The Hunt

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The Hunt is one of my favorite equestrian lifestyle websites and, Karina, the voice behind the account, is the most down-to-earth influencer I know. I totally suggest you follow her on Insta if you do not already.  I was so excited to be able to send her my quickfire questions and learn more about her and her effortless style. Hope you enjoy her answers below!

HG: First person that pops into your head when I say “Fashion Inspiration”?
Karina: Honestly, I don’t really have a person. I like to look to all different styles, people, eras, etc, and incorporate the things I like from each into my wardrobe. In high school, Gossip Girl was totally my fashion inspiration. As I’ve grown up, I’ve learned that I can mix up my style and have a completely different look from one day to the next – that’s my favorite part!

HG: Biggest pet peeve when it comes to styling?
Karina: My biggest styling pet peeve is probably when things just don’t fit right, like tall boots that are too short, hunt coats that are baggy/too tight, etc. The one thing that makes me tick though is when you can see someones hair net coming out from under their helmet, like above their eyebrows.

HG: What’s something expensive that you have purchased but was so worth it? For example, I think of my Burberry coat…
Karina: Probably my Cavalleria Toscana polo with the perforated top – it was way too much to pay for a shirt but it’s one of my all-time favorite items of clothing. Another is my Katharine Page sandals – I love those and have worn them enough to make it worth the high price tag. I do have a Hermes belt that I adore, but I was lucky enough to get that as a wedding gift so I don’t think that counts.

HG: What is one of your equestrian wishlist items?
Karina: The rose’ wristlet from Tucker Tweed. That color is to die for.

HG: Do you have any 2018 riding goal?
Karina: I’m hoping to go for some year-end goals at the meter height, and move up to the 1.10m.

HG: Can you share something no one knows about you?
Karina: I don’t think there is anything to be honest haha – I’m a pretty open person. Anything you want to know, I’ll tell you!

HG: What is your favorite thing about your horses?
Karina: My favorite thing about my mare is how much heart and personality she has. She’s the biggest challenge I’ve ever taken on but in turn, the most rewarding experience. My favorite thing about my gelding is how sweet he is. He is literally a puppy in horse form.

HG: Hardest part about being an equestrian blogger?
Karina: Continually putting out good content. There is a lot of preparation and planning involved!

HG: You introduced to me to The Tried Equestrian. What is your favorite item you have purchased from them?
Karina: Oh man. That’s a tough one, but probably my Tucci boots because I could never afford those new. There are so many things I want to buy every day haha. Luckily Taylor, the owner, is really good about being like, “do you really need it?” She’s great about reminding me not to be wasteful.

HG: What would you say is your signature style?
Karina: Classic, but never boring.

You are definitely never boring, Karina! Thank you for playing!

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The Young and The Restless

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Tracey Bregman has been a mega-star on CBS’s hit daytime show The Young & The Restless for an impressive 35 years. Hard to believe since she looks like she isn’t a day over 30 years old. In my pre-interview research I discovered that Tracey and I had two big things in common: we are twice over re-riders and we fully believe in natural horsemanship. So basically we should be best friends and she should give me all her beauty secrets, specifically the whole looking like a non-aging supermodel secret. Okay, maybe we aren’t there yet, but she was nice enough to humor me and answer some of my questions.

Like most equestrians, Tracey got her start as a little girl and fell in love instantly with the sport. Unlike most little girls, however, Tracey began working in middle school on the set of Days of Our Lives and had to put her equestrian endeavors on hold to focus on her career and school. Fast forward more than a decade later, throw in a Daytime Emmy and two children of her own, and Tracey found herself back in the saddle. This time, she switched riding disciplines and took up dressage. However, when her young trainer was killed in a riding accident, Tracey was understandably shaken and she took a second hiatus from the sport. It wasn’t until 2013 when Tracey pushed the fear aside and allowed horses back into her life. Her son, Austin, had returned home on a break from college and simply said, “I want to learn dressage and I want you to do it with me. It’s time for you to get over what happened.” Soon, with the support and company of her son, Tracey was back doing what she loved.

