In October of 2020 while the pandemic was ongoing, I was living in Ocala, FL on the family farm and traveling to shows with my two jumpers, one hunter, wonderful groom/friend, and a micro mini pomsky. I spent my days riding, going to the gym, and working on completing my associates degree online. Reality started to hit once I completed my Business Administration degree mid semester, and I wanted to get serious about my future. What should or would my life look like in the next year started going through my head on loop? I had no idea. I had a strong idea of what I didn’t want my life to look like. Desk job? No. Going back to school? Not it. Going professional as a rider? Nope! I needed freedom to grow and create something that would fulfill me in the horse community. I wanted a fairy tale.
As any horse girl does when life gets a bit too real, I stuck my head in the sand and loaded everything up to go to show. Having only three horses and a puppy, plus super groom Jade Webby gave me a decent amount of time to kill at the show. Brainstorming about my future seemed like a logical use of time. I kept coming back to one train of thought. I had always loved shopping for clothes, that are functional both in and out of the horse world. I didn’t know much at all about clothes other than wearing them and how they should fit. So why not channel my energy towards creating a brand seemed rational. I could combine my two passion, clothes and horses.
I called my friend and fellow equestrian, Chiara Zuccolotto, to chat through the ideas in my head about going into equestrian apparel. Chiara has a fashion degree, her own clothing companies, and experience working in the fashion world of design. She was an angel to talk me through the ins and outs of what to expect during the designing process. She was realistic but encouraging about the time line I should expect. Having to outsource the majority of the development process for my own brand was not going to be a quick venture. She offered an opportunity to collaborate with Zuccolotto Designs, but at the end of the day I wanted something that was fully mine.
As I worked through this crazy idea of mine and what it was going involve, it hit me I didn’t even know how to sketch. Like zero, there are no creative juices in the art physical department over here. The show weekend was spent starting to sketch my vision, very badly, for Chic Equestrian’s first piece. A sun shirt that would feature a side zip across the collar bone but not bother your neck. I wanted to reduce the V-neck tan equestrians get and create something flattering for all women. Thus, the Essential Sun Shirt (ESS) was born. I sounded crazy even to myself at the time. This was an exciting and a new opportunity to move forward towards something that was mine. I also tried designing a logo for Chic Equestrian, it was a laughable attempt that led to me getting a graphic designer. But who cares we all have to start somewhere.
We most definitely are not born knowing how to get where we want to go in life, we have to learn to do every single thing in life. Trying new things and pushing yourself to grow in new directions is scary. If you want change and to move forward, I’ve learned you have to get uncomfortable first. Even though everyone preaches that it doesn't click until you experience it. In the horse world especially, I've found it is
hard to grow when it feels like people are always judging/watching what you do. I put my head down and relied on friends who truly cared about me and showed up with emotional support during this period. It has been a long process and absolutely crazy to think back on when Chic Equestrian was only an idea. Two years feels like a lifetime ago, so much can happen when you're chasing dreams.