Small Business Spotlight: Desert Belle Arabians

I love shopping and eating at a small business, even while traveling.

It can be a challenge for several reasons. One, it is usually more expensive and two, I have celiac disease and can’t just eat anywhere. But I truly believe in supporting a small business. Shopping local keeps more money in your community and helps people like me or your neighbor or your best friend.

Yes, it can be a challenge but it can also be fun to explore your city and find new places to shop or eat.

Who doesn’t like spending a beautiful Saturday morning at a farmer’s market? Or sipping coffee at a local cafe with your best friend? Starbucks is the easy choice. Why not try a small, local cafe? It’s, even more, fun when traveling to hunt down fun places to eat. You can eat at an Applebees anywhere but how many opportunities do you have to eat fresh fish caught that morning? Local fisherman, local restaurant. Yum.

I want to work with local, small business to help them grow and reach more people. I am passionate about keeping things local if you couldn’t tell. I hope to make this Small Business Spotlight a series as I work with more and more local businesses. If you are in the Phoenix area and interested in working with me just send an email to I would love to find a way to help you like I did with our first small business, Desert Belle Arabians.

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Desert Belle Arabians is owned by Heather McWhorter. Heather breeds, markets and sells Arabian horses and teaches classical style horseback riding on Arabians or half-Arabians. She is a member of several professional organizations including the United States Equestrian Federation, the Arabian Horse Association, and the Arizona Dressage Association.

I worked with Heather to photograph two of her horses and interviewed her to learn more about her business.

Keep reading to learn more about Heather and Desert Belle Arabians!

Heather grew up with horses and at eight years old met her first Arabian horse. It was love at first gallop. She was captivated by their beauty but became hooked when she saw their personality. Arabian horses are curious, extremely intelligent, loyal, and trusting. After spending the day with Justice and Jericho I can attest to this! Both boys are quite the characters.

Unfortunately, life got in the way, as it does with many of us and Heather spent ten years working in the Behavioral Health field after college but she is now following her passion and helping others discover their passion and talents through teaching others.

Riding lessons are geared toward beginner and intermediate riders. She focuses on giving riders a good foundation of learning both in the saddle riding and on the ground learning, including all aspects of care. Riders start in dressage saddle but go on to excel in multiple disciplines of riding.

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Having a small business can be stressful, especially when it comes to finances. It can be hard to do more with less but Heather focuses on making sure her prices are accessible for more people. Her customers often tell her how comfortable they are and how stress-free her lessons are. Heather loves having her own business because she gets to be creative in using her gifts and talents to help others. She uses this freedom to be the best version of herself and hopes that she inspires others to be their best selves.

Heather would tell anyone looking to start their own business to follow their passion and to never give up on your passion or yourself.

Now for a little fun…

What did you want to be when you grew up?
What I am, a riding instructor!

What inspires you?
My friends and family and of course, the horses.

What are three things you can’t live without?
Lip gloss, my phone & my mini horse 🙂

What do you do for fun?
As cliche as it sounds, I enjoy spending time my horses! I also enjoy hockey, the beach and being with friends and family.

Thank you, Heather! I enjoyed working with you and meeting Jericho and Justice. I can’t wait to work with you, and those boys, again.

Are you following me on Instagram? If you like sunsets you probably should!

What is your passion? If money wasn’t an issue, what type of business would you start?

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Jenna Volden studied photography in high school and college but ultimately ended up with a business degree. After spending 10-plus years in the rat race she returned to her first love, photography by starting her own photography company. She can be found either chasing sunsets around the globe or making women feel like rock stars in her home studio. She is currently based out of Phoenix, AZ.

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This entry was posted in Document Living, Lifestyle, Portrait Photography.

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