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Book Review: Portrait of a Rider

Sep 27, 2016 | Category: Literature

I’d been looking for Vicky Moon’s coffee table book, The Private Passion of Jackie Kennedy Onasis: Portrait of a Rider, for quite some time. It was always too expensive, but I was recently able to find one relatively cheap on ebay. (Others are now, finally, similarly priced on Amazon).

Please believe me when I say that this book is not one to miss. Moon, who must have had an insider’s look into Jackie’s life, provides us with everything we could ever want to know about Jackie as an equestrian. She may have been a First Lady, a fashion maven and style icon, but as far as she was concerned, Jackie was first and foremost an equestrian.


Before reading this book, I had assumed that Jackie was a casual rider, hunting with the Middleburg Hunt because she lived local when JFK was president. But that was far from the case. Jackie was practically born riding; her mother was horse-obsessed and started her young daughter by the time she could walk. From lead line age until her death, Jackie took her riding seriously, always wanting to improve, and took lessons from well-known instructors.

Unlike most of us, Jackie’s wealth allowed her great advantages in the horse world. She procured the finest horses. She rode with foreign royalty. She was welcomed immediately within the horsey set no matter where she visited. Like most of us though, Jackie loved being with horses, and that included everything from catching them in the field, grooming, tacking up, and cooling out after a ride. She never hesitated to pitch in and lend a hand. At the barn, she was just another rider. Another horse girl. She blended with the others through their mutual passion, and she loved that.

I was also fascinated by the fact that Jackie, at every stage of her life, somehow worked her horses in – or more accurately, she worked her life around her horses! She was the definition of a true equestrian.

If you’d like to learn more specifically about Jackie Kennedy’s horse life, do not hesitate to grab this one. Not only is it full of interesting info, but it doubles as gorgeous coffee table/equestrian décor as the cover photo and pictures within are magnificent.



Happy Friday – Pony Edition

Sep 23, 2016 | Category: Lifestyle

I hope you all had wonderful weeks and are gearing up for even better weekends! My weekend is, thankfully, going to be pretty low-key. I’m hoping for some time in the saddle, some yard sale-ing, and hanging out with friends/neighbors. Also, housecleaning, as usual! I decorated for fall a few weeks ago, but I think I’m going to get my Halloween décor down from the attic tomorrow.

In the meantime, isn’t this tweet below 100% accurate? But no matter what, we still love ponies!!

Anyway, Happy Friday! Whatever you’re doing – enjoy!



Gluten Free Banana Bread

Sep 20, 2016 | Category: Miscellaneous

Full disclosure – I have not made this bread yet; a friend made it and gave me some to take home. Delicious does not even begin to describe it!! She followed the recipe below but added in a bunch of mini chocolate chips to kick it up a notch. I highly recommend doing that – it was a perfect addition!!

This recipe and picture were both found on the blog, Peanut Butter Runner.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes


– ¾ teaspoon baking soda
– ¾ teaspoon baking powder
– ½ teaspoon kosher salt
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
– ¾ cup almond flour
– ¼ cup coconut flour
– 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
– 2 large eggs
– 2 very ripe medium to large bananas, mashed
– ¼ cup maple syrup
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– mini chocolate chips – amount is at your discretion

– 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan by either greasing the dish or lining with parchment paper.

– In a medium bowl, whisk together baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate chips (if you’d like), and both flours. In a separate small bowl, mix together coconut oil, eggs, bananas, maple syrup, and vanilla until well-combined.

– Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix together – do not over-mix.

– Pour batter in prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until firm in the center and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 15-20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


Living Room Bar Cart

Sep 19, 2016 | Category: Decor

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you know that I’m a yard sale junkie. I had been on the lookout for a bar cart at yard and garage sales for quite some time, but I wasn’t having any luck. You also know that with my horses and my home renovations, it’s Design on a Dime around here, (and I wouldn’t have it any other way)!