HG: Like you, I have taken two breaks from riding, totaling over 12 years when combined. I am actually doing a fun online diary of my riding “comeback” this time, mainly to hold myself accountable. Do you have any tips on how to stay positive? 
TB: I wish I had tips. Just take it one day at a time and don’t push yourself.

HG: You have mentioned how your horse, Ovi (short for Standing Ovation) chose you. I totally believe in that, and feel very similar about Chloe, but could you share with me your experience?
TB: My trainer sent me his picture saying she was going to see this horse. Well, he literally took my breath away and of course, I had to go see him too. I remember when we drove up and saw him. My heart skipped a beat. He healed me. Now, if anyone has had a scary experience on a horse, I let them ride him and everyone heals. He is a very special soul.

HG: I love that you are a fan of Buck Brannaman and natural horsemanship.  You can learn so much about yourself, or what mental blocks you have, by how your horse responds to you or behaves.  For instance, Chloe recently reminded me to leave my work problems at work. What is the most important thing Ovi has taught you?
TB: I call Ovi my yoga, my zen. He clears my mind. I will tell you, whatever I am dealing with in my life comes up in my riding. I find it fascinating that somehow our horses can sense what’s going on and helps us move forward and push through.

HG: I am going to assume that you cannot have played Lauren Fenmore on Y&R all these years and have not been influenced by her fashionista ways! Can you share some of your favorite dressage brands for everyday riding or lessons? What is your typical barn attire like?
TB: Everything I wear is from Halter Ego. Love the name! Her Instagram is @shophalterego. I’m in breeches and boots all the time and go everywhere in them so I want them to fit perfectly and look great

HG: Dressage is pretty conservative in the show ring. Is there anything you wear that may skirt the rules a bit? 🙂
TB: Yes. I have been known to wear Chrome Hearts tank tops with my breeches. Ha!

HG: I have read that the hours on set for tv shows are demanding. This, combined with being a mom, must leave you exhausted. How do you balance riding with the rest of your life?
TB: I look at riding as my form of exercise, so I’m at the barn four days a week. Sometimes more, or if I’m traveling or shooting a little less, but I have three horses now and one on the way!

HG: Do you have any riding goals for 2018?
TB: When I have been asked, I have said I wouldn’t compete, but that I would think of doing an exhibition. I have a new horse, Art Nouveau, that may make me do more than I’ve said!

HG: Okay, seriously, can you share any beauty secrets?
TB: You are so sweet. I wear all lead-free, cruelty-free products.

HG: What are the chances we will see Lauren on a horse? I think Ovi wants to make his Y&R screen debut.
TB: Wouldn’t that be fun!

So, in summary, Tracey Bregman and I are best friends and she said her beauty secret is to own 4 horses. 🙂 Thanks so much Tracey for being a good sport. Lauren Fenmore forever! xoxo

Don’t let them tame you

Don’t let them tame you

“Don’t let them tame you” is a simple phrase, but if you ask 10 different people what that phrase means to them, you’ll get 10 varying answers. Each day I have a different reaction myself but perhaps this is what makes those 5 words so enchanting. Sometimes, it stirs in me motivation. Sometimes, determination or grit. Sometimes, it reminds me to be true to myself. Other times I see it as playful, and I fondly think of my headstrong mare, Chloe.  One thing is for sure, when I look down at my AtelierCG bracelet or matching ring I get instantaneous good vibes. And who isn’t all about good vibes?

I love everything about this set. I love the gold with the black. I love that the engraving isn’t flashy, but you know it is there. I love how even though the bracelet is elegant, it feels substantial. I love how the bracelet can easily be stacked with other pieces, but it is strong enough to hold its own solo on your wrist. I love that the ring is classic and is all you need on your fingers. It also fits under riding gloves and can be worn to the barn without issue, which is great when you are heading straight to the barn from your job or school.  Clearly, I was pretty much obsessed with this matching pair from the get go. However, when the owner, Cindy, shared with me her deeply personal story, I ended up loving the pieces even more. Cindy is so inviting that I soon felt comfortable enough to ask her why she came up with the inscription and brand motto, “Don’t let them tame you”. She laughed warmly and told me “to grab a glass of wine”. She wasn’t exaggerating. Seriously, go grab a bottle.

