Behind the Scenes with MTM Farm at HITS Ocala

Photos by intern Dominique Gonzalez.

MTM Farm is located in Flower Mound, Texas, but this winter, Mike McCormick and Tracy Fenney rented a permanent barn at HITS Ocala. These barns come with their own sand ring, paddocks, and plenty of space. They will be showing during the 10 consecutive weeks competitively with riders in the hunters and jumpers. We went for a tour, and here’s what we saw!

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City of Ocala Sponsors Inaugural $100,000 City of Ocala Grand Prix Sunday, February 21, 2016 at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida

Press Release

Photo by ESI Photography.

Photo by ESI Photography.

HITS, Inc. is pleased to announce the City of Ocala has confirmed its commitment to the 10-week HITS Ocala Winter Circuit as a sponsor of the $100,000 City of Ocala Grand Prix on Sunday, February 21, 2016 at HITS Post Time Farm in Ocala, Florida. The namesake HITS Ocala event will conclude a week of FEI-ranked competition during the Ocala Winter Festival, which includes the iconic Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup CSIO-4*, presented by Edge Brewing Barcelona, two days prior on Friday, February 19.

“The City of Ocala is an exceptional supporter of HITS. Its dedication to horse sports aligns perfectly with ours – to grow show jumping as a sport for riders, spectators, and host cities alike,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri.  “All eyes will be on Ocala throughout FEI Nations Cup Week at HITS Post Time Farm and it is an honor to share that spotlight with a city we consider our home.”

“The City of Ocala is pleased to once again welcome the guests and participants of HITS,” said City Council President Jim Hilty. “There is no doubt that HITS has provided a significant contribution to our community for many years. We are thrilled to be a sponsor this year, and to be involved in a more integral fashion. It’s an excellent opportunity to promote local businesses and the downtown while reminding visitors and residents in our horse community that the City of Ocala appreciates their efforts.”

The $100,000 City of Ocala Grand Prix will commence at 2pm EST in the Ocala Horse Properties Stadium. The top international riders, including World Cup Champions, Olympic Gold Medalists, and 2016 FEI Nations Cup Winners, will compete in the final FEI class of the week.  A live, free webcast of the event will be available on HITS TV at www.HitsShows.com.

General Admission for Sunday’s event is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at the gate the day of the event. For additional spectator information, please visit www.Hitsshows.com/visit-hits.

The “H” Word

By Intern Olivia Ferro

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Showing and keeping up with schoolwork can be tough for younger riders.

 

Homework: most likely to be voted “Inconveniently Horrible” by many young riders; especially on trips across the country where you could be missing weeks, even months of school. Homework must be squeezed into our busy lifestyle as riders, but it must be taken care of.

Doing schoolwork from far away when your only connection to teachers is by email or even video chat is extremely difficult. Homework must be done even though you would much rather be out riding in the sun. There are many ways to handle being in a situation like being at WEF or Ocala for long periods of time in the winter.

Things as simple as finding the right place to work on it. Finding a quiet, open space is very helpful. Try not to be in a main room where people will be walking by often. Also, if you like a certain space, try to consistently use it; changing spaces could be distracting. I’ve heard my teachers say “find the right space,” and I think they are right; it really can change everything about your studies.

Riding is very hard work too, and you should never forget to focus on that too. Balancing work and riding is very important. Doing homework for a certain amount of time and then going to ride can be very helpful towards less stress. Never dedicate full days to one or the other, that can lead to stress and your work could become messy.

Setting a time to do homework is important too. Doing homework in the morning before riding can be helpful because you are not as tired as you might be after a long day of riding. On the flipside, it may cause you to rush through it, which is why doing some after riding is good too. Choose the way that works best for you and once again, try not to change your schedule too drastically.

Try not to study at the horse show too often. It can be very distracting to be in a public place around so many people and horses. Working at the show can cause you to easily put your books down and watch the grand prix or another class. Also, if you’re at the horse show, there is probably something you should be doing to help your trainers and barn friends. The horse world is much too busy to be attempting to finish your homework.

Taking breaks is just as important as working. Of course you should not have more break time than work time per day, but taking breaks can help clear your mind and relieve stress. Finishing one or two subjects and then taking a short break to go outside or read a book can help you prepare for the next subject. Even though it seems like that would only make things harder, it helps to clear your mind from the subject before.

