and found an amortization schedule. I asked my wife what it was, and she told me it was the breakdown of how much our house will cost us in the 30 years of paying on it. We were only two years in and I remember thinking, NO WAY!

I told my wife right then and there, we are not doing this pay for a house for thirty years thing. I went straight to the bank, and asked for a loan. My plan was to buy land, clear it, and build my own house for cash. The bank told me I was over extended, too much debt. So I went to another bank, and they told me yes! I found out they would loan me 23k. I immediately went to my realtor friend, and asked them to find me some land for 23k.

After waiting a day or two and no response from the realtor, I went looking myself. I drove every back road I could find. Then there it was, five acres, for sale by owner! I called the number, and the guy on the other end of the phone told me he needed 35k. I told him that I HAD 23K,  and he took it.

I then went back to my realtor friend, listed my house for sale. It sold in 3 months! I moved my family into one of our rental properties, and took the equity money to the pro desk at The Home Depot. I showed them the house plans that I drew on a napkin at a restaurant where we had dinner an hour before. The guy was really cool and sold me everything that I would need. So, here I am, 28 years old, and never even built a dog house. I've got a lumber pack scheduled to come in a week. I had to clear the trees where the house was going, the driveway to get in, and buy a book on how to build a house.

Well, I went to Barnes and Noble book store, and bought a book on how to build a house (still have it), and I built us a house. We lived there for 3 years and loved every minute.

Building my own house, taught me commitment, just as building my own business did. It taught me, hard work will and does pay off. It helped me see that anything is possible if I put my mind to it. The best part, I started to become debt free.

After the house was finished, I decided to expand the business. I added another division to the company. We added water damage restoration, along with fire/smoke restoration, along with death scene clean up. It was September 9, 2001. I remember it very well, because I was taking my final exam to become a certified water damage technician on September 11,2001. That day  will stay with me forever, the day the Twin Towers fell in New York. I was in the U.S.Navy Reserves, and forward deploy-able. I called the command to ask if I was needed, and was ready to go. In my case, it was optional, I had a choice to go, or stay and cover the squadron at home. I chose to stay back, with my one week old baby daughter, my 4 year old son, and wife. I wrote a check for 50k for new water damage equipment and grew our company.  Then, hurricane Rita and Katrina came and we did very well with the water damage division.

After 8 years of building the business, I had plenty of money, so I decided to invest. We chose to buy land in Colorado.......To be continued.....


Last Month's Roundup

Shelter-in-place orders kept us on the farm for April which allowed us to knock out a whole list of infrastructure items.  We continued with Equine Therapy for several clients and are planning lots of great adventures for the coming months.  

Heal a Hero today!

Allow us to continue saving the lives of Veterans, Active Duty Military and First Responders.Donate

AMS Adventures - Here's What's Coming Up

Spring Training - April/May is the time for "Spring Training" where we will have all of AMS horses in the arena for grooming, hoof trimming, de-worming, and overall check-ups. We will have veterans assisting and doing the check rides. We've already had our first online session so watch for future sessions and much more in our private membership group on Facebook. Here is the link to join:

Online course starting this month - Are you a horse trainer, stable manager, equine professional, blogger, horse lover?  You probably have valuable information to share with like-minded people.  Why not teach online? I will coach you - step by step - how to create online income through your love of horses.

Clinics take a break - Due to the Corona Virus, and social distancing, we will be holding our multi-participant clinics after we get the all clear. Until then, we will continue our private one on one clinics, and therapy sessions. I hope all of you stay healthy and happy in this time of concern.

Land for Veterans Program - American Mustang School has been given the use of some private land and direct access to a couple thousand acres of public land to use for our veteran therapy programs. These programs are an extension of our therapeutic maintenance programs and are considered level 4 and 5, which are overnight pack trips, hunting, fishing and geocaching with horses. If you are a veteran, or know of a veteran who would be interested in these kind of therapeutic activities with horses, contact AMS for details.

These programs will be dependent on outside funding, and we are actively seeking donations to make them possible. If you would like to help, any amount is much appreciated. Here is the link to donate:


American Mustang School Horse Spotlight

Name - Duke (mustang)

Age - 16

Favorite activity - Pack horse operations for Army, and Trail riding in the roughest terrain possible.

Best adventure with Justin - Scouting trails in Colorado for 2 weeks to learn the area. We rode 8-10 hours a day for two weeks, and he never tired, he loves exploring the back country.

Duke is special because - He was abused when I got him, I saved him from a bullet. Now, he loves people, and is very loyal.

Horse Fun Facts


  • What is a group of female horses called? A group of females is called a harem.

  • At approximately what age will a stallion head the herd?  A stallion will be eligible to lead a herd around when he is around 6 years old. 

  • In what year were laws passed to make it a federal offense to harass or kill mustangs? In 1971, laws were passed that made it a federal offense to harass or kill mustangs.  Even though the law is in existence, mustangs are still being killed by farmers and ranchers.

Words to Ride By

"Horses learn from pressure being released."  Justin Dunn

If a lion is putting pressure on a horse, the horse runs, lion stops chasing, the horse just learned to run from the lion.

Same applies to humans.

We can apply pressure without ever physically touching our horse. I like to use pressure to ask a question. Applying pressure physically is a question too. Applying the pressure softly, increasing the intensity of the pressure and stopping or releasing when an attempt is made by the horse to respond correctly. Repeating this process always starting with soft pressure and releasing immediately when horse responds correctly will allow the horse to learn and grow in the relationship. Always follow my two rules, Never force a horse to submit with pain or fear.

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