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History of the Riding Helmet

Aug 23, 2016 | Category: Fashion

*This article originally appeared in Horse & Style Magazine earlier this year as part of their “History of Equestrian Style” series!*

“Every Ride, Every Time.” That’s the motto most of us equestrians live by when it comes to our helmets. Keeping our noggins safe is our number one priority, but that wasn’t always the case. When riding headwear was first introduced two centuries ago, it served one main purpose – fashion.

A variety of hats emerged in the 1800s: the top hat and the bowler hat. Foxhunters were fond of wearing these out in the field because they exuded style and class. The top hat, also known as the high hat, silk hat, or chimney pot or stove pipe hat, was invented in 1797. Sometimes called the “topper,” this hat is tall with a flat crown and broad brim. While foxhunters no longer ride to hounds displaying such finery, the top hat is still worn by advanced level dressage riders.


The bowler hat, also known as the bob hat, billycock, and most notably, the derby hat, was invented in 1849. With a hard felt shell and a rounded crown, the bowler hat was originally created for the British soldier and politician, Edward Coke. Shortly after the end of the Victorian Era, it became popular in the United Kingdom with middle and upper class equestrians because it looked tasteful and would not blow off easily while riding.

In 1911, Charles Owen began manufacturing cork helmets in London for the military. By 1928, the cork helmet was being covered with a hard exterior and became the first motorcycle helmet. Ten years later, Owen developed its first racing helmet, and the equestrian world was changed forever.

However, these initial helmets lacked the safety features that we have today. These caps were typically just hard plastic shells covered in fabric, and they did not have chin straps for security. They were, however, still fashionable. Sleek and refined, these caps were covered in black (and sometimes brown) velvet or velveteen and were the final piece of an equestrian’s stately riding habit.

Not just fashionable pieces, helmets are used as communication tools too. Have you ever wondered about the significance of the ribbon on the back of your helmet? These ribbons were strategically placed pointing up or down in order to communicate with riders while out foxhunting. The Masters and other professional staff signify their positions by turning their ribbons to point down. Amateur staff and other members of the field should have their ribbons pointing up. While out in the hustle and bustle of the field, a quick glance at the back of a hunt cap will let you know the ranking of the foxhunters riding alongside.

By the latter half of the twentieth century, those who partook in the more dangerous riding disciplines, such as show jumping and racing, began to require headgear that also served a protective function. In 1986, the United States Pony Club asked the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) to develop a helmet for equestrians. The first ASTM/SEI certified helmet was developed in 1990.

Today, while helmets are mainly worn for safety, we equestrians also want to make a statement in the show ring. While the traditional black velvet or velveteen helmet is still prevalent, the “skunk helmet,” a recent creation, is gaining in popularity in the hunter/jumper world. These helmets have a smooth finish, a slightly textured plastic shell, and an attractive ventilation strip down the center, giving it the nickname, “skunk helmet.” Less conservative by design, these helmets make a statement, allowing riders to display some individuality in the show ring for the first time ever. Some even adhere bright, colorful monogrammed stickers to the back.

It’s a great time to be an equestrian. Our current helmets are safe and fashion forward. We have the luxury of showcasing our distinct personalities, adding some pizazz in the show ring, all while knowing that our heads are sitting pretty, safe and sound.


Monkton Farm For Sale

Aug 19, 2016 | Category: Lifestyle

Hello and Happy Friday! As you all know, I’m obsessed with looking at horse farms for sale, and I can’t stop drooling over this one that’s located about 15 minutes up the street in Monkton. It’s a favorite within the local horse community because of those barns!! And the grass is always perfectly cut.

This home is relatively new, and I normally go for 100 year old homes with lots of charm and character. But one look at this place and it’s easy to see that everything about this property is magnificent. Can’t you just imagine walking down the drive towards that barn!?

The only not so magnificent thing is the price – $1,750,000 – yikes! But, clearly, it’s worth it.

Hess Farm 1
Hess Farm 2
Hess Farm 3
Hess Farm 4
Hess Farm 5
Hess Farm 6
Hess Farm 7
Hess Farm 8
Hess Farm 9
Hess Farm 10


Pony & Style Magazine

Aug 16, 2016 | Category: Lifestyle

As most of you know by now, I write for Horse & Style Magazine, a job I absolutely love! With it, I get to marry together two of my most favorite things: horses and writing. Recently, Horse & Style published its first one-off magazine, Horse & Style Weddings. It was a smashing success!!

Since then, another one-off magazine has made its debut – the first issue of Pony & Style Magazine – and it is just as cute and adorable as you would think it would be. [Insert smiley face with heart eyes emoji]. I was very honored to write the cover story – a feature on superstar junior rider, Sofia Roberts.

You can find the issue online, and you can also purchase it through Horse & Style’s store. You’ll love it – I promise!

Pony & Style


Pinterest Showcase: The Equestrienne

Aug 09, 2016 | Category: Fashion

If you’ve been following this blog from a while, then you know I’m not the biggest fashionista out there. I try, I honestly do, but at the end of the day, I’m just not a clothes horse (pun intended). I think part of it is, and I just mentioned this in a recent Instagram post, that I keep my horses in my backyard, so no one ever sees me ride – there’s no one to impress! I usually ride in a ratty t-shirt and shorts and half-chaps (in the summer); I do feel like I look a little more presentable during the winter though, (coat, scarf, and nice breeches).

Also, I work from home, so I literally have zero reasons to buy nice clothes. But that’s going to change! I want to begin incorporating equestrian fashions into my everyday wardrobe, and as pieces begin to wear, they will be relegated into my riding closet.

Below are some of my favorite pictures from my Pinterest board, The Equestrienne. Hope they inspire you to dress better – they certainly do for me!

The E 1
The E 2
The E 3
The E 4
The E 5
The E 6
The E 7
The E 8


GF Peanut Butter Pie

Aug 05, 2016 | Category: Miscellaneous

My brother-in-law made this pie for the family a few holidays ago, and it was an instant hit! I made it recently for a party, and no one could tell it was gluten free!


For the Crust
– 1 package (10.6 ounces) gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies (I used Glutino)

For the Filling
– 1 cup creamy peanut butter
– 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
– 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
– 1 container (8 ounces) Cool Whip


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In bowl or food processor, grind cookies (including filling) until very fine. Crumbs should hold together when pressed or squeezed.
  2. Press cookie crumbs evenly into the bottom and side of a 9-inch pie pan.
  3. Bake until fragrant and firm, about ten minutes. Remove crust from oven. Place on a rack to cool. You are done with the oven.
  4. Prepare the filling. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid mixer), whip together peanut butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  5. Add powdered sugar. Whip until combined. Mixture will be thick.
  6. Add Cool Whip. Turn mixer on to medium-high, and whip until smooth.
  7. Spread filling into prepared crust (after crust has cooled completely). Chill for two hours or overnight.

You can add more Cool Whip, whipped cream, or a chocolate drizzle on top! Serves 8 – 12 people.

PB Pie


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