It’s showtime for Joanne Smith.

The director of equestrian goods retailer The Equine Hut has her summer schedule already mapped out – attending a string of country shows across the north.

The company will have a sizeable stand at Honley Show on Saturday, June 11, having already taken part in the Nottinghamshire County Show at Newark in May, an event attended by about 30,000 visitors.

The Equine Hut will also be present at the massive Lincolnshire County Show later this month, which draws about 60,000. And the company is set to make an appearance at a number of smaller rural shows, including those at Halifax, Penistone and Bakewell.

Spring and summer is generally a quieter time for the equestrian retailer – as people have bought the equipment they need for the summer shows over the autumn and winter period.

But setting up stall at the agricultural shows is the best way to get The Equine Hut name more widely known, says Joanne, who has been in charge of the company since it began trading in October last year.

“We have attended local events held by riding groups and we are getting on to the show circuit,” she says. “We are sponsoring two of the show rings at Honley as well. We also have some sponsored young riders competing in show jumping events at national level.”

Although Joanne doesn’t ride, she has all the necessary credentials for running a business catering for the country “set”.

She and husband Ian, who have three children – Victoria, 17, Tarah, 15 and nine-year-old Charlie – own a working livestock farm at Victoria, Holmfirth, close to where Joanne was brought up. “I understand the outdoor life,” she says.

Joanne Smith of Equine Hut, Meltham Mills, Huddersfield,

Joanne, 36, attended Holmfirth High School, but freely admits: “I hated school. I left at a very early age to work in the family transport and plant hire business, which is what I did for 18 years.”

She later worked as a land management consultant to Yorkshire Water on a freelance basis for a few years – which took her all over the county – before joining the company which went on to set up The Equine Hut in 2013 as a freelance bookkeeper.

Now she runs the retail business with support from a small team which includes graduate Beth Scott, who has five horses of her own as well as competing in equestrian events and coaching horsemanship.

The former Shelley High School pupil studied equestrian therapy and rehabilitation at Bishop Burton College in North Yorkshire before joining Joanne, who says: “Beth has proved a great asset to the company.”

The Equine Hut occupies a 4,500sq ft unit at Meltham Mills Industrial Estate and sells everything for the smallholder, horse rider and rambler – with products ranging from animal feed, pet rugs and hi-vis dog coats to saddlery, horse blankets and outdoor clothing. Brand names include Weatherbeeta, Horseware, Dublin, Toggi and Top-Spec. The company also has a growing online business.

The shop at Knowle Lane has already grown in size since its opening in October – and there are plans to extend it further over the next 12 to 15 months.

“We started off trading from an old dispatch office and we have expanded month by month,” says Joanne. “But we are only operating from a third of the space we have available, so we want to grow it again to display more stock and a wider variety of stock. We have quality products – from good to better and best – so while keeping a horse is expensive, our products can be affordable.”

The Equine Hut has customers as far afield as Oldham, Manchester and Leeds, but is ideally placed at Meltham Mills for locals to call in.

“We’re in a very ‘horse-rich’ area,” says Joanne. “And we have got to know our customers. It’s not just about selling, it’s bringing a certain expertise to the business, which is where Beth has been so invaluable.

Joanne Smith and Beth Scott of Equine Hut, Meltham Mills, Huddersfield.

“We want to make people feel welcome. We often get people who pop in just to say hello while they’re riding past. We don’t mind if they come into the shop up to their knees in mud or wearing their Sunday best – the customer is always welcome.”

Joanne may have hated school, but she says: “I love working, I like to see things grow. I was always brought up to believe that you only get out of the business what you put into it – and that’s time and effort. If you can’t do that you won’t get anywhere. We all put the extra time in and we all go over and above for the business.”

She says: “There’s so much variety in what I do. Being welcomed by your suppliers and being invited to their events makes you feel that you must be doing something right. When you get customers saying what a fantastic job you’re doing, it always makes you want to carry on.”

Joanne says it’s hard juggling home life – and work on the farm – with work at the shop, but insists: “Farming is a lifestyle, not a job. This business is a lifestyle, too. If I have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off I feel like there’s something wrong because I haven’t been into the shop.

“You’re always thinking about work. When I go to shows I’m always looking for things we could be doing. Beth’s our ‘secret shopper’ when she competes all around the country! You have to keep your eye on the ball.”

Role: Director

Age: 36

Family: Married to Ian with children Victoria, 17, Tarah, 15 and Charlie, nine

Car: Land Rover Discovery

Holidays: Short breaks – if we get the chance!

First job: Working for my parents' business

Best thing about the job? The people I work with. We enjoy some very good banter, which helps get you through the day

Worst thing about the job? Nothing. I like it all. There’s so much variety

Business tip: Don’t think “nine to five” will make it work – because it won’t. You have to be hands-on all the time

Work: Equestrian goods

Site: Knowle Lane, Meltham Mills

Phone: 01484 818744