Working hard during your trips across the country is important to keep grades up and heels down, but never forget to spend some time with friends when you can.

Young Shark Tank Fan Creates Equestrian Business

unnamed (11)By Brenda Mueller
Originally published on Chicago Equestrian 

George Schumacher of Brookfield, Wisc., has been a fan of Shark Tank since he was little, and he is only 15. With his passion for horses, Schumacher was destined to have an equestrian related business.

Schumacher rides his horse, Riverwalk, in the children’s/adult jumpers and has big aspirations of riding in a grand prix someday. His aunt, Deb Blommer, Jackson, Wisc., is responsible for getting him interested in horses back in 2008. She bought an auction item at the Milwaukee County Zoological Society Auction for riding lessons and took Schumacher along.

He continued riding at various stables with his rides including a pony named Kidaka Heart N Soul, a local favorite that jumper rider Denise Wilson, Oconomowoc, Wisc., owned and showed as a young rider. Schumacher rode Kid in his first horse show in 2010, making his debut in the Short Stirrup division. After trying out a few lease horses and some eventing, Schumacher started his partnership with Riverwalk in 2013, then a preliminary eventing horse.

In 2014, Schumacher landed in the show jumping world with immediate success, winning the Wisconsin Hunter Jumper Association circuit Championship in the Children’s Adult Jumpers on the B Circuit. He also won the Split Rail Stables Jumper Derby at the Wisconsin Equine Derby Weekend in West Bend, Wisc. He eagerly spent time during the summer of 2015 as a working student for Mark McKone in Mukwonago, Wisc. Schumacher is hooked on horses for life and rides as much as possible, sharing his time with homework and the business.

unnamed (9)How It Began

It didn’t take Schumacher long to figure out his hobby was pricey and the road he wanted to follow to become a grand prix rider was not going to be cheap. In September 2015, the Marquette University High School student borrowed some money from his parents and began The Good Life Horse Pads, LLC.

Schumacher had done some research on different equestrian related products and after a summer of being a working student, had some ideas for products he could make for his business. He first researched tack trunks and he and his father, an architect, even made a sample to see what it took. After calculating the production numbers with his mom, an accountant, he decided it would not be a profitable enough venture.

He then focused on baby pads and now has made over 300 custom saddle pads. The pads are handmade in their home with all products made in the USA. The trim for the pads is purchased locally from a store in Elm Grove, Wisc.  They use only 100% cotton so the pads wear better over time. The pads can be customized with colored trim, double trim and logos.  Schumacher can also monogram horse sheets, blankets, coolers, show jackets, polo wraps, and standing wraps.

The young business investor used the money he borrowed from his parents to purchase the embroidery machine, also from a local company.  He has already paid his parents back for the loan in full.

Schumacher’s parents help him with the business and help him with the accounting, the website and business decisions. Perhaps someday he’ll get business advice from his favorite Shark, Mr. Wonderful, aka Kevin O’Leary.

Why The Good Life?

“We actually went through a couple other names first like Schumacher Pads. When thinking about a name, I also was thinking about equestrians in general. With all the trainers and riders I have met so far, I have never met a person that is annoyed or sad while at the barn or riding a horse. So I wanted to come up with a name that represented riders while they were riding, at the barn or at a show. I then decided to call it The Good Life Horse Pads,” explained Schumacher.

unnamed (10)Dream Big 

“My goal as a company owner is to build the brand so that more people know The Good Life and what our story is,” said Schumacher.  “I plan on becoming a vendor at a few horse shows this summer where I will bring the embroidery machine to the show and embroider pads for people at the show. I believe this will be a big money maker since I can embroider the pads for them right there at the show instead of them having to wait a couple weeks to receive them. I also want to sell a lot of pads to show stables and be able to go to a show and see the “The Good Life” tag on everyone’s pads.”

The young entrepreneur is accomplishing his dreams one step at a time. His riding dream is to ride in a Nations Cup or international grand prix and to work for Olympian Beezie Madden.

For more information or to purchase your Good Life Horse Pad, visit their website at www.tglhp.com.  Follow them on Instagram @tglhp or Facebook.

Upperville Horse Show Receives FEI Four-Star Designation

Edited Press Release

UPPERVILLE, Va., Feb. 12, 2016—The Fédération Equestre Internationale has recognized the Upperville Colt & Horse Show (also known as the Upperville Horse Show) as a high-quality international show by awarding a Concours de Saut International (CSI) four-star designation to three of the show’s classes. The week culminates on Sunday, June 12 with the $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI****.

