Women-led Equine Entrepreneurship: Serious Business


Thirty-one years ago it was almost unimaginable to think that you would talk to a woman about purchasing and installing your horse fencing and stalls.  President and owner of RAMM Horse Fencing and Stalls, Debbie Disbrow, gives her candid and humble account of starting and growing an equine product-based business in a man’s world in 1989. Since then, she has made her company mark across the country and beyond.  

Literally starting from the ground up, Debbie had horses before she was barely able to lead them around. Her passion has followed her throughout her life by owning over forty horses, riding western and english, driving, and boarding. 

debbie disbrow ramm horse fencing and stalls cowgirl magazine
Debbie Disbrow in the early days of starting RAMM with customers’ horses.

Thirty-three years ago, she and her husband, Mike, decided to purchase their dream farm on Ramm road in Whitehouse, Ohio, where RAMM got its name. “The farm had so much potential, but each of the five fields on the twenty-one-acre farm had every kind of old, broken-down fence that you can imagine. Also, the barn desperately needed new stalls,” she said.

One of the first things that they decided to do was find a fence system that would last. “As a result of an unpleasant experience in purchasing fencing, we had the immediate desire to offer horse owners a safer and better way to care for their horses.” 

Shortly thereafter, RAMM was launched with the commitment of offering safer, high-quality alternatives for innovative equine products. However, it was not an easy beginning. “I started in our dining room and eventually moved out to a pole barn building that had been a dog kennel and had a wood-burning stove for heat. We had a horse boarding business on our farm and, conveniently, some of the girls there helped me from the start.” Humble beginnings was and still is a foundation that runs through the company today. 

“As a wife with three children, starting a fence and stall company was not common. The children boarded the school bus at 7:00 a.m. as I headed out to start my day at the office. After school, they would come out to the kennel and do their homework. After they finished up, I would then ‘take a break’ to make dinner. After dinner, I would head back out to call customers until 9:00 p.m. I did whatever it took to provide the best customer service…” she said.

“At that time there were not many women involved with fencing and stalls,” Debbie continues.  “Hearing a woman’s voice on the phone asking about break strengths, CCA treatment for posts, and modulus of elasticity was not always taken seriously. Additionally, when working with longtime board and wire fence installers, explaining a new concept of flexible fencing didn’t go over easily. These types of conversations still happen to this day. Between loading posts, fence and stall components, measuring and marking fence lines, calculating wind porosities, and hours of talking to customers on the phone, hands-on sweat equity led the family business to further growth.

“I knew that we had to prove our products. It was not what we said, rather, what we did that would easily win them over to RAMM.”

debbie disbrow ramm horse fencing and stalls cowgirl magazine
Ramm’s 525 Plus Flex Fence featured in white.

Alongside her husband, they became certified horse fence installers as well as taking on large corporations that needed wind and snowdrift fencing. This led to a large distributorship, in which RAMM represented horse fencing and stalls to over 51% of the country. Moving forward, Debbie and Mike had the opportunity to distribute for each flexible fence manufacturer as well as several stall companies in the equine industry.

“In business, you need to know your competition and there is no better way to learn it than to represent it,” she said. This gave RAMM the advantage that they have today in understanding what works and what doesn’t.

debbie disbrow ramm horse fencing and stalls cowgirl magazine
Ramm’s 425 Flex Fence featured in black.

“I have always stressed to our team the importance of informing our customers of factual viewpoints on how products and warranties would work for their breed of horses and their specific situations,” she says. “There is a product out there for each person’s particular horse needs. We feel confident that ‘knowledge is power’ for the customer when it comes to making wise choices based on their horses’ personalities.”

debbie disbrow ramm horse fencing and stalls cowgirl magazine
Ramm’s custom powder coated Tuscany stalls.

The work put into the business paid off. “It is important to educate and have facts when providing products to inquiring horse owners rather than selling something just to sell it. Our respect for horse owners is great because we, ourselves, are horse owners.”

In time, Mike and Debbie decided to produce their own line of fencing and stalls made in the United States. Today, RAMM manufactures Flex Fence® and a full line of kit and custom-built horse stalls, on-site. They became one of the only companies to offer products for both inside and outside of your barn — as they say, RAMM is a “one-stop-shop.”

“Our customers’ situations are as diverse as the horses they own. We have worked with well-known architects, celebrities (most recently Martha Stewart), Veterinarian clinics, and even families that need to get a little 4-H pony for their kids. Our customers are exceptionally passionate about their horses and so are we!”

martha stewart ramm horse fencing and stalls cowgirl magazine
Debbie Disbrow with daughter Kristen visiting Martha Stewart’s farm with RAMM stainless feeders.

Debbie defines RAMM as “the little-big company” that works with people to find safer alternatives for their horses. “Our customers have always been our neighbor down the street. Whether one state over or clear across the pond, we share a common bond: our horses. Each horse owner is different and each person needs products for their horse’s particular needs.”

Today, Debbie and her family of three generations, work together to produce fencing and stalls that are safer, stronger, and longer-lasting. They believe in sharing the wonderful equine lifestyle with their customers and readers.

Their equestrian lifestyle blog, YourHorseFarm.com, offers quick tips, guidance for farm lifestyle, and stories from fellow equestrians. Additionally, they offer a podcast called Late Night Riders, which includes speaking with well-known equestrians and family members on interesting equine topics. 

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Debbie Disbrow and daughter Kristen Foels speaking on RAMM’s Late Night Riders equestrian lifestyle podcast.

“We all share this common passion, our horses.  We strive and hope to give something back to our customers by forming an equine community.” – Debbie Disbrow

At RAMM Horse Fencing & Stalls, you can depend on their customer support for immediate answers to all of your questions regarding your next equine project for your farm or barn. Contact RAMM today at 800-826-1259 or ramm@rammfence.com.

Follow Debbie on LinkedIn for educational equine articles, equestrian inspirational quotes, and more!

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