Ashley Cline has a pretty sweet gig. Not only is she current on all the latest and greatest in the equestrian/fashion world, she gets to go to the events to. You should check out her instagram page sometime…drool worthy.
Where did you get the idea for equestrianstylist.com?
I have been an avid hunter/jumper rider for my entire life and always loved dressing up for horse shows even as a little girl. I went to school for Fashion Merchandising at Florida State University and went on to work in high-end retailers such as Nordstrom and Lilly Pulitzer. One of my professors in school sat me down before I graduated and said, “Ashley, you’re so talented. I see you starting your own business and using your creativity. Wouldn’t it be great if you were an Equestrian Stylist?” he said to me. I laughed and thought it was silly at the time since I thought my path would be in corporate buying or fashion merchandising. After two years of working in the stores and going to school for my MBA, I was really utilizing social media and learning blogging on the side. I thought, you know I should use my talents in fashion and the equestrian industry to create a lifestyle blog that showcases what I’m passionate about. I love fashion, I love horses so let’s do it! I brainstormed on different ideas of what to call it, and then it hit me: EquestrianStylist.com… My professor in college’s words popped into my head and I decided to build it.
Other sports such as tennis and golf are making an effort to reach out to younger participants and audiences. Is there a similar trend in the equestrian community these days?
Yes, very much so. Intercollegiate riding programs have been growing at lightning speed, which has also led to the growth of high school riding. More scholarships are available and its becoming a much more accessible and affordable sport if you have the drive and talent.
What is your favorite event that you have attended to date? Why?
Oh, tough question! I have so many favorites. I grew up competing at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. It’s a 3-month series of “AA” National rated horse shows. It’s magical. I would have to say I love the Hampton Classic in the summer— The atmosphere is beautiful from the show grounds, horses, and the people. It’s a lovely boutique event, so I’d probably say that is my favorite now.
How has equestrian style evolved over time? Or has it? Any new brands, or established brands getting involved?
Functional equestrian style is one of the most classic and traditional styles today. Very little has changed throughout the years because the industry is very old-school heritage. Black riding boots and black helmets have been the tradition dating way back. Technical fabrics have made a huge impact in competition apparel. Previously wool coats were the norm, but now the stretchy high-tech anti-sweat materials are comfortable and chic for equestrians.
Fashionable equestrian style has become edgy and trendy. You will see lots of fringe, strappy leather, modified riding pants each season to horse bit accessories. Lots of brands have been realizing the equestrian industry is highly lucrative. Since it is the “Year of the Horse”, I think more brands have tapped into the market. It’s an exciting time for both mainstream and equestrian industries to hopefully become more connected over the years.
Polo, racing, or dressage? Which do you prefer?
Personally, I’m a hunter/jumper girl. However, recently I tried polo and I’m hooked! All events are fun to watch, but competing on a team in polo is challenging and fun. It’s more laid back than hunter/jumpers and I get a kick out of it!
What are some of your favorite equestrian brands?
Functional Equestrian: Der Dau for custom riding boots, Butet Saddles, Tailored Sportsman Breeches, Tredstep of Ireland, Dubarry of Ireland, Samshield Helmets. Fashionable Equestrian: Hermes, Ralph Lauren