 

Before there was AtelierCG, Cindy and her husband owned a company together, where Cindy did all the design work. Unfortunately, their relationship fell apart and they separated. Unable to continue working with her husband, Cindy walked away from their company and her financial security.  She moved into a new place with her two small children and because she needed help with the rent, took on a roommate.  The rest of her family lives in Europe so Cindy was very much alone, wondering what she was going to do next to make ends meet.  For so long Cindy had felt like she had lost herself and her unhappiness was draining. Now, she had the additional anxiety of supporting herself and children. She knew she had to pick up the pieces and move forward. She made big plans to launch her own equestrian inspired luxury company where she would be the sole owner and her own boss, and have total artistic freedom.  However, the stress and crippling anxiety of her emotional, personal and financial situation triggered related health issues and, on the way to her design factory, she suffered a stroke. Doctors were unsure if the stroke was a result of a pre-existing heart condition or the enormous stress she was under, and they prescribed Cindy an anti-depressant. Suddenly she began to have seizures and she was prescribed more medicine to help prevent those. The seizures subsided but the combination of the two medicines made Cindy literally feel crazy. She was in a mental fog. She became “numb” and felt like “she needed a break”. This feeling of “needing a break” translated into two suicide attempts, with the last one landing her in a forced 72 hour lock down in a psychiatric ward. To hear Cindy describe her experience there is truly a scene from a movie.  She began to write the following notes to herself, repeatedly, “Stay strong, don’t let them tame you. Stay strong, don’t let them tame you”. When she was released from the psych ward, her medications were immediately reviewed.  The particular combination of medications had a history of creating mental health issues and she was taken off the seizure medicine immediately and weened off the anti-depressant. Once off the medicines, she felt normal and began the process to get her life back… and her kids. After the psych ward incident her husband received temporary custody of their children. With this final blow to her world, Cindy felt like she had finally lost everything. Feeling sorry for herself was never an option, she couldn’t afford it and it wouldn’t bring her kids back. Instead, the feeling of utter loss without her kids drove her forward. Cindy channeled all her hurt, anger and fear into her work and she passionately launched AtelierCG in 2016. Today AtelierCG is carried in over 25 retail stores and Cindy shares joint custody of her kids, who remain her greatest source of inspiration.

I asked her what those 5 words mean to her today. She paused and said, “I think I would want the message to be to never give up. Bad times happen to everyone, but bad minutes do not equal a bad life.” Saying there was nothing easy about her journey is an understatement. I cannot begin to imagine what it felt like to be so alone, broke and broken, with two kids you are fighting for and battling major health issues. Cindy inspires me because she never lost sight of what she needed to do. She dug deep, and then even deeper, and she survived. She would not be tamed. xx, HG

Ring/Bracelet set comes in other color options if you do not love gold like I do and they can be purchased separately, but it is much more price efficient to take advantage of the set. SEE HERE.

The gorgeous necklace I am wearing is adjustable, black leather with a gold horse bit pendant. HIGHLY recommend it, as it is easily dressed up or down. Leather and gold…it does not get more equestrian. SEE HERE.

Cindy and her family. PC: SimpleeFocused.
Cindy and her family. PC: SimpleeFocused.

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What’s in your Pony’s Pantry?

What’s in your Pony’s Pantry?

Meet 14 year old, equestrian entrepreneur, Gabbi Sousa. She rides ponies by day, and cooks up organic horse treats by night. Just 3 months ago, she launched Pony Pantry, a natural Horse Treat company based in Matthews, North Carolina. Pony Pantry’s inaugural treats are called OatNuts, which are donut-shaped treats made with yummy goodness, and they come in 3 flavors: Carrot, Apple and Peppermint. For those of you technical people out there that don’t trust my palate, Oatnuts are made of rolled and steel cut oats, molasses, whole grain rye flour and other secret, but healthy, ingredients.

