When Alison Grotz, a member of Chapter G in Charlotte, North Carolina, was a young girl she had no way of knowing that her love of horses would one day prompt her to form an internationally-renowned business. EquiAppraisal, celebrating its 11th year, is a fascinating company that may have been sparked when Alison’s P.E.O. mother and P.E.O. grandmother had a heart-to-heart
with her many years ago.
“When I was 13, my mom, Karen Gay, OA, Batavia, Illinois, was talking with my grandmother, Evelyn Lippelmann, C, Lyons, Kansas, about potentially buying me my first horse. I was already horse crazy by this time and I had been taking riding lessons for several years. But, they were worried about the financial investment that comes with horses. My grandmother, who was on her deathbed at the time, advised my mom that she had been looking back on the memories she made throughout her life and that she had not been thinking about money. She said, ‘You go buy that girl a horse.’ So they did. My grandmother ended up passing away on the day the sale was finalized.”
On her journey from new horse owner to a top professional in equine appraisal, Alison spent lots of time with horses and secured a college degree in equestrian science from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, with a minor in business administration. Along the way there were countless hours spent mucking out stalls, feeding horses, taking care of tack and learning how to handle horses with different personalities. When she was a university student she was paired with Bono, a beautiful horse who had bad habits and a difficult mind. However, Bono and Alison became such good friends that when she graduated, she was called into the university office. “The way it was phrased to me was, ‘Alison would you like a big brown graduation present?’ He has lived like a king ever since and is now retired from showing.”
After college, Alison moved to Ireland where she worked for a globally respected breeding facility called Castle Forbes Stud. She stayed in Ireland for a year on a working then returned to the U.S. and worked as a farm manager for an elite show barn. She received her certification in equine appraisal in 2012. For a time, she was a professional rider but now has amateur status and shows her
own horses. Along with Bono she has Penelope, who joined the family at the age of eight months.
Equine appraisal is a job that values the unbiased opinion of horses, related tack and equipment. Alison does work for IRS purposes. A horse may be donated to a non-profit and a value must be assigned. She appraises for insurance purposes because a court case may involve equine injury or even death. She also works on contract disputes, veterinary malpractice and estate and divorce settlements.
In order to value a horse, Alison must understand the horse’s job. Is it a performance horse, a breeding horse or a pleasure horse? Once she gets an understanding of the job that the horse does, she must ascertain how well the horse performs. She checks records and appraises the horse using the USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice). In most cases she looks for comps, which are similar horses sold in a relative market. It’s similar to how a real estate appraiser values a home. her career, she has appraised horses valued at millions of dollars and has been entrusted by Olympian and celebrity clientele.
Alison’s appraisals serve as litigation support and she is considered an expert witness in the courts. Her job is to share her opinion with the court and educate the judge and jury on topic on which most people do not have a great deal of knowledge. With her more than 25 years in the horse industry, the company that she formed, EquiAppraisal, does sponsorships promoting education
within the equestrian community. She is on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Horse Council, helps with clinics, educational symposiums and does speaking engagements.
Alison and her husband, Scott Grotz, became parents of daughter, Reagan, who celebrated her second birthday in September of 2023. When Alison told Chapter G that she and Scott were having a girl, she said, “I am pregnant with a fifth generation P.E.O.” There was not a dry eye in the house. “Reagan will be around because I have horses. It is a great way to learn responsibility and to respect animals.” With a smile Alison added, “But, I won’t push her.”
Because they wanted their grandmother to be able to see the initiation, Alison and her sister were initiated into Chapter OA in Illinois on the same day in 2006. Somehow she has found time to serve as the membership chair for Chapter G, as well as being the guard and the chair of the chapter’s P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund committee. P.E.O. runs deep in her genes, as she is a fourth generation P.E.O. on her father’s side and a third generation P.E.O. on her mother’s side.
“P.E.O. has been a family legacy for me, and I’ve grown up with a deep respect for the women and values it promotes. I’m very proud of the long line of strong women who have come before me, and I hope to raise my daughter with the integrity that P.E.O. upholds. Similar to P.E.O.’s work in promoting education for women, my company has put significant emphasis on promoting education within the equestrian community. I believe education is the best path toward bettering lives. In this case, it helps equine professionals and enthusiasts while also improving the livelihood of the animals I adore.”
Deborah Murphy, G, Charlotte, North Carolina