Owner Ellie Scofield’s Story

Ken and Ellie ScofieldOwner Ellie Scofield and her husband Ken have become well-known fixtures in the local equestrian community, not only through Spectrum Saddle Shop, but also Galloways Farm, her dressage showing and training facility in Parkland.

Ellie worked at Spectrum for its original owner for several years, and it was a great fit. Besides being an active and accomplished rider and trainer, she brought a wealth of experience in equestrian retail sales from her previous employment at a high-profile Maryland tack shop.

Life was good working at Spectrum part time between teaching lessons, competing in shows, training clients' horses, and managing the farm and its endless chores with Ken. 

Until life threw the couple a monkey-wrench. A devastating one.

Ken was diagnosed with Huntington's Disease in 2013, a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. It is often described as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously.

To say the Scofields didn't see this coming is a massive understatement. There are only 30,000 people in the U.S. who have the disease. And only 1-2% did not inherit it from a parent but rather acquired it as a genetic anomaly. As luck would have it (or not), Ken is one of those approximately 300.

Ellie always thought she might want to buy Spectrum Saddle Shop, but what was once a "someday" dream turned into an important lifeline after Ken's diagnosis.

"We knew we would need extra income to afford the care that Ken would require," explained Ellie, "and to provide a living for me when he is no longer with us."
So, in a leap of faith, the couple gathered up all their savings and Ellie bought the shop in 2014. And although the diagnosis was a major blow, they continued to live and work as positively as possible. They didn't talk about it much, and many without knowing just assumed Ellie was some sort of workaholic.

It has been almost five years since Ken's diagnosis, and the disease has progressed to the point that he isn’t able to hold a job.  

"We don’t ask for help and we don’t complain, but we do feel it’s important to share our story now," said Ellie.

Sally Mitchell, a customer, former employee and friend said upon learning of Ken's diagnosis, "'Shopping local' often means more to the owners than we realize, and in this case, it's everything."

If you would like to learn more about Huntington's Disease, please visit The Huntington's Disease Society of America's website at http://hdsa.org/what-is-hd/.