Eqgirl Has Moved!

Thank you all for following my blog! I have moved it to a fancier place…hope you like it!

Check it out at eqgirl.me

June Bloom

May was an extremley trying month for me. It was the first full month I have had at home this year, but between craziness at work, sick puppies, and then a minor health issue, I did not have a chance to enjoy time with my hubby or my family.  We are also in the process of buidling our new website which is a huge undertaking if you want to do it right, which of course I do because as you all know I am an anal controlling perfectionist by nature!

But I am putting all that stress behind me now and will try very hard to stay positive and focused this summer…so no June Gloom for Renee! I am back at the Oaks in beautiful San Juan Capistrano, and the universe is on board with my sunny outlook, providing me with a crystal clear sky and cool breeze. Very unlike the near frigid temperatures I experienced last June in which I was in my Alpaca coat huddled in my sad little mobile shivering my butt off!

This summer is going to be warm and friendly and full of new and exciting equestrian fashion. I have already picked up three new lines and am in the process of planning my trip to Italy and Germany to close out my summer with what I imagine to be a shopping spree extravaganza! My husband and I will be attending SPOGA in Cologne, Germany, one of the largest sports trade shows in the world. You know I will be like a kid in a pimped out candy store and I will definitely be sharing that experience with all of my loyal eqgirl fans.

While I have finally something to look forward to in my crazy busy work schedule, I still need to stay in the moment and focus on what’s fabulous right now.

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And these bright and airy shirts by Fior Da Liso are so in the now that I can’t keep them in stock!

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I have found that polo’s are slowly taking a back seat to a crisp and clean long sleeve buttoned down shirt. I always find it interesting how trends change over time, and I am very happy to see the classic look and chicness of a pretty tucked in blouse come back in style. 

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And these shirts simply have the pretty factor.

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From the fun check prints…

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to the stunning floral details…

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These shirts scream June Bloom!

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So many buttoned down shirts end up looking boxy and masculine on me.

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But the Fior Da Liso cut is feminine in it’s form and fit and something about all those buttons just reads sexy to me!

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Sweet sexy though…like Audrey Hepburn…

 

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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Dressage Princess

Even though my life and work revolves around beautiful clothing and leather goods from all over the world, and I get to spend everyday surrounded by these amazing four-legged creatures, the best thing about this business is the people I have connected with over the years. And what I have learned is that many horse women have similar life stories, we tend to embrace the same values, and our love for horses and spending time at the barn is inherently tied to our need to be independent, to be free-spirited, and to get away from the banality of our day-to-day chores (and sometimes the men in them).

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting and sharing dinner with two lovely ladies who just popped up their tent next to my mobile unit here at HITS. They are here with Game Ready, which if you have ever had an injury, like myself, and have used their product, it is simply the best way to reduce inflammation, accelerate healing, and reduce pain. I literally became addicted to my Game Ready when I broke my arm, sending my husband to the freezer every 30 minutes to get my fix!

Both ladies are Western riders with a little bit of dressage for good measure, and we had a great discussion about Natural Horsemanship, Western Dressage, and of course equestrian fashion. Since I have been around mostly hunter and jumpers for the past few years, I have gotten a bit out of touch with my inner Dressage Princess. I started riding dressage when I was 8 years old and competed through out my teen years. It is truly a magnificently different sport and often misunderstood…which is why it suits me! Even though I am a nonconformist to a certain degree, (I would have loved to experience the 60’s) I appreciate the discipline and classical elegance of dressage. And when it comes to Equestrian Fashion, I am strangely attracted to the polished look of a high-waisted full seat breech with a crisp tucked in blouse. A bit of a departure from my everyday bohemian look.

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So I am very excited to be picking up a new line of breeches that I believe captures the spirit of classic Dressage style and will reawaken the Princess in you!

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The Nathalie brand was born out of royalty with the impeccable style sensibilities of Princess Nathalie zu Sayn Wittgenstein, internationally ranked dressage competitor and member of Team Denmark, Bronze Medalists in at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

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The line combines timeless Euro fit with modern detailing and high-tech fabrics. The ever popular Swiss Schoeller premium fabrics include the Nanosphere® soil and stain resistant nano technology fabric, and new Coldblack® fabric innovation that keeps dark colours cool.

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I also love that the collection is designed and hand crafted in Europe enabling a more hands approach to the manufacturing, ensuring that the each style is paid its due attention and made with the best textiles available.

I can’t wait to get a pair so I can finally flaunt my inner Princess once again!

HITS…Help I’m Too Stylish!

 

It’s my second week here at HITS in California with the debut of our new mobile boutique, and today I had a customer tell me that I looked too good to buy clothes from. Um…What?!?!  I have heard a lot of excuses in this line of work as to why someone won’t buy something…my trainer won’t approve, it’s not navy enough, the buttons are too shiny, but this one threw me for a loop!

I always take pride in what I wear to work, no matter how dusty the show grounds, because when you are selling Equestrian Fashion, you better be damn fashionable!  So while I may look a little dressed up in my Dankso boots, flowy tops, scarves, and funky jewelry, at least I stand out in the crowd.  And as you all know there’s nothing I love more than being different, going against the grain, and not conforming to the bland navy and white uniform.  I am a proponent of prints and plaids, embrace contrast stitching, celebrate a pop of color, commend a little bling, and yes I love pretty buttons!!!

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I am thrilled with how our new mobile boutique looks, especially since I was able to fill it up with beautiful show coats that nobody has but little ole me.

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If you follow LA Saddlery, you will have seen a bunch of our Winston Equestrian ads circulating around the equestrian communities.

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It’s rare that I get excited about a hunt coat, especially navy ones…but this new line from Belgium had me at the elbow patches.

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Light weight stretchy wool makes these coats fitted on the body and flexible in the saddle. 

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They are crisp, classic, and elegant…but have a modern and sophisticated vibe.

I am going to go as far and say they have a sex appeal about them…you know in a sort of buttoned up, English country girl gone bad kind of way. 

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The Exclusive Coat can be customized with contrast stitching, colored collars and piping, and your choice of buttons for all of you adventuresome ladies out there.

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And yes they do bling too…but it’s done very tastefully, think Rodeo Drive bling…not Vegas Show Girl..

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So the lesson here today folks is that being stylish is a good thing.  Taking pride in what you look like is a good thing.  Being an individual…good.  And come visit me at HITS so I can make you look so good no one will want to shop with you either!

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