Staff

Susie Phillips


Equestrian Club Manager
808.212.8119  
jriley@cordilleraranch.com

How did you choose your occupation?

I was raised in a small town on a century-old farm in Jacksonville, NC, that was originally a land grant from the King of England in the 1800s. I come from a long line of farmers. I have always had a fondness for animals—an attribute I get from my mother, Cora Scott. George, my father, taught me how to put in a good day’s work. When I was 10, my parents made a deal with me that if I saved up some money, I could have my own horse. I saved $600 from odd jobs working at a local stable for two years. The day after Christmas, on my 12th birthday, I held my parent’s feet to the fire. By the end of the day, I owned a 23-year-old palomino named Jess. I was hooked… ever since that first horse, there was no turning back, and I have owned many and turned my passion into a job.

What past work history prepared you for the Clubs?

For several years I worked for a former Olympian from Canada, Gilles Casavant. He taught me how to treat customers and how important it is to buy the right horse. My experience with him encouraged me to start my own equine retail business called A Bit More — an upscale retail clothing and tack business that included a mobile retail showroom. I had an established presence at horse shows nationwide and developed relationships with major players in the industry. After moving to Texas and marrying my husband, I worked as the equine manager for Wheeler’s Feed and Outfitters, providing my expertise on feed, medical supplies and equine clothing. Always needing to be hands-on with horses, I worked for In The Irons, a local riding facility that concentrates on riding lessons, youth camps and boarding. After seeing my work at In The Irons, the owner of Spring Creek Stables offered me the GM position at his facility. Throughout these chapters of my career, I have also maintained my own breeding program and have ridden horses competitively.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST REWARDING EXPERIENCE?

There have been so many I will do my best to narrow it down. I have a trophy case of awards for the performance of show horses that I have bred and shown. I have sold homegrown horses from my equine breeding program in high five figures that have won world titles. I have transformed a failing equine business into a profitable, preferred equine destination. But the most rewarding is witnessing an autistic child that rarely smiles have a big grin on his face when he rides and is in control of a 1000-pound animal.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGE?

I am facing it now. The history, culture and tradition of Cordillera Ranch would lead one to believe that equine operations would be a bigger, more important part of the Ranch than it is today. It will probably never rival golf but it should be more than it is. The challenge is to determine what it should be and develop a strategy and plan to get it there.

What do you like most about working at Cordillera Ranch?

The western lifestyle! I’m very excited to work for Cordillera Ranch. When I look at the current Equestrian Center, it looks like a yearling that holds tremendous promise. All the makings are here for success… the good bloodlines are here… now it’s simply time, dedication and hard work that will allow us to achieve something we can be proud of.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy travel, hunting and fishing with my husband, Jason Phillips, out west in the Big Bend area, New Mexico and Colorado. I love visiting my two children, Cody and Ellie, at college.  

Favorite quote 

Life is short, ride your best horse first!

Anything that would surprise others about yourself?

I got a BS degree in Social Science from Campbell University and worked as a caseworker for NC Child Protective Services. During my fifth year, I received a domestic disturbance call one night. Knowing the child at the residence, I rushed to respond without calling for backup. The disturbance turned into a life-threatening incident. Everybody, including the child, survived without injury. Within 60 days, I elected to resign my caseworker career and get into the horse business.

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