Chloe:  So Gabbi, do you need any professional taste testers? I am pretty busy but I can clear my schedule for a longtime friend.
GS: That would be great! We would love to have a horse with your incredible palate try our treats!

Chloe: Offer accepted! I know you have been making horse treats for yourself and your barn friends for a few years. When did you decide to take your treat making to the next level and start Pony Pantry?
GS: I began making horse treats in the local Young Riders 4-H club as a project. I had always loved making horse treats because Bella, my first pony, loves treats. I always gave her some of my home made treats after a ride, and now I do the same with my current pony, Jackson! I wanted to begin my own business to create my very own treats so that Jackson could have an unlimited supply and so I could share with others!

Chloe: Sounds like music to my ears! What has been the hardest part of starting Pony Pantry?

IMG_4167GS: Learning that making treats and actually selling them requires a lot of approvals, legal things, laboratory analysis and other things that my dad was responsible for!

Chloe: Yeah, you should definitely make your dad do all the boring stuff! Tell me more about the monthly subscription service. Could I just slip you this credit card I found in Andrea’s bag and you add my name to the service?
GS: Absolutely! The Monthly Treats Club allows you to receive two tubes of treats each and every month for 1 year. You can cancel at any time!

Chloe: Is there anything you want readers to know about Pony Pantry? Why should they choose your treats over the other options?
GS: Our treats are a simple, nutritious snack with all natural ingredients.  After speaking with many equine veterinarians, they were concerned about the amount of refined sugars people were feeding to horses and ponies. So because of this, we do notdecorate them with sugar or fondant.

Our biggest seller is our Pony Pantry Trainer Treats. These are peppermint-flavored small treats that can be used as part of training for groundwork and bonding exercises, and simple rewards. Also, and why trainers love them, they are a great replacement for that piece of peppermint candy given ringside. Our feeling is that instead of giving them a lump of straight sugar, you can give them something that tastes good and is healthier for them! Finally, another cool thing is that our tubes can fit easily in your grooming box or in side pocket of your ringside backpack or riding backpack!

Thank you so much Gabbi, and dad, Rick, for hanging out and telling everyone more about Pony Pantry! For more information and to purchase your Pony Pantry treats, visit www.ponypantry.com.

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Chatting with Emily Moffitt

Chatting with Emily Moffitt

At 19, I was going to Dave Matthews Band concerts, thinking I was cool. At 19, Emily Moffitt actually is cool. Emily competes in CSI5* Grand Prix, flying over 5″3′ obstacles, looking fab and representing Great Britain. Her Great Britain teammates include olympic gold medalist (and her trainer), Ben Maher, and Olympic gold medalist, and number 1 ranked rider in the world, Kent Farrington. She currently owns 20 horses, including her first pony (aww), but her main string includes: Galip, Tommy, Maddie, Tipsy, Quinny, Riri, Ziggy, Tink and Love. It makes sense that Emily’s riding goal is pretty straightforward: 2020 Olympics. I mean really, what else is there?

Andrea: If you could run into the barn and give only one of your horses a treat and kiss, which one would it be and why?
Emily: This is a hard question for me because I love all my horses to death. Of course, if one horse is performing better than others I’m a little biased to love them more than the others at that time! My main man has always been Ziggy. He was my first proper horse so he holds a special place in my heart.

Andrea: When trying a potential new horse, what is one thing that is a must-have and what is one thing that is an automatic no?
Emily: When I try horses it’s very important to me that they have a good personality and heart. All of my horses have big personalities and are quite sassy! I always find when a horse has sass and extra personality it has extra fight for you once you have a relationship and connection with them. An absolute no for me would be stopping. I want my horse to try it’s heart out for me. I am “all in”, so I expect my horse to be too. To me, a horse that stops doesn’t love jumping and a horse that loves jumping is a winner.

