Hey friend! Thanks so much for visiting my blog, My Equestrian Style! Ever since I was 4 years old, my mom would find me sitting in the middle of my closet with about 7 layers of outfits on. I think that was when I knew I loved fashion and creativity.. and I really knew how to take "the layered look" to a whole other level!
When I was 5, I started riding horses because my oldest sister had been riding since she was little. It was the cool thing to do! Well much to my parent's dismay :), I fell in love with the sport and wanted to be at the barn all day, everyday. Monday's were the worst day of the week because the barn was closed. This passion for riding only grew through grade school and high school. I went to as many shows as I could and had wonderful opportunities leasing some amazing horses.
I went out of state to Ohio to attend a small private university that did not have a riding program and not really any barns in the vicinity. I decided it was time to take a little break to focus on college. (My parents were like, "Maybe she is actually done!") While in college, I was involved in some fashion/styling related jobs and leadership roles that made me really fall in love with fashion. I spent my final college summer in Los Angeles as an intern for Jennifer Meyer Jewelry, which was an absolute dream! Jen is so cool and is making stuff happen, and I knew I would love to be apart of it. So three weeks after graduation, I got married and my husband Ethan and I moved out to LA to work for Jen full time. We were really loving newlywed California living- tiny apartment, trying to afford rent, getting stuck in traffic on a daily basis... haha! But really, even though Ethan wasn't too keen on this new lifestyle, he stuck it out for me to pursue my fashion goals. Well it turns out that job just wasn't for me- I felt like I wasn't able to be fully creative and really wanted to go out and do something on my own. Ethan and I had already been running our own wedding photography business, Two Lee Photography, but I needed to find something that would truly make me happy again.
So naturally, I went back to my roots and thought I would give riding another try! I reached out to dozens of private farms in Malibu to see if anyone needed a rider. Nothing. I called more farms to see if they needed a barn manager or office staff. Heck, I would clean stalls at this point! Several weeks later- and several weeks poorer, mind you- I heard back from a trainer from one of those private barns in Malibu. She called to say she didn't need anyone right now, but she would keep my information in case she did later on. "Okay," I thought, "Thanks for the pity call!" But then she added, "I do have a friend of a friend who always needs riders. I will go ahead and pass your number along to him." So we left it at that and I never spoke to her again. I actually do not even remember her name! But a couple weeks after that call, I heard from Nick Karazissis: owner, trainer, and clinician of Far West Farms in Calabasas, CA. I had no idea who he was, but after I was hired on as a full time rider and trainer, I found out he was one of the best trainers in the entire West Coast.
I had such an unbelievable experience at Far West. I rode nearly 10 horses daily, and with each horse, Nick gave me the tools to ride that horse effectively. I can still hear his commentary in my ear sometimes when I ride, partly because we always wore ear pieces when we rode and Nick would speak into them all day long! I learned what it meant to ride with purpose and teach with true knowledge. I had the opportunity to be one of the trainers in the farm's growing Riding School program and Summer Camp and had about 25 clients I worked with on a consistent basis. Even though I was sometimes working 60-hour weeks, I was soaking it all in and excited to get to work every morning!
But alas, all good things come to an end. (This is totally not a pity party, we left for a great reason!) While we were living in LA, Ethan was growing more and more passionate about real estate investing and is the kind of crazy person who can read books and articles and completely know how things work. I envy you people! Anyway, he started buying rental properties on the East Coast because that is where we could afford them. For those of you who aren't familiar with the living situation in Los Angeles, you can't really buy anything for less than $350,000- and that would be for a dump of a house! Once Ethan had accumulated several rental properties, he started learning more and more about flipping houses. He so desperately wanted to start flipping, but it was impossible to get anything going in California. Ethan had the opportunity to move to Northern Florida to do just that, and so we headed East!
We loved our couple years as West Coasters and were sad to leave, but very soon after entering Florida, we really did fall in love. Houses were cheap, everything was cheap, and horses were everywhere you looked. It was a dream come true for both of us! Now we both get to live our dreams everyday! Ethan is currently finishing up our first flip that will go on the market this year, and I get to ride horses with a wonderful trainer in St. Augustine.
As much as I was overjoyed to ride as many ponies as I could fit into a day, I knew that I still needed a creative outlet. With our love for photography and my passion for riding and fashion, I started dreaming up My Equestrian Style. Ethan has been a huge part of MES, taking lots of pretty pictures as the head photographer of the blog! (Instagram Husbands share a special place in my heart!)
I want to create a space that other riders could go to gain inspiration of realistic yet fashion forward outfits for on and off the horse. Equestrian fashion is the epitome of class, but I also like to tie in touches of girly, chic or edgy. When you think of riding attire, it doesn't have to all be breeches, belts and a polo. I love to mix it up, but I promise all of my outfits that are published as "Riding Attire" will be just that... nothing unrealistic that gets in the way of riding. But style is more than just clothes: it is design, travel, health, and so much more. This is why you will also see blog posts about interior design or pony stationary or equestrian inspired fitness! So stay awhile and be apart of the journey! This doesn't just have to be MY Equestrian Style!