The best way to truly understand the driving force behind any company, is to get to know the person behind the brand.
Charmaine Newkirk grew up in the cowboy culture of a ranching town, high on the western slope of Colorado. Her family came from generations of folks, whose lives and livelihood revolved around animals. During her childhood she spent much of her time with her dad Kip Holdren; in the rodeo arena, training and raising horses and caring for the family's small ranch. Growing up, Kip taught her everything she learned about horses.
Charmaine's memories date back to when she was very small, but she recalls never remembering a day she didn't know how to ride a horse. Horses for her were “love at first sight!” When she was ten years old, she took it upon herself to offer riding lessons to the neighboring kids. If they wanted to ride, she wanted to teach them. She found that passing on what she had learned brought her as much joy as it brought to her students.
In the coldest months, when the snow was up to the roof, they would bring down all the tack - saddles, bridles, harnesses - to do repairs, and clean and oil all the leather. Charmaine's favorite time was when they cleaned the team harness. All that brass hardware made it a treat to clean. She remembered how carefully her dad handled this tack in particular. He cherished it as more than merely a tool. It was valuable, rare and made with such great craftsmanship. Oh how it would shine when it was done! Her dad passed down to her more than just a harness (still in “just like new” condition), he taught her to recognize purpose and quality. It truly was an Amish-made work of art.
As a young adult, Charmaine headed off to college. She knew it was natural for her to go on and complete a degree in Equine Science. One of her favorite classes was Equine Nutrition. She truly loved to fine-tune and target feeds specifically for the horse’s needs. From there she went on to a degree in Education, a degree in medical technology, followed by short career in financial advising. Her “equine quest” took her to colleges and vet clinics in Kansas, Tennessee and Wyoming.
During that time she also competed in college rodeo. This was when she was really able to test out different feeding programs, as well as supplements, regimens and treatments for specific needs. Coming from a more natural approach most of her life, she felt like “drug class” remedies were saved as a last resort, but used when necessary.
Her background in Equine Nutrition and her teaching experience opened up several opportunities to work with other horse-related companies in the positions of product specialist, spokesperson, group education and business development executive. She enjoyed traveling all over the country, speaking to veterinarians, large groups and speaking to customers one on one, hearing concerns and questions from folks about their horses.
This work, and her aspirations to rodeo professionally, took Charmaine down to Texas. A few short years later, she had her son, Ryker. Being the sole caretaker of a small one made it difficult to travel for work or rodeo. So, they stayed home. When it became obvious that Ryker might have special needs, her studies shifted focus to learning about his nutritional needs, trying everything to help and possibly cure his Autism. For him, at this time, pharmaceuticals were a life-saver. Now he is a thriving 10-year-old in 4th grade. They live on a little ranch of their own, and Ryker loves caring for animals as well.
Charmaine opened up her little ranch to teach riding lessons full time and her reputation with Cactus Hill Horse Experience grew quickly while teaching children with special needs and PTSD. She considered being around these wonderful animals a gift, and one that she loved to give.
Charmaine has continued her dedication to take the best care of animals with the best information and tools available, knowing technology and formulas change, and being ever-ready for further refinement. She still looks for feeds with high nutrition, clean ingredients and companies with solid reputations of excellence. She's been quoted as saying, "I don’t want fillers in my feed and I don’t like products just filling up shelf space."
When she was suddenly introduced to the time-tested recipes used in the Whisper Works product line, their quality and craftsmanship proved nostalgic. They were Amish-made!
Now, Charmaine has the huge privilege of bringing these recipes from the private Amish community and sharing them with you. Her team at Whisper Works are building a strong reputation that reflects the values and heritage of the two cultures brought together with this brand: cowboys and Amish.
The founder would like to leave you with one final thought, "I’m always learning and looking for what can serve our animals better. If I find it, you’ll be the first to know."
Charmaine Newkirk - President & CEO