Concours de Saut International, or CSI, is a ranking system for equestrian show jumping. All CSI events are approved by the FEI.  The CSI is broken down into a starring system, where more competitive events with more prize money have a higher number of stars. Starring goes from one to five.

Upperville Horse Show’s $35,000 Speed Class; $40,000 Welcome Stakes presented by Jim Thompson of Washington Fine Properties, Middleburg, Va. and Wiseman & Associates Wealth Management; and the $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic, have all been designated CSI**** for 2016.

“We are delighted to receive this international recognition for a horse show that has grown considerably over the past six years and has quickly become a world-class show,” stated Mike Smith, chairman of the Upperville Horse Show board of directors.  Organizers have spent millions of dollars over the past few years building new rings with high-quality footing, regrading and renovating older rings and improving all of the on-site amenities including the addition of a beautiful ringside club for spectators. “This show has come a long way since it began in 1853,” Smith added.  What began as a one-day show has grown into a week-long tradition with more than 1,500 horse and rider combinations.

The 163rd annual Upperville Colt & Horse Show takes place June 6-12, 2016 under the oak trees where it all began in Upperville, Va., approximately 50 miles west of Washington, D.C.  The venue is spectacular with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Virginia’s signature stone walls and meadows.

For more information, call 540-687-5740 or 540-592-3858. For complete schedules and entry information, visit the web site at  www.upperville.com.

The Upperville Colt and Horse Show is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and raises funds for the Churches of Upperville Outreach and the Upperville Volunteer Fire Department, among other area charities.

 

 

 

A Bright Future for the Colorado Horse Park

IMG_3491Story and photos by intern Mackenzie Shuman

As hundreds of spectators and competitors filed in and out of The Colorado Horse Park this summer, many looked around and noticed that the facility, founded in 1992 by Helen Krieble, was starting to show its age. Most of the facility has not changed much since Krieble’s original renovations to the place over 20 years ago. So when new ownership took over The Colorado Horse Park in 2014, the community was hopeful for changes to be made.

New owner Mark Bellissimo, with his partners and the rest of the CHP faculty, have been working hard to make The Colorado Horse Park the best it can be.

Equestrian Sport Productions’ President Michael Stone revealed that initially, the major things they will be focusing on are the footing and drainage of the arenas. While new footing was set a few years ago, it never met the expectations of the competitors, and the lack of drainage from the arenas caused many problems throughout the exceptionally wet summer show season.

“We are currently working on the rings. There will be some changes but nothing major to the layout. It will mainly be to improve the drainage and footing,” he said, adding that physical work should begin around April 1, 2016.

This news about the footing and drainage may come as a relief to the many competitors who show at the six-week long Summer in the Rockies show circuit along with the many other local shows, dressage, and eventing circuits that also take place at The Colorado Horse Park. However, not only the competitors will be impacted by the upcoming renovations. Plans are in place to help accommodate the spectators’ needs.

“Public WiFi on the grounds, new grandstands and more are planned to be put in place for the upcoming show season,” informed Stone.

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Arden McReynolds rides Finnegan in the junior hunters during the Summer in the Rockies circuit at the Colorado Horse Park.

By improving the layout, spectators will be granted easier access to the exciting events such as grand prix classes and hunter derbies that take place at The Colorado Horse Park. These improvements are projected to bring in even more community support and also widen the interest in the park and the events held there.

Although this winter is projected to be one of the worst winters for Colorado in a while, Stone says that the renovations will be done in good time for the next show season to start. The upgrades, costing several million dollars, will not only advance the park, but make it even better than before. The Colorado Horse Park has always been a beautiful facility, yet the improvements that are planned will help provide the West Coast with an even more top of the line equestrian center that is open to all.

 

 

The New Guard: Paige Cade Takes a Stride in the Horse Industry

Paige Cade and Aphrodites R showing in the 1.30-meter jumpers at HITS Ocala. Photo by Robert Cade.

Paige Cade and Fuerst Aphrodites R showing in the 1.30-meter jumpers at HITS Ocala. Photo by Robert Cade.

By Intern Mackenzie Shulman

As soon as I got on the phone with Paige Cade, who was on the opposite end of the country from me at her Country Fox Farm in northern Virginia, I knew she was someone special. I found her to be passionate, honest and hilarious.