That said, I couldn’t locate a used bar cart, so I took to Amazon. Of course, there were all kinds of carts for sale, but I didn’t want to spend too much. I ended up with one of the cheaper ones (less than $70), but I’m SO pleased with it!

It was very easy to put together – I did it by myself in about a half hour – and it looks really cute and traditional! Right now I have it in front of my living room windows and have mixed and matched plenty of bubbly for parties. For how inexpensive it was, it is sturdy, wheels around easily, and holds quite a bit of weight.

If you’re on a budget but in the market for a bar cart, I’d highly recommend this one! There are other similar designs on Amazon as well. Cheers!



History of the Hunt Coat

Sep 16, 2016 | Category: Fashion

*This article originally appeared in Horse & Style Magazine’s March/April issue. I wrote it for their “History of Equestrian Style” series!

While the origin of the very first riding jacket is unknown, we do know that jackets currently worn by English-disciplined equestrians evolved from the coats initially worn by foxhunters. It is widely thought that these jackets were created in England sometime in the early 1700s.

By the early 1800s, traditional riding jackets were made by tailors, (not seamstresses), so the jackets were fit to, and more fashionable, on men. A multitude of sleeve options were seen, including cuffs and flared ends, and pockets could be both functional and false. The fabrics typically used were thick wool or a wool/silk combination. Jackets meant for everyday outdoor use usually came in neutral colors, such as brown, blue, and beige. If the jacket was made specifically for riding, however, it was often a tad more vibrant, like green or red.

And speaking of red, “pink” is a term used to describe the red or scarlet hunt coat. While the origin of this term is still unknown, many say it was named after the tailor who, supposedly, made the first red hunt coat, Mr. Thomas Pinque, (pronounced, “Pink”), of London. He reportedly chose deep red Melton (a wool fabric) for the jacket because if the hunter got blood on it, the stains would not show.

The traditional red coats are worn by huntsmen, masters, former masters, whippers-in, staff members, and those who have been invited by the masters to wear hunt buttons on their coats. Buttons, which are usually brass, are given in recognition of service and helpfulness with assisting the field and running the hunt. Masters may also invite members to wear the colors (the colors being the scarlet coat as opposed to the traditional black coat) even if they are not staff or current or former ranked officials. It is a great honor to be asked to wear hunt buttons and the colors.

Ladies who rode sidesaddle wore wool twill jackets, which consisted of the jacket, apron, and false vest. Depending on the size of the budget, these jackets could be custom-designed and very ornate with numerous buttons, bowties, ruffles, and embroidery. Twill jackets were form-fitting, tucked tightly at the waist, but then flared out comfortably over the hips, making it easier to move while in the saddle.

As the hunt seat discipline is based on the tradition of foxhunting, it would make sense that the hunt jacket evolved from the ones worn by those riding to hounds. The hunter/jumper maintains a classic and conservative dress. The typical habit consisted of a black, navy, hunter green, or grey jacket, a white or light-colored shirt, with beige or tan breeches completing the look.

In recent years, fashion-forward riders have pushed the envelope, so to speak, and now hunter seat riders have a much wider variety of jackets to choose from. Patterned jackets, such as pinstripes, herringbone, and plaids, have appeared in the show ring. Additionally, solid-colored jackets with a different colored shade of piping accent today’s coats, adding a bit of pop to the outline.

Overall fit has improved as well. Centuries ago, jackets were made by men for men, so women wore plain, larger-fitting, boxier coats. Today’s jackets are very flattering, form-fitting, and trimmed with movement and comfort in mind. While polyester seems to be the material of choice, some jackets have a breathable mesh backing that wicks away moisture, making them both durable and waterproof. Some popular brands have even added decorative buttons and embroidered logos, which add sleek style to any ensemble.

Whether you are a more traditional equestrian who prefers sedate, conservative attire, or one who enjoys flashier garments in the show ring, many options abound. Today’s riding jackets grant us the freedom of flexibility and comfort while allowing us to look and feel glamorous.



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