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Andrea: What is a typical day like for you at Poden Farms?
Emily: I don’t get to be at home very often. I’m at shows almost every week, but even when I am home there’s not really a typical day for me. Every day changes. If all the horses are home then I’ll ride 5 a day. Sometimes the horses are at shows so there aren’t many to ride. I always try to jump them when I get a chance since I’m always away.

Andrea: Many of your interviews talk about how great your relationship is with your trainer, Ben Maher. Any tips for riders when searching for a trainer?
Emily: When my family and I were looking into a new trainer I had an option between a few and my parents asked, “If you could have anyone who would it be?” To this day I couldn’t explain why, but I just had a feeling Ben would be the perfect match. We met with him and talked about how it would work and it’s been great ever since! I don’t think it’s very common to have such a good relationship with your trainer, but I also think it’s why I have done so well since. We really help each other out. If he needs horses, I lend him mine. Then when they come back to me they feel even better than before. I would say the most important thing when looking for a trainer is that your personalities don’t clash. Someone could be the best trainer in the world, but that doesn’t mean they will be the best for you. It’s important to go with your gut feeling.

Andrea: I love when you talk about your experience in 2014 at the Chantilly GCT Grand Prix and how it was the defining moment in your decision to do this big time. You mention that your parents were immediately supportive and the next day your father was taking steps to make your dream a reality. Can you share what that was?
Emily: When I told my dad that I wanted to do this as my career he immediately set out to find out what had to be done to make this happen. My dad and I have very all or nothing personalities. Very soon after I had told him this was my dream we had amazing facilities being built on our property. I think if I left things to my dad I would have about 100 horses. My mom is also very supportive but just in a different way. She isn’t as involved with the horses as my dad is, which is nice to have both sides.

Andrea: You say your riding style is bold and that you love the Jump Off. When you are walking the course, what is your Jump Off strategy?
Emily: When I walk the course I try to think of all the possible problems or changes that could occur. Okay, sure you could come up with an exact plan that you need to execute with your horse, but at the end of the day it’s very unlikely everything will go perfectly. Ben and I will always come up with an original plan but before I go into the ring he makes a point to remind me to just ride and have fun. I think I like jump offs so much because I have to trust myself and my riding ability to figure out whatever happens in the ring. Ben and I are probably some of the most competitive people you will meet. We are a little deadly when one of us is in the jump off!

Andrea: Do you ever gallop up to one of those CSI5* fences and think “holy crap, this is huge?” Do you have any fear?
Emily: I have walked the course and thought this is really big or I have been watching and seen people crash repeatedly and think “this must be hard if people are struggling so much.” Usually this makes me ride better. I always do better under pressure. I never feel scared or nervous. I only really get anxious to win or do well. Once I get on my horse everything goes away and I just do what I can to go clear.

Andrea: If you could tell your horse one thing before you enter the show arena, what would it be?
Emily: I actually do tell my horse one thing every time before I go into the ring. Right before we walk in I always give them a pat and say, “Let’s do this.” My horses and I are a team. It’s important to me that they trust me in and out of the ring, so I always say a little something to them before we jump.

Andrea: What is your riding must-have? Something you think everyone should own?
Emily: I definitely HAVE to have my OnTyte magnetic stirrups and boots with me at all times when I’m showing. I have 5 pairs of boots with OnTyte magnets in them just to make sure I’m never without them. I feel so much safer and secure in the saddle than with regular stirrups. It gives me an extra sense of security knowing I won’t lose my stirrup half way around the arena.

Thank you so much, Emily, for chatting with me! Looking forward to chatting again before you leave for 2020 Tokyo!

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Cookies and Cordelia

Cookies and Cordelia

You may know her as the CEO of Charleigh’s Cookies, but I know her as Cordelia. She started Charleigh’s Cookies in 2012 and single-handedly did all the recipe formulating and baking herself.  Things quickly got serious and she moved her operation to larger and larger commercial kitchens and hired additional bakers. Today, Charleigh’s Cookies ships out over 7,500 lbs of cookies a month and has over 300 subscription accounts.