Cade, who grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., has been riding her whole life. As a kid, she trained with Chris Wynne and Joanie Marsh. She attended Hollins University (Va.) and rode on their equestrian team under Sandy Gerald.

She didn’t necessarily plan on becoming a professional, and she tried to do other things outside of the horse world when she graduated from college.

“For whatever reason, the door closed for those other opportunities, and kept opening for the horses,” Cade recalled.

The same day she received her final rejection notice from veterinary school, she got a call from a barn in Middleburg, Va., wanting her as a riding assistant. No matter where she turned, opportunities were everywhere.

So Cade took these opportunities and made the best of them. Just last April she began to work on her own; training clients’ horses as well as buying and selling horses for a profit. The number of horses she has at her farm is ever changing, as new horses are always coming in, and others are sold or leased out. However, her success has certainly not come without hard work.

“People often ask me, ‘oh when are you going to get a real job?’ and I always say that though it involves knee deep snow and trying to find where to put manure, I would not want anything different on my Monday morning,” she said, emphasizing the difficult nature of owning a farm.

Cade, 29, has done all she can to make the best out of everything that comes her way.

“You hit a feeling at a certain point, where you want to move up the levels, but you can’t afford the horses that are going and doing it all, and that’s the frustration that you feel sometimes,” she said.

She told a story about a horse who just told her ‘no,’ and the difficulties of having to realize that the horse didn’t want to be a show jumper. However, while this was a low, she found a way to bounce back. She ended up selling this horse and finding him a good home, and was able to connect with the buying family. There, a friendship was born.

“I really like my horses, and I really make an effort to keep up with what they’re doing,” she said. “I send the new owners regular messages to ask how they are doing and how the horse is.”

This personal and connected relationship Cade creates with buyers and leasers makes her unique within the horse industry.

While Cade works a lot outside of the show ring, she also competes her horses all over the AA circuits. She trains often with Joe Fargis, and recently, Cade leased a horse named Fuerst Aphrodites R from Gail Dady to get more ring time in the 1.30-meter jumpers. She made the decision to take “Fiona” down to Ocala for a few weeks, where she gained experience—and had fun.

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Paige Cade and Fuerst Aphrodites R showing in the 1.30-meter jumpers at HITS Ocala. Photo by Robert Cade.

This was a milestone in Cade’s career, as in the past, it seemed that one thing or another would always impede her show jumping aspirations. However, Cade has always stayed positive, and, as a result, her dreams are coming true.

“This was a huge jump for me, and I am still riding on air from that,” she said. “It was a huge high point for me out of all the lows…this is my job, and I love it, and I wouldn’t change it any day.”

This is the first in a series called “The New Guard,” in which The Plaid Horse profiles young and upcoming trainers around the country who are making strides in their professional career. Do you know someone whose story falls along these lines? Let us know! Email theplaidhorsemb@gmail.com or contact us on Facebook.

New National Hunt Seat Medal Finals Introduces Bracket Format

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Press Release

National Collegiate Equestrian Association’s NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal Approved by United States Equestrian Federation

Today, the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA) announced the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) approval to form a new national 3’3″ equitation class: the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal. Open to all USEF and Equine Canada licensed competitors, NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal finalists will earn national visibility and increase their exposure for collegiate equestrian scholarships. Riders will also experience, for the first time, the bracket style competition.

“This new medal class provides junior competitors an opportunity to distinguish themselves among their peers by competing in a format similar to what they would find at the college level,” said Dr. Leah Fiorentino, executive director of the NCEA. “The head-to-head bracket format enables many top junior equestrians, both Hunt Seat and Western, the ability to continue to compete at their pre-college levels and promotes excellence not just in the ring, but in the classroom as well. This medal class is a celebration of the athleticism seen in young equestrian competitors across the nation, and introduces them to a new format at the finals where they compete against another rider on the same horse.”

Initiated by the NCEA’s National Advisory Board (NAB), the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat classes will begin at participating horse shows as early as spring 2016. HITS will host two finals for the medal class, the first on the East Coast at HITS Culpeper, September 28 to October 2, 2016, and the second on the West Coast at HITS Thermal, Sunshine II, November 9 to 13, 2016. Class specifications include:

  • A minimum of eight fences, 3’3″ in height
  • A Jumper or Hunter type course
  • An Open Numerical Scoring System
  • Flat work off with lateral movements
  • Finals to include a Bracket Phase so that riders compete head to head against the other finalists on the same horse

“These new medal finals will fill a niche at the 3’3″ height. The fact that junior riders will be in a position to showcase their talents on a larger scale creates an extraordinary opportunity,” said Thomas G. Struzzieri, president and CEO of HITS, Inc. “2016 will feature finals on both coasts in what will be the first year of a quickly popular medal class.”

