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About Us

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Which is why the first portable oak round pen was built in a pasture using an old generator and assortment of tools. That round pen is still in use today!


How did we end up on the fringes of a suburban Minnesota town, standing in an old pasture?

That is a complicated and windy path, like they often are. It involves a master carpenter, electrician, and farmer who raises a journeyman iron worker that continues the farming legacy while raising his own family. It is not much of a surprise that the son of the journeyman iron worker/farmer, and grandson of the master carpenter/electrician/farmer swore off the farming lifestyle and set off for college. He was determined to do anything but what his forefathers had.

Which, obviously, means earning a degree in English Literature.

What does one do after they get married, have a baby, and collect their degree in English Literature? They buy a farm in Iowa of course. Every good farm needs a horse, but that horse rarely pays the bills. Which leads us to our English Lit major brushing off his skills in carpentry and welding to support his family. After a short time he was promoted to help sell construction projects and found that he had a talent for designing equine facilities.

He had started his own company and was designing and building custom barns in New York, Houston, and Santa Barbara. There was a stark learning curve, and low lows along with the highs. In due time it was time for a change, which brought him back to Minnesota as a project manager for a large commercial construction company. While there was much to be learned from this side of the building industry, it was not exactly enjoyable. In his free time, he would find himself sketching horse barn concepts and other ideas for equestrian facilities.

Which brings him to a pasture outside of a small town, sawing, drilling, and crafting the first portable oak round pen. The years of farming taught him that horses would not chew white oak and it would hold up to the extreme vacillating weather of Minnesota. The intention was a portable round pen as the pasture was not the ultimate goal.

As fate would have it, only a few weeks later the construction company announced layoffs and that round pen would become a saving grace. It was 2009, and the economy was a tragic place. While the round pen was never intended to be a product sold, circumstances dictated otherwise. Reluctantly, he took pictures and began advertising on Craigslist. The design resonated with the horse community and orders began coming in from across the country and Great Oak Equine was born.

In the nearly 15 years since then GOE has become a proper company with a wide range of products that sprang from the sketch book filled over the years. Our OG, our founder, our visionary is Stephen, whom is no longer doing the majority of the building but is just as involved as in 2009. He has put together a team that are able to use their strengths in a meaningful way to bring more quality equine products that are outside of the norm (by today's standards) to the equestrian community.

P.S. Stephen did not write this self-indulgent prose. That honor goes to Bria whom listens to too many podcasts.