Kip Elser does what he loves to do for a living. He has been intimately involved in various components of the Thoroughbred racing business since the late 1970s. A former steeplechase rider, he expanded his resume to include horse breaking and training, sales preparation, and has enjoyed many years as a leading sales consignor while maintaining his operations at a training center in Camden, SC.
As Kip often points out to those who ask about what makes Kirkwood different, "We're trying to build confidence and create a racehorse that's a willing participant, so the mental education is just as important as the physical." Kip maintains that every horse is different and requires individual attention to inspire that confidence. Horses are not machines with basic compartmentalized feature differences such as gender, size, and color that respond uniformly to mass produced training regimens. Rather, they are individuals which require patience, tailored programs, and knowledge which comes with experience figuring out what makes the great ones tick.
Kip's successful 2 year old sales program has been refined over many years and is designed to make the learning process smooth on both the horses and the people. It's a whole process; no one part of it is either a secret or the answer. He firmly believes you can't just go forward at any cost. The most important thing is to produce the product and the 'when' of producing it can't be the most important thing, otherwise you jeopardize the overall longevity of the product.
Kip and the entire Kirkwood staff try very hard to create a value-added experience for their clients. Kip maintains, "If we're doing our job right, we have taken quality raw materials and put them together, worked with them, tested them, and produced a product that will then go on to the racetrack and win races."