FAIRFAX, Minn. – Dana Gasner has purchased the ReactorPanel Saddle Company with help from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program. The company sells high quality, adjustable saddles for equestrian endurance and trail riders who embark on long-distance rides through varied and often rugged terrain.
Gasner has been involved with horses for more than 24 years as a trainer, endurance competitor, massage therapist, endurance event manager and saddle fitter. Her mother, Sarah Maass, owns Fort Ridgely Equestrian Center in Fairfax, which is where Gasner trained as a young rider as well as helping her mother teach others.
The previous owner of ReactorPanel Saddle Company approached Gasner about purchasing the business late last year. Gasner had been fitting their saddles for several years and was excited for the opportunity to purchase a company known worldwide as an innovator in saddle fit.
“I strive to offer products that are good for both horse and rider. A saddle is the most important piece of tack you own. The right saddle gives you a better connection with your horse so you can work together in harmony and have better performance,” Gasner said.
ReactorPanel saddles employ a system that flexes and adjusts as a horse moves: A traditional saddle top is fitted with four shock absorbers on two flexible panels that evenly distribute pressure over the horse’s back. The saddles are manufactured in England, then shipped to Gasner who is running the business from her home in Fairfax. Loan funds from SWIF helped Gasner purchase saddle inventory.
“This business is an excellent opportunity for Dana to bring together her passion and expertise, and we’re proud to help her become a business owner,” said Jackie Turner, SWIF Economic Development Officer.
Loan programs have been a key function of SWIF since its inception to support communities and businesses throughout southwest Minnesota. In 2001, microlending was added to existing programs as a tool to support small businesses and people looking for self-employment opportunities.
Microloan clients receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff to improve their business management skills. Areas of support include business planning and financials analysis, QuickBooks training, marketing assistance and other training opportunities for the life of the loan.
This microloan program receives funding assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact SWIF at 800-594-9480, 320-587-4848 or [email protected].
About Southwest Initiative Foundation
Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) is a nonprofit community foundation connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities to create a southwest Minnesota where all people thrive. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has distributed more than $88 million through its grantmaking and business finance programs.
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