About Us

Image
Current location on Redwood Dr. Manitowoc
Image
Previous home downtown Manitowoc

Horsey Habit Saddlery and Tack, Inc. 

Horsey Habit is a store that started out a necessity, and has grown to become one of the most respected tack shops in the country in a short amount of time. 

Michelle Endries is the owner and proprietor. Michelle is a lifelong horse person, and has a particular interest in dressage. She has owned and shown horses throughout her youth. In 1988, a bad fall from a horse left her with two crushed vertebrae, and an abrupt end to her dream of being a trainer. One more bad fall could paralyze her for life, so it was clear she needed to find a new career path. Fast forward 15 years. 

Michelle has a degree in Engineering, and was working at a great job with an automotive electrical component manufacturer. During that automotive sales slump in early 2000, the company's sales dropped significantly, cuts had to be made. Michelle was downsized out of a job.

The silver lining in this was Skip, Michelle's three year old quarter horse. The rare break in a work-a-holics schedule allowed for some much needed training for Skip. He went to a trainer for the first 60 days, and then came home when he was safe enough for Michelle to continue his work.

For months he struggled with rearing, lying down and rolling on his rider, finding fences to push the rider's leg against, and not wanting to move forward. Becoming more dangerous, the decision had to be made. Commit to fixing him, or put him down so nobody would be killed by his behaviors.  

Obviously not the young mount for a person with a major back injury, Michelle sought out a trainer to help with his next phase. June Scheunemann and Mike Bernsdorf from Equine Enterprises were the people given the task of "fixing" Skip. Only days after arriving at the farm, June called to find out why he was there.  She stated he was the perfect gentleman, and was giving them no trouble at all. He really could go home because there was nothing to fix. Why a demon at home and the perfect gentleman at June's? The answer, saddle fit. Mike and June are endurance professionals.

They frequently ride and train their horses with treeless saddles. Under a saddle tree Skips back was having muscle spasms, as the pain escalated he became more and more violent. Reading this as young horse attitude Michelle just kept pushing him and tried to ride thru his fits of pain without realizing the real problem. June's treeless saddles did not allow this spasm to get started, and he never got a painful window while at the farm. 

Now the task at hand was to find this horse a saddle worthy of his sensitive back, and work on recovery. Michelle drove all over north east Wisconsin, and eventually the whole state and northern Illinois. At every stop, nobody knew what they were selling. They didn't have any idea how to help get started with a "problem" horse. They couldn't explain even the basics of fit. After trying several saddles and having problems with lots of stores not being able to help, Michelle sat at a dead end. It should not be this hard, and nobody in this business was doing a good job. Michelle approached her husband Dave and told him she wanted to open a tack shop. She had seen the opportunity, and she knew she has the skills to do this better than anyone she had met yet. His response was reserved "Great! if it does not work you go back to work to pay off your loans." That was 10 years ago. 

With a background in engineering and a firm grasp on classical dressage, the saddle fitting process seemed fairly simple. She finds interferences between saddle and horse movement, and figures out how to minimize them. She then comes up with a set of rules that can't be broken, for both horse and rider, and works toward improvement. From the very beginning there was a huge learning curve. But, sticking with it and continuing to learn Michelle has become one of the premier experts on saddle fit in Wisconsin and the Midwest. Horsey Habit has fit thousands of horses remotely, and hundreds in person. They have perfected the art of fitting, and have it down to a science.

The staff that has accumulated thru the years is one of the brightest groups of really well educated women you will ever meet in any business setting. They are all horseman who have each earned tremendous respect from their piers for the work they have accomplished in their horsemanship world. Couple that horsemanship with training in saddle fitting, and you create several really dedicated horsewomen who specialize in fitting their discipline of choice. Every member of our team wants to see you and your horse successful together.

We invite you to visit our store and see what we have to offer. We've been saying for years, "If we had a couch, nobody would ever leave!" Plan to stay a while, and make new friends. We hope you enjoy the experience!

Horsey Habit History

The shop was opened in January 2002 in downtown Manitowoc. Located in the Former Sweeny's Western Wear building, many people were familiar with the area where the store was started. In just a few short years it was clear that this shop was not the right location to be offering saddle fittings or running a mobile unit. They stayed at that building until they were bursting at the seams and needed more room.

Dave and Michelle purchased their new store in October 2005. Formerly a landscape and nursery supply, the building needed much renovation. In February of 2006, the grand opening of their new home was finally achieved. Thru the years there were several improvements, and many more are planned for the future.

Our current home is a pole building on 6 acres in an industrial park on the south side of Manitowoc. Easily accessible by Highway 10, and Interstate 43 it is a quick drive from Green Bay, Appleton, Sheboygan, Fon du Lac, and Oshkosh. Our shop is truly a destination store, and customers regularly visit us from central Illinois, the Twin Cities, and the Madison area many with horses in tow for saddle fittings.

Horsey Habit was recently recognized by Equestrian Retailer Magazine as one of the "Top 500 Tack Shops in the Country." They have also been endorsed by several breed organizations. The National Fjord Horse Registry has worked with Michelle to produce a video "Tack and Saddle fitting the Fjord" that can be purchased thru their website. The US Clydesdale Association invited Michelle to do a saddle fitting demonstration at the first World Clydesdale Show to be held on US soil. Several 4H, Pony Club, and youth groups have asked Horsey Habit to present at their meetings.

Michelle is on the board of directors for Horse-A-Rama, as well as a voting member of the Wisconsin State Horse Council.  She loves to volunteer time to help improve the future of horse activities in Wisconsin.  Our well rounded staff can work with the most seasoned international competitor as well as the backyard horseman just learning the basics.