Chance Schuknecht was raised and graduated high school in Iowa Falls, Iowa. His love for horses and a rodeo scholarship took him to Rapid City, South Dakota where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Equine Management from National American University.
Chance, 33, now oversees Sales and Marketing at Silver Lining Herbs, a world leader in natural herbal support for horses and dogs.
“My brother got me started roping in the 8th grade and I rodeoed through high school and college. I’ve always loved horses and in college thought I wanted to be a trainer,” explains Schuknecht. “I worked for a reining cowhorse trainer and worked for Lisa and Grady Lockhart one summer. I got burned out and realized I would rather ride for pleasure than as a job.”
A college friend, Dustin Luper, introduced Chance to the owners of Silver Lining Herbs, Mickey and Lori Young. Chance was offered a chance to do his college internship at Silver Lining and has been there since.
“Going into that experience, I wasn’t a supplement or herbal person, but this was a chance to stay in the industry and not have to ride every day. My internship was a life changing experience. It inspired me to take care of my horses.
It made me think back to a mare I owned and all the problems she had like pulling back, and how she would dunk her hay in the water. We thought she was half crazy at the time, but after what I learned from Silver Lining, I realized she probably had some physical things going that needed addressing.”
If we pay close attention, our horses will let us know when something is hurting or bothering them. Recently my head horse was swishing his tail through the corner. Obviously something is bothering him. We can ignore it, or try and figure out what’s wrong. I found my horse had sore kidneys,” explains Chance. “The kidneys are not protected by the structural system and the bars of our saddles sit over the kidneys. Then we’re asking our head horses to put that bend in his back going across the arena while pulling a 400 lb. steer. It’s no wonder they may not finish well, or might leave harder or not pull. A typical reaction for most people is to get after their horse. But we really need to take a minute and ask ourselves why it’s happening. The fact is horses by nature are willing and try to please us.”
Some horses are more vocal than others. Those horses that hump up or flag their tail are horses that are trying to communicate with us, to let us know something is up. We should always be listening to our horse’s needs, but, now that we are able to rope for the large amount money available, and considering what our horses are worth, I think it’s very important to listen to what your horse is trying to tell you.”
If we throw a saddle up on a horse and he pins his ears, he’s trying to communicate and we need to listen. I can sit at a team roping and see a 400 lb. guy on a little 14.2-hand horse or see a guy lose his temper and whip his horse these are some of the things that amaze me about horses. These horses show up every day and perform regardless of what they’re having to overcome. I’ve become very sympathetic to horses and realize that they are the coolest animals God has created.”
Schuknecht’s once college internship has turned into a ten-year career at Silver Lining Herbs. Chance finds the company mantra of ‘do what’s right to help dogs and horses’ rewarding. He also enjoys some of the perks such as going to Speed Williams’ place and roping for the day.
“Without working for Silver Lining, that probably wouldn’t happen. It’s been a great experience.”
Chance, a #5+ roper enjoys competing at World Series of Team Roping events. He’s grateful to work in the industry he loves and be surrounded with quality and talented people.
He and his wife Kyla, have been married nine years and have two children, a daughter, Austyn, 6, and a son, Wade, 3.
COWBOY Q&A How much do you practice? Three or four days a week. Do you make your own horses? Yes. Who were your roping heroes? Speed Williams. I also high school rodeoed with Kollin Von Ahn and admire his ability. Who do you respect most in the world? My wife. Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My parents. If you had a day off what would you like to do? Hang out with my family. Favorite movie? Braveheart What’s the last thing you read? The Continual Conversation. How would you describe yourself in three words? Patient, persistent, hard working.
What makes you happy? My family. What makes you angry? Laziness.
If you were given 1 million dollars, how would you spend it? I would want to be very generous and help people that need it. And pay off my student loans. What is your best quality – your worst? My best quality is I am very soft-hearted and have compassion for others. That can also be a hard quality to have.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? I see myself being the best dad and husband I can be, and someone who is still giving horses a voice to help them out. It seems like sometimes you get to help a lot of horses at once, sometimes it’s just one. No matter where I am, I want to help horses.