I would currently consider myself an independent contractor, working various jobs at horse shows across the country (primarily on the East Coast), but as far West as Des Moines, Iowa. I used to work full time for HITS, Inc. and that is where my skill set developed, in working all the different areas of Horse Show Production. I do everything from Announce, to In-Gate, Awards, and Show Secretary, but it is my time away from working that I enjoy the most, because I am “working” (most days even harder than I would at my paid job) hand in hand with my partner David Jennings, and his business Full Circle Farm. I am fortunate to be involved in the hands on side of the industry as well, which is what I truly enjoy, because I am fulfilling my passion and getting to do so on a daily basis with my best friend! I contribute in all aspects of his show barn, with everything from grooming, managing the barn and horses, shipping and hauling campers from one show to the next, paperwork, billing, and best of all riding!! I currently have a young six year old mare of my own, which I purchased as a three year old. She has been my project and I primarily show in the jumpers with her, and sometimes I get the opportunity to show other horses that come into the barn.
On a daily basis, one item that I can’t go without when Im riding are my Maui Jim Sunglasses, specifically their “Sugar Beach, Polarized Rimless Sunglasses”. I have blue eyes that are very sensitive to the sun, and being outside all day in the elements irritates them, to the point where it is painful. A lot of the shows and facilities we attend also have that bright, very light colored sand footing, and the Sun just reflects off of that when I'm riding or setting jumps, making it difficult for my eyes. These particular Maui Jim sunglasses are so light weight, I can’t even feel them on my face, and the straight sides on them make it so easy to wear with a hairnet, because they just slide right into the net’s holes and they never move on my face. I don’t always wear them when I go into the show ring, and am jumping, but if it is not raining outside, you will always see me in my sunglasses.
My favorite Breeches are made by a Canadian company called Struck Apparel. I wear these on a daily basis as well; colored when I am not showing, and Beige on the days I go in the show ring. They have some great color combinations, with little pops of color to contrast the solid color of the Breech themselves. It makes it so much fun to color-coordinate my tops and belts, and even my boots (as I have black and brown tall boots). I always like to be stylish and functional, and well put together, and these breeches add to the overall look! The best part is that even though they are extremely functional, with a knee grip on the inside, the material they use is very comfortable to wear all day long. Its thin, breathable, and durable, so it feels like you’re in stretchy leggings! Not to mention, David is sponsored by this company, so I am partial, but I would promote this brand any day of the week!
When talking about riding Breeches, many of the brands these days, including Struck, have wide belt loops, which I love, and I have a favorite belt that goes with almost anything I’m wearing. I try to stay away from the equestrian trends, and brands when it comes to these types of accessories, because it is a way for me to have my own style and create my own look, with fashionable pieces that I normally find at a TJ Maxx or Banana Republic (My two favorite stores to shop in)! I am a bargain shopper by nature, so whenever I find an item at a great price, I get it because you never know when it may go great with a riding outfit. I found a Linea Pelle, very wide, brown leather belt at a TJ Maxx about five years ago, and it has been my favorite belt ever since. It happens to have a small gold snaffle bit on it as decoration, and its made from great quality leather. It was on sale for under $50 and I don’t think I would ever be able to replace it! I also found it in Black at another TJ Maxx in an entirely different state!
A piece of equipment that I use on my horse on a daily basis, both in and out of the show ring, is a “Zandona, Chafe Guard”, in which its main function is to prevent spur marks on the horse. My horse has very fine hair, and can easily get irritated skin with any type of friction. Because she is still green, she can also be a bit of a ‘leg-ride’ and is prone to getting rubs where my boot heels or spurs are on her. Zandona released this item, and the quality is great. The material is much thicker than any other brands I’ve used in the past, so I know it will last a long time, and I love having the piece of mind knowing that I won’t irritate my horse’s skin when I am riding her with this piece of equipment.
An item that I always have with me in the show ring, is my Angel Whip. I rarely have to use it in the show ring, but I am prepared when I walk in the ring, because it is an outside aid that I have with me, just incase I need it. What I love most about it, is that I custom designed it, and again it is a way for me to differentiate my style. Many riders, including David have superstitions about their ‘lucky whip’ in the show ring, and won’t use anything other than that! I am a little bit the same way, just because this whip is a reflection of me, it’s functional, and I have my name and initials stamped on the end of it!