The Classicist: On Equestrian Style
Followers of my sporadic style posts here have probably noticed certain threads running throughout; anglophilia, certainly, but also an affinity for all things equestrian-related: the polo matches staged by the likes of Veuve Clicquot and Mercedes-Benz; the Royal Ascot Races; riding boots by John Lobb of London; leathergoods by Swaine Adeney Brigg; and even classic sporting art. All these elements and more come together beautifully in Vicky Moon's new book Equestrian Style: Home Design, Couture, and Collections from the Eclectic to the Elegant, due out this week from Clarkson Potter.
It's a magnificent, much-needed extension of the horsey lifestyle portrayed in Hunt Country Style, the book I wrote about back in April. Moon divides her volume into different facts of the equestrian experience: In the Field, On the Farm, At the Track, In the Ring, On the Move, and Down the Road, focusing on all facets of horsiness and everything that goes along with it. The emphasis is on authenticity, not affectation; she barely mentions Ralph Lauren for instance except in the context of the actual polo team he fields.
Gallery: Equestrian Style
Moon notes all that's really required is a "basic love of horses" but she opines that actually riding them gives one a much stronger connection. True equestrian style, she writes, is "more than a feisty, wet Jack Russell terrier, a pair of Wellington boots and a tweed jacket. It goes beyond hanging a hunting print in the dining room wall to actually leaping over a stone wall on your favorite hunter. An unspoken equestrian philosophy surpasses wearing an Hermes scarf; it celebrates riding over jumps in an Hermes saddle."
Of course that's not really feasible for everyone, but as a beau ideal it's not bad. Even taking riding lessons at your local equestrian center is a good start. And if it is the accouterments you're after meanwhile, you could do worse than check out Bonhams' Racing Sale on the 19th at Tattersalls, the famed horse auctioneers in Newmarket, England where prices are still quoted in guineas.
Along with some stunning examples of sporting art, there are plenty of items to suit the equestrian-themed interior, from silver trophies and horsey ornaments to jockey silks, racing programs and other ephemera. You know, just to tide you over until you get that jumper in an Hermes saddle....