Best Turned Out

Since I started writing this blog about 50 something posts ago, I have learned some valuable lessons about this crazy world we live in.  I get some pretty interesting comments and email messages..most of which I hide from the public view because quite frankly some of them are a bit disturbing.  And that’s saying a lot coming from me!

First there is a good portion of the male population all over the world that have some very twisted thoughts about equestrian women.  Second, and this one I find to be even more upsetting, there are a lot of insecure women out there, which unfortunately fuels them to lash out at other women. One female reader just felt the need to comment “Gag” on one of my recent posts. Now I’m all for constructive critism…but I really don’t get much from blatant insults.

Once again it saddens me that there is so much negative energy out there, in addition to a decline in basic values and what seems to be an overall apathetic attitude towards the world around us.  Nine years ago when I dropped out of my masters program in Clinical Psychology I went through a three-month depression (go figure!). One day I found myself flipping through an abnormal psychology book and glanced over the section on  depression. It explained that several doctors recommended recovering patients to get up and make their bed first thing in the morning. In fact studies have been done that claim people who made their bed on a daily basis reported to being happier with their lives than those who left their bed in shambles. 

And this totally made sense to me! It also became clear to me why some schools require students to wear a strict uniform like I had at my high school.  The thought is that if young people are dressed nicely they will be more likely to behave nicely as well.  And this is something I have been saying for years about riding being a discipline. When we take a little pride in what we wear to the barn, to the show, it will directly affect how we interact with the horse and ultimately affect how we ride.

I was so thrilled to see this little theory of mine come to life a few days ago here at the Dressage Show in San Juan Capistrano. LA Saddlery was proud to sponsor the jog, and presented the Best Turned Out Award to one of the well dressed riders.  Yes, the jog is about the horse, but as the rider you are a direct reflection of how your horse looks, behaves, and feels. Your horse will take cues from your overall demeanor, and it just makes good sense that if you take the time to be polished and refined that your horse will be too. 

And that’s exactly what I saw.  Overall the riders that had dressed up  had horses who were much more relaxed than the riders who were in their dirty barn clothes.  Now I am not saying this is true for all cases, because you can be very well dressed like me and still be a neurotic mess…which is why my last horse was a total head case! But I’m just saying that if you make an effort to look like Megan O’Brien (shown below) who was my pick for Best Turned Out, your chances of having a more laid back and gentle horses increases greatly.  And her horse, who by the way was dressed to match her overall style, was one of the sweetest and mild-mannered horses I had seen all day!

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She got extra props for sporting white pants at the barn and still looked clean and sharp. You all know I am a sucker for white pants!

I love that she not only wore flats instead of tennies,  but they had adorable feminine details on them.

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Her jacket was well fitted and had a very delicate lace trim, a nice touch I thought. 

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Her hair was smooth and elegant, and her makeup looked fresh and modern.  Basically the perfect combination of style and class that earned her a $200 gift certificate at LA Saddlery!

I also wanted to give you all some fun examples of how you too can look polished for the jog, the barn, or just around town in actual riding clothes.  This is my friend Rochelle, my muse, my rock. She’s one of the most positive, fun-loving and brilliant people in my life, and I have lovingly named her my hanger because as you can see all clothes look good on her!

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Joules printed top, PK Sportswear breeches, Sergio Grasso chocolate Verona Boots.  Also try adding a pretty leather belt or summer scarf to dress up your overall look.

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Beautiful Winston show shirt paired with USG breeches.  I love a colored paddock boot with a skinny jean or skirt.  The Barbour bag and cap just finish off this adorable look. 

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Plaid Pikeur breeches, Dubarry ruffled blouse and Dubarry boots.  Love this look! She just looks bright and happy…nothing to gag about here!

Photos by Tiffany Kyees Photography.

 

Catching my breath

This is Henry.

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I have never really been a fan of cactus plants, however last month when I arrived at HITS in Thermal I wanted something for my outside display that I wouldn’t kill in the first week. Through the heat and wind and lack of my attention, the plant did just fine, and I decided I would take it on the road with me to all of the shows this year.

