wood working

In the spring of 1985 after being unemployed for 18 months, we moved from
Jackson Center, Ohio to the small rural town of Dayton, Tennessee to start a
new job. We decided to start making country craft’s to supplement our income
and begin to pay back the mounding debt. I performed woodworking and Ann
picked up the paintbrush to do the artwork. We tried our hand at many
different items and even held a couple of open houses to display them.
With Christmas approaching, our daughter Shelly gave us a list as long as
our arm containing all the gifts she wanted for Christmas. However, we knew
we could not spend money that we did not have. We wanted to give her
something special that would last a long time, so I decided to build her
something. After much thought we came up with the idea of a rocking horse.

Shelly’s reaction to the rocking horse, was that of tears and disbelief
that her Daddy could make something that special for her! Little did we know
that this would be the beginning of our own business.

A few people from where I worked saw the rocking horse and we began
receiving orders. In fact, we had 50 orders over the next 18 months. Then in
the fall of 1988, I heard the still small voice of the Lord say “Forget the
open house I will take care of things with the Rocking Horses”. We took that
to mean that He would use the horses to pay off our debt. So, we continued
to trust God for the orders and in the next 3 months we received orders for
58 more!

God opened another door for us in 1989. We had no money for vacation so
we built 8 horses from the wood we had on hand.  We told our girls (Shelly
11 and Jamie our foster daughter 12), that if we sold any horses while we
were in Gatlinburg, TN that we would spend the night. At the first place we
stopped we sold 3 rocking horses and then later a couple more in the city
parking lot, so we spent the night!

On the way home the next day we felt led to stop at a shop in Pigeon Forge
called the “Christmas Place”. We had no appointment, no marketing plan, no
fancy business card and no formal business training, but most of all we had
nothing to lose. The buyer(who turned out to be the owner), agreed to look
at them and immediately said she wanted them. This was the beginning of our
wholesale business. The “Christmas Place” now sells about 400 per year.

The business continued to grow about 20% a year and I was praying daily for
wisdom to see if I should take an early retirement and build horses full
time. In October of 1995 God gave me a confirmation with the verse Joshua
1:9; “Be strong and courageous, Do not be terrified; Do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This verse has become our company’s mission statement and can be seen
posted throughout the shop.

In 1997 the Classic Heirloom horses were featured on QVC’s 50/50 tour and
sold out(209 horses) in 8-minutes. In June of the same year the TV program
“Tennessee Crossroads” featured us in an 8-minute segment on PBS in

We work hard, but we have a lot of fun. We have been blessed and we give
all the credit to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because it was “HIS”
Idea. Out of every 100 horses sold, we give one to a Church Nursery, charity
auction or fund-raiser. In addition 10% of every sell is placed into a fund
called the Joshua Fund in which we use for gifts to missionaries, churches
or other individual needs that the Lord brings to our attention.

Each horse is signed, dated and numbered. You can see what number yours is
when you flip the horse upside down. We hand paint them in 5 styles and 13
different colors. You may have purchased this horse for yourself, a child,
grandchild or just maybe received it as a gift. In any case, if you are
satisfied with the quality and beauty of it, would you please tell a friend
or extended family member? And if by some chance you have a problem, please
feel free to call me!!

John T Sprankell owns All His Horses, on the web www.allhishorses.com.