Employee, Volunteer and Member Bios

Erika Eckstrom

Erika grew up begging her parents for more saddle time. When Erika was 5 years old, she wrote down her 20 year plan in crayon. This plan had her buying a horse by age 15 and running her own stable by age 25. As it turns out, her younger self was pretty close to accurate.

To get more time in the saddle she grew up in other people's barns in the Ithaca area, working hard in trade for lesson and riding opportunities. She purchased her first horse, Margarita, at age 13 with her own money that she had been saving since childhood and spent the following years taking in rescue horses and rehabilitating them with patience and determination.

Those rescue horses taught Erika the intense need for teaching trust, confidence and patience. To teach a horse to be a trail horse, not only does the rider need patience, but the horse did as well. By training scared, abused or abandoned horses, Erika was able to gain vast experience in relationship and trust building that has extended to her horses today.

Erika spent a number of years in Washington, DC where she earned two bachelor degrees in anthropology and music theory, and a master's in public communication. During this time period, Erika worked in a number of positions including acting as a lobbiest for the Violence Against Women Act of 2004, a spokesperson on The Today Show for dating violence issues, a press relations assistant at the Peace Corps, and an archeologist in Tel Megiddo, Israel. Her time and education in the city prepared her for business ownership, marketing and the important people skills that have made Painted Bar Stables such a success..

Erika purchased the stables in 2008 and has since been working tirelessly to repair the stables and renovate the 1851 farm house. Since then, she has a collected, bred and trained a beautiful herd of horses that are well known for their friendly demeanor, interesting personalities, and wonderful trail riding abilities.

Since developing the stables, Erika has received numerous honors, including the Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Syracuse N.Y. District. Erika serves on the marketing advisory board for the Finger Lakes Tourism Association as well as the Schuyler County Cornell Cooperative Extension Pro-Ed Committee.

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4093 Lake Avenue (Rte. 79) Burdett, NY 14818 • 607.216.8141 • paintedbarstables@gmail.com