Cordelia has always inspired me as a businesswoman for pretty obvious reasons. The horse treat industry is crowded and it is hard to distinguish yourself from the competition. But her keen business acumen and thoughtful marketing campaigns helped propel Charleigh’s Cookies to one of the premiere organic and handmade equine treat companies.  Many props to her.

Cordelia has also inspired me as person, specifically a single mother. Her daughter, Charleigh, is adorable and a total hoot. I enjoy hearing the funny things she says, especially about ponies and riding. Cordelia got divorced when Charleigh was just 22 months old, and since then it has just been the mother-daughter duo. I can personally attest that life with a baby is about 10 times more difficult than life solo, and I cannot imagine going through it without a wingman (or wingwoman). From the few stories she has shared with me, I know it was hard. I know at times it seemed pretty impossible. And yet somehow she came out on top… with a grounded daughter, a booming business, an extracurricular life filled with show horses (and pony!), and a mega-watt smile. More props.

When I called Cordelia to chat for this 5 question inspirational interview, she was at spin class. SPIN CLASS! I told you she was superwoman. I would rather give up cheese for a month than go to spin class.

Andrea: What would 2017 Cordelia tell 2010 Cordelia?
C: I would tell myself so much! I would tell myself that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay not to be perfect. You don’t have to have a spotless home to be an amazing mother. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders alone. It’s okay to leave an unhealthy relationship. Trust your gut. Believe in yourself. You will succeed. The list goes on and on, but at the end of the day, the number one thing I would tell myself is to trust my gut. A mother’s intuition is never off.

Andrea: Speaking of a mother’s intuition, what is your advice for single mom entrepreneurs?
C:    It can often be scary not knowing the steps when stepping out on your own and following your passion. For me it was crucial to find a way to blend my passion for horses with the demands of having a young child. My advice is simple. Read “The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business” by Emira Mears. Do the exercises they suggest. Put the answers in a visible place so that you are reminded of your goals and the many reasons you believe in yourself. Always put your child first. Get organized. Write a business plan. Know your budget. Educate yourself on what business classes are offered for free in your local community. Many times the Chamber of Commerce offers free/very affordable classes to new businesses. Take some basic business classes so that you are educated on the basics in accounting and taxes (OR find an accountant you can afford). Educate yourself on your competitors, if any. Once you have a plan and are ready to move forward with branding, interview current and past customers and ask directly what their experience was working with the individual with whom you are considering working with.

Aside from all of the above, spend one hour a day doing something for yourself. A walk in nature, hit the gym, go to a spin class, a manicure/pedicure. Make sure to nourish your soul while building your own business. It can be a lot to take on.

Lastly, hug your child. Read to them. Take them to the park. Nourish that relationship.

Andrea: What book is on your nightstand right now?
C: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.

Andrea: You mentioned to me that you want to take more vacation time for yourself. If you could spend 7 days anywhere, all expenses paid, where would it be?
C: Turks and Caicos.

Andrea: What are your horse related goals for 2018?
C: I want to show out of the state (California) and jump up to 1.10m. I would love to import a young hunter prospect sometime in the future. 🙂

Thanks Cordelia! xx

For more information about Charleigh’s Cookies, click HERE. To purchase Chloe’s favorite cookie, Southern Swag, click HERE.

The East Coast Equestrian

The East Coast Equestrian

Taylor Stevens isn’t trying to live the horsey dream, as the profile on her popular blog The East Coast Equestrian says. She is living the horsey dream. Over 9,000 followers tune in daily to see how the training with her young, gorgeous and gray, Donovan (aka Donny), is going. Together, they compete in the 3 foot Green Hunters and 18-35 Adult Hunters and have their sights set on 3’6″ Amateur Owners for 2018. Fellow riders and warmblood ooglers love witnessing her trials and tribulations and appreciate her candid posts. Taylor never tries to be someone she is not, and she is quick to find the good in any situation. Her positivity is infectious in a sport where sometimes it seems like your “meh” days can overshadow your “yay” days.