In this inaugural season of the NCEA Medal class, the top 50 point earners on the East and West Coasts respectively, will be invited to compete at the finals. Points earned in all classes held at shows starting in early 2016 through August 31 will be eligible for the 2016 finals.

“We are proud to support this new and challenging 3’3″ medal class for riders 18 years of age and under,” said Lori Nelson, senior director of National Affiliate, Competition and Alliance Partner Relationships for the United States Equestrian Federation. “Collegiate equestrian creates a bigger pool of talent at all levels in the equine world and assures the nation that we can continue to be competitive in international showjumping competitions and world equestrian games.”

The NCEA is working with the AQHA and other governing bodies in the Western Horsemanship and Reining industries to establish a similar bracket format competition for youth riders in those disciplines interested in a collegiate equestrian career.

“I am very excited to be part of the inception of the NCEA 3’3″ medal class for which I believe is greatly needed in our sport,” said Carolyn Vincent, secretary of the NCEA Medal class.

The NAB has initiated the NCEA Junior Hunt Seat Medal to continue to build support for independently sustainable collegiate equestrian programs and provide opportunities for junior riders to increase recognition for their athletic achievements. The NCEA’s NAB is committed to elevating and advancing equestrian to the most sustainable and strongest of all NCAA women’s sports. The NCAA currently recognizes 24 colleges and universities with equestrian programs and is working with more than a dozen more to expand the program to additional academic institutions.

For more information about the NCEA or the Junior Hunt Seat Medal, please visit http://www.collegiateequestrian.com.

Ryegate Show Services, Inc. is pleased to be administering the new NCEA Junior Hunter Seat Medal.  Follow www.ryegate.com for information on upcoming shows, standings and online membership form.  Questions on the NCEA Junior Hunter Seat Medal should be directed to annettel@ryegate.com.

About the National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA)
The National Collegiate Equestrian Association (NCEA), a non-profit corporation, was created as a governing body to advance the sport of Equestrian for women at the collegiate level. In 1998, Equestrian was identified and adopted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Committee of Women’s Athletics (CWA) as an emerging sport for women at the Division I and II levels. The NCEA, in concert with the mission and vision of the NCAA, is committed to providing collegiate opportunities for female equestrian student-athletes to compete at the highest level, while embracing equity, diversity and promoting academic and competitive excellence.

West Coast Rider Wins High Point at East Coast College Preparatory Invitational

IMG_3199 (1)By Mackenzie Shuman / Photos of Jaden Olson taken at Summer in the Rockies

Jaden Olson stepped into the arena at the world-class Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 15-17 during the College Preparatory Invitational on an unknown horse with nothing on her mind except her job ahead. A seasoned rider, Olson has ridden many summers on the A/AA show circuit as well as had IEA experience. Her goal going to CPI was to gain knowledge of what it is like to ride in college. As a bonus, riders at CPI get exposure from prestigious college reps looking for the next generation of talented college athletes.

To prepare for this unique experience, Olson took lessons with trainer Michael Dennehy. “In my lessons, some of the things we worked on were creating an effective equitation position, proper riding motions, and how to tactfully ask the horse for certain commands,” she said.

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These lessons helped Olson build a foundation so that she felt comfortable catch riding for others, and they also made her able to carry her solid equitation on every horse she rode, an important quality to have at CPI since she would be riding an unknown horse.

During the competition, Olson was assigned a horse named Eddie for the flat. Provided by Wall Street Farm of Wellington, Olson could tell he was definitely an experienced horse.

“On the flat we were asked for many extension and collection exercises and to drop our stirrups, and Eddie handled all of these tests very well,” she said, speaking very highly of the horse.

Her other horse for the over fences portion was also a good ride. El Chorro, also provided by Wall Street Farm, needed a confident rider, and that’s exactly how Olson rode him. She chose the more forward ride through the bending line, kept him calm during the halt, and also got him over the trot fence with no difficulties.