When I arrived in San Juan Capistrano for the Oaks Spring Classic I pulled out the plant and for the first time admired the beauty in its simplicity, its uniqueness, and most of all its strength to withstand the elements of its changing surroundings. Not unlike myself here on crazy vendor row.

So on my way in this morning, as I was blaring Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch my Breath” my new theme song for 2013, I decided to call him Henry. He is in essence my Wilson and will hopefully keep me sane for the next 9 months while I travel up and down California. But don’t worry I haven’t started talking to him….yet.

I am always amazed at the drama that inevitably ensues amongst the vendors on the horse show circuit. The last few years have been extremely difficult for me in my personal life, and I have been trying to surround myself with only positive people. I also love working with smaller companies who value quality design, who stand behind their brand, and are loyal to their customers. So to me this petty he said she said, she stole my brands, he’s “going out of business” high school drama bull, you know what, is just nonsense.

So like Henry I am staying strong, ignoring the hot air the universe throws at me, and keeping my roots firmly planted, doing what I know and what I love, staying true to my personal style, focusing my energy on finding new brands, and keeping my customers looking fabulously stylish.

Which is why I am doubly excited about a new brand that I am picking up for LA Saddlery. This company was brought to me by an old friend, who I adore and trust, and it just happens to be pretty fantastic too. I also had the pleasure of working with the founder of Fortress of Inca, who has a great energy and a great eye for an easy everyday fashion with a touch of that bohemian glamour that is very much my style sensibility.

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So as I try to find balance in my life this year, I will put on my new pair of boots

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…and with every step I will just keep singing…

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Catch my breath, no one can hold me back

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I ain’t got time for that

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Catch my breath, won’t let them get me down, it’s all so simple now

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Addicted to the love I found
Heavy heart, now a weightless cloud

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Making time for the ones that count

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I’ll spend the rest of my time
Laughing hard with the windows down

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Leaving footprints all over town

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Keeping faith kinda comes around

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Fashion Break Down and Break Through!

I am here in my fourth week at HITS and this is about the time I get to my breaking point. Leaving the parking lot of my isolated hotel on my way to the show park, the tears start to stream involuntarily as I begin to dread the drama that inevitably surrounds the equestrian retail business. From the unethical business practices of some of my competitors, to the raising prices of European imports, and of course the heart breaking realization that after I have invested time and money into something I believe in, that someone else is reaping all of the benefits, having done nothing but ride on my show coat tails. Despite by innate competitive nature, I have come to realize that I might just be a little too honest, a little too agreeable, and definitely a lot too fair in my approach to this business.

And then I turn the corner and pass through the big iron gates that separates the equestrians of the world from, well let’s face it, everyone else that’s sane and normal!

The first thing that catches my eye is an almost crimson liver chestnut glistening in the sun while his faithful groom gently hoses him off. To the right of this beautiful creature are two playful border collies, chasing each other through the maze of tack trunks, while the horses bob their heads up and down in anticipation of their morning meal.

Then just ahead a darling dressed little girl leading her fancy hunter pony back to the show arena with dreams of blue ribbons and galloping victory laps dancing through her imagination. Her proud father is trailing closely behind with a bag of necessities on either arm.

Finally I see one of my customers who I dressed head to toe just a few days ago, looking polished and pretty with a second place ribbon in her hand and a content smile on her face.

And I think to myself, this is why I do this. Because I love the horses, I love the dogs, I love the ponies and the kids, I love my customers, and because I love the equestrian fashion that reminds me this life is worth the drama, it’s worth the expense, and it’s worth the tears. Because in the end all of life’s passions have their downsides, but how many of them also have fabulous clothing!

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As you know I am always looking for new and fabulous collections to share with my customers, and this little gem of a company was referred to me a few days ago.

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For me it tells a story of how we all want to look and feel, giving us a vehicle to express our love for this lifestyle that clings to our every fiber.

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These images embrace the sophistication

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The  romance

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The playfulness

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The tradition

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And classic style that everyone associates with horses and this addictive lifestyle.

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I am hoping to make a connection with the company and share some of these spectacular pieces with all you.

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For now the hopes of wearing this collection will keep the tears at bay, and I will suck it up and make sure you all stay fresh and stylish!

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