I look forward to chatting with Taylor myself down the road, but for now (okay, after Chloe saw a few drool-worthy Donny pictures) Chloe is taking the lead and interviewing Donny. I wonder if Chloe preps for all of her interviews by printing out Instagram pictures and hanging them in her stall? Hmm… 🙂

Chloe: Hi Donny. I couldn’t help but notice that TECE Instagram account is covered in your pictures. Have you thought about getting just compensation for that?
D: Hey Chloe – yeah, Taylor can be super annoying, she takes my photo nonstop. But she does give me tons of treats afterwards, so I guess that counts for something, right?

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Chloe: Yes, treats are LIFE! So, Taylor has mentioned that you were imported from France in 2016.  What is the hardest part about adjusting to American life?
D: Well I was born in the Netherlands, then moved to France as a stud as a 4 year old, and then to the US as a 6 1/2 year old. Trying to keep up with these humans and all of their languages was driving me crazy! I also used to jump really high and really fast. Now Taylor is making me learn how to go straight and keep one pace. It’s kind of boring sometimes, so I like to keep things interesting every now and then if you know what I mean. 😉

Chloe: Followers of TECE can see that you just returned from the Vermont show and will be attending CHJA Finals this weekend. Do you have a pre-show ritual that you enjoy?
D: Good luck bananas, lots of stretching with Taylor and one peppermint before entering the ring. I’ll look for it every time so they better not forget anytime in the near future!

Chloe: Nice! Wait, why don’t I get a pre-entrance peppermint?! Typical!  Is there anything you wish Taylor would work on harder? For example, I wish Andrea would learn to stay out of my way. In fact, she should just start staying home on her lesson days!
D: Sometimes Taylor gets in my way too! All I want to do is GO and she says WOAH – but lately we’re finding a pretty good rhythm. On Tuesdays she takes me out to the fields and lets me chase geese and galloparound so it’s all good I guess.

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Chloe: Eww, but what if you step in geese poop?! Do you have a favorite snack? Mine is potato chips. NOM.
D: I tried those for the first time this past weekend! Super crunchy and salty – what’s not to like? I like bananas and the occasional sour patch kid when some of the juniors around the barn sneak them to me.

Chloe: Do you have any pet peeves or things that frighten you? I used to be afraid of cows.
D: I don’t understand ponies. Taylor tries to make me be nice but they really confuse me so sometimes I’m rude. I’m ‘working on it.’ I also don’t like when other horses come at me, mainly when we’re both cantering. I’ll take them on almost every single time if I feel threatened, because who wouldn’t?! Taylor says I’m being dramatic but I’m just showing them who’s boss.

Chloe: What is one product you think every horse should have in his/her grooming tote, even the dreaded ponies?
D: Well… Taylor is always complaining about keeping me looking good, but I’m just all, ‘you gotta let me roll!’ She’s always carrying around a rag and coat spray to keep me shining. I also tried some hoof polish that made me feel pretty baller. 😉

Chloe: I bet you looked really dapper in that hoof dressing! Umm, do you want a girlfriend?
D: Are you on Tinder?

Thank you, Donny, for chatting with me. I knew we would bond over a love for chips and going fast! I really enjoy the videos/pictures of you bucking and hopping in the air, so please keep those coming!

Follow Donny’s journey HERE.

 

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Dreaming & Scheming with Kristy Lake: the Marketing Ninja of Social Media.

Dreaming & Scheming with Kristy Lake: the Marketing Ninja of Social Media.

Kristy first popped up on my radar when she owned the Canadian store, Dapple Gray, the cutest horse + hound + home boutique in all the world.  Why was I, a mere North Carolinian, following a tack store in Canada so closely? Because Kristy is a marketing ninja and her well-staged pictures and witty posts on Facebook told me to. Her savvy use of social media single-handedly transformed the equestrian retail scene and introduced a lot of us to unfamiliar, smaller brands that are well-known, favorites today.  Phyliss Stein, My Barn Child, Black Knight and SpicedEq to name just a few.