IMG_3000 (2)“I was very happy with my horses, and how we were able to work together to achieve success,” she said, noting that there was efficient management, a kind staff, and an excellent location. Olson said that she made the choice to attend the Florida location of CPI over the California option—to take place March 11-13—because Florida had more colleges featured during the college fair.

After returning home from this event with a first place ribbon in the advanced flat and a second in the advanced over fences, Olson said she will look forward to the chance to ride at the 2017 version of CPI.

“Overall, I found this event to be very valuable because I was able to learn a lot about the collegiate riding options and also get a feel of what it would be like to participate in college riding,” she summed up.

Vendor Viewpoint: EQU Lifestyle Boutique

Monica Ward, originally from Calgary, Alberta (Canada), is the owner and operator of Equ Lifestyle Boutique, a retail tack store focusing on high-end brands. Her customers include hunter, jumper and dressage riders. Her company is 6 years old, but she’s spent 14 years in the tack business.

DSC_0805Monica Ward

 

We caught up with her at HITS Thermal to learn more about her business.

TPH: What horse shows year round can you be found?

MW: All of HITS Thermal, all of Blenheim, all of the Del Mar shows, all of the West Palm shows, some specialty shows, Menlo, Flintridge, Sunshine Series, fall Del Mar shows, Mexico—I have four Mexican business partners, all riders, and they all run horse shows down there as well. When I am finished with my shows for the year, I set up at Albert Court in Rancho Santa Fe where dressage stars Guenter Seidel and Christine Traurig are based.

TPH: What are some of the brands you carry?

MW: Cavalleria Toscana, Alessandro Albanese by Horseware, Parlanti, Kingsland, Pikeur, GPA, Grand Prix, Ogilvy, Olikai, Maui Jim, Samshield, Charles Owen, Fleeceworks, EquiFit, and more.

TPH: If you had to pick a few items from the brands you’re currently carrying, what are your favorites?

MW: Cavalleria Toscana Technical Bib shirt, in short sleeves and long; the Struck Apparel breeches I just got them. I love the waistband and the fabric. I’ve worn them a lot and I haven’t seen any color fades. And Parlanti boots. I wear the Ocalas and love them. GPA made me a helmet, and I am the only one right now in North America to have it.

Cavalleria Toscana shirts

Cavalleria Toscana shirts

TPH: Are you a rider?

MW: I rode for many years. I got to work for John French; I got to work for Dale Harvey. I had my own farm and my own business, and at the end of my showing career, I was a professional amateur and I did the grand prix classes and high junior/amateur-owner classes.

TPH: How do you pick the items that you sell in Equ Lifestyle Boutique? What is important when choosing?

MW: The quality of the product. The price never scares me if it’s exceptional. I love putting together stories; even if I’m doing it with different brands, I like stories to come together as one. I want them all to mix and match.

TPH: How did you get started in the business?

MW: My family ran into some hard times, and I fell into it honestly. It’s not what I went to school for. But it’s turned out to be great. I’m really passionate about it and I love to do it.

TPH: What is unique about your tack shop?

MW: I really focus on customer service. When you come into my store, I want you to have an experience. I want it to be fun. Because I think that we invest so much in this sport that I need to have invested my time and effort into knowing what I’m doing for you, and to be great at it. Also, although I sell a lot of very high-end items, I’m not exclusively high end. I do have some quality, less expensive items as well. Laura Rompfh, for example. I do a lot of work with her, and I think she’s a wonderful designer. I don’t ever want anyone to feel like they can’t come in and buy something.

Kristin Thornton modeling an outfit styled by Monica Ward of EQU Lifestyle Boutique.

Kristin Thornton modeling an outfit styled by Monica Ward of EQU Lifestyle Boutique. Photo: Bethany Unwin Photography.

TPH: What is the most fun part about your job?

MW: The people. My customers are the best customers in the whole entire world.

TPH: Where do you see the fashion trends going in the future?

MW: It’s all about the material. I really focus on keeping the tradition of the sport while allowing the innovation of the material to come into it. You don’t see a lot of color when you come into my store, so that’s where the tradition sticks, but I think that I do need to be fashion forward. We are athletes and so are our horses, so we need to be sure to constantly learn the newest trends and products out there.

Want to know more about Equ Lifestyle Boutique? Check out their website, or follow them on social media—Equ Lifestyle Boutique on Facebook, @equlifestyleboutique on Instagram.