Kristy no longer owns Dapple Gray, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t seeing her social media posting. She owns Hold Your Horses Media, a company that runs social media accounts for 15 top equestrian companies. It is pretty hush-hush who her clients are, but to help put it in perspective, it is no secret that she was the genius behind the Ogilvy half-pad social marketing campaign.  You might recall that Ogilvy’s social media account seemingly came out of nowhere a few years ago and immediately people were rushing to purchase a pad in their favorite color.

In April 2016, she created her own brand of boot socks and launched Dreamers & Schemers Boot Socks. Yep, boot socks. And guess what? Within weeks, everyone wanted them. And by everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Myself included! D&S quickly had a cult following on Instagram, and today, only a year later, they have over 17,000 dedicated, sock-obsessed followers. Through my ownership of Pony Glam, I occasionally get to electronically “bump” into Kristy, and I try to soak it all in and hope that some sort of digital osmosis occurs. Recently, she was gracious enough to take some questions and send me some socks. I took it!

Andrea: Let’s get the important one out-of-the-way. Ninja stars or nunchucks?
KL: Hmmm…Nunchucks. I feel like when you asked it, I had a little bit of an immediate pull towards nunchucks.

Andrea: Why socks? Of all things, how did you sense that we equestrians secretly needed cooler socks?
KL: At Dapple Gray, I had a small mobile trailer that I would take with me to the horse shows. I saw that a lot of my sales were smaller items. It seemed like kids were coming to the mobile trailer with $20-$40 and buying items that were in that price range. My background is in action sports, and because of that I have had a lot of exposure to different brands. I started noticing all of these really fun socks outside of the equestrian industry, like Sock It To Me. In fact, I was the first tack shop that I knew of to carry that line and started selling them by the 100’s out of my trailer.  I sold so many that it almost became a sock-mobile! Perhaps it is because socks are really one of the few places you can express yourself at a horse show, especially in the Hunters. So I guess I just really paid attention to my mobile trailer’s demographic and their purchasing habits. Plus, I just love socks…I am a serial sock shopper!

Andrea: Unicorns and donuts on a sock does sound great in my mind, but I am not necessarily sure I would say that out loud. But you did. And you put it on a sock. And the socks sold out. Again, how did you know that others out there shared your quirky sense of humor?
KL:  I am 100% aware that not everyone is going to like you, no matter what you do. It is better to be authentic and be yourself than try to be something you are not. Life is too short. And you know, you are going to eventually find your tribe, people who will embrace you for who you are. Luckily, with D&S, I had a tone and message that people resonated with. So for the most part, I throw it out there and see what works, because if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t crush me, I just pivot and try something else that does.

Andrea: I know this is like asking someone to pick a favorite child or parent, but which pair of socks is your go-to, your favorite?
KL: Every new pair I make is my absolute favorite pair for a hot minute. And then I make a newer pair, and that one is the best. So I suppose I don’t really have a true favorite. I have some that are not my favorite on the website, and occasionally those turn out to be my big sellers. Sometimes I get surprised by what people like!

Andrea: On a serious note (I can be serious sometimes), what is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
KL: I haven’t exactly had a mentor, yet. I have kinda been flying by the seat of my pants, and as I have been going I have luckily collected a really amazing support network and an amazing group of entrepreneur friends that really question me and highlight the pro/cons of my ideas.

Andrea: Okay back to not being serious (shocker), what are the chances that Chloe can be your future sock inspiration? She’d really like a sock named after her. She (thinks) she deserves it…
KL: Uhh, yes! That can totally happen. Chloe should start putting a mood board together and we can make something happen for her.

Thanks so much Kristy for sharing your time and being a good sport. Until our next electronic bump…or Chloe’s new sock line! 🙂 xoxo

Check out the sock photo shoot BELOW! Pictures shot by SHANNEN SMYTH PHOTOGRAPGHY at Charlottetowne Stable.

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