So a domain squatter stole TackandTweed.com right out from under me, so I had to switch it to TackandTweed.net. Sorry for any inconvenience – but our content will remain the same, just have to switch your browser cookies :).
Otherwise, during this holiday week (Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!) with the kids home from school, it was time to get them out. The weather has been strange here in Westchester, and we don’t have an indoor at our barn, so the ice has been accumulating. Before this all happened (including us catching the evil flu – never missing a flu shot again), we were able to have a little fun while we had a bit of snow. Enjoy and Happy New Year!!! I’ll have some new fashion tips and product reviews in the new year.
(goofball was wondering why this strange human wasn’t moving, but his arms were so scary).
I ordered Catch Rider by Jennifer Lynefor Kindle last year, and hadn’t had a chance to read it. When I learned that Ms. Lyne was going got be signing her book at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival (she currently lives in NYC) a couple weeks ago, I decided to break the virtual spine and start reading. I couldn’t put it down. Sidney, the main character, has such an honest and strong voice. Her view of the world, as described by Jennifer Lyne, comes to life, in detail, drawing in even the most non-horsey of people into the world of a young woman struggling with class issues, personal tragedy and how to escape from her hometown by doing what she loves, riding.
While I didn’t grow up riding horses every day, after reading this book, I felt as though I had. Ms. Lyne’s attention to detail was a master class in equitation riding, the show world and how much effort it takes to succeed for someone who doesn’t have a fortune. Sidney won my heart; I instantly fell in love with her. As a mother, I wanted to take care of her, and couldn’t wait to read what she would do next. I felt as if I were there with Sidney and her uncle at the (spoiler alert) Maclay finals in NYC; found myself trying to calm my own nerves on her behalf.
Sidney’s perspective about her rural Virginia life, and her extreme brevity is compelling, and I will be sure to have both my children read Catch Rider when they are old enough. Kids don’t need to be in the horse world to learn from Ms. Lyne’s themes. Doing what you love, hard work and holding your head up high no matter what your background, are lessons we all need to learn.
I admit it, I’m an older rider (cough cough), but I love to read anything about horses, especially books intended for young adults. It must satisfy some longing for a younger self, or maybe I never grew up inside, or maybe I’m just reaching mid-life crisis. Catch Rider, by Jennifer Lyne, is a wonderful read! I’m only partially through it, but I can’t put it down, even though I HAVE to because my family does require attention now and then.
I’m posting this before I finish my read because Ms. Lyne, a fellow Chappaqua resident, will be signing her book tomorrow at the great Chappaqua Children’s Book Festivallocated in Bell Middle School right in town. Any fans, new readers or parents of horse-crazy kids will want to stop by and meet her as well as pick up a copy of her book.
Not only will this support our wonderful festival, but Ms. Lyne has decided to generously donate all her proceeds from the festival to Everytown for Gun Safety – in honor of the victims of our most recent tragedy in Oregon. Thank you Ms. Lyne. I will be buying several copies.
I’m going to use the publisher’s description of Catch Rider, as I’m not done reading it yet!! I will, however, get right to it when the kids go down tonight. Watch out A Circuit 😉
Catch Rider is published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton-Mifflin Harcourt
Sidney Criser, 14, pursues her dream of becoming a catch rider–a show rider who can ride anything–despite her poor background and ferocious competition from more privileged girls. Set in Virginia, Catch Rider is an authentic behind the scenes portrayal of a show barn and the elite, demanding world of equitation. Catch Rider is not a horse book; it’s a book about horse people.
Since I’ve been around horses, I’ve known the wonderful things they can do for young people. Some of the most responsible, talented, polite and hardworking boys and girls I can think of, work around a barn for lessons, for themselves and for their ponies and horses. Horses, sometimes intimidating but always a mirror to ourselves, can also reach even the hardest to reach humans. I witnessed this myself when I worked at a small urban barn in Queens, NY (Lynne’s Riding School) whose gentle lesson horses participated in Gallop NYC, teaching autistic and children with downs syndrome the joy of riding.
Patricia E. Kelley, a top Western equestrian and former marine (wow), has known this since 1983 when she founded The Ebony Horsewoman. She has been working with inner city kids, teaching animal care and science (including Western and English riding) to over 300 Hartford, CT kids per year.
“We use horses as a hook to create pride, esteem and healing,” said Kelly, 66. “They learn that they have ability. They just have to unlock it.”
By exposing kids in Hartford to horsemanship, she hopes to give them an alternative to the hardships that they may endure every day. They can escape street stress and spend time and energy in her 693 acre park with 14 horses, a Shetland pony, and a number of other animal species, which are taken care of by her students.
Really innovative is her Jr. Mounted Patrol – a group of young riders charged with patrolling the park and reporting back with what is going on in the park. How wonderful is this??
I want to highlight her work and perhaps drum up some dinero for her efforts. As winter descends upon the farm, they could use some money for feed and hay, and I’m sure any number of other items for her non-profit.
Way to go Ms. Kelley! I’ll be on your donor list 🙂
All photos are from their web site – I just thought they were too cool not to feature.
Wondering what to get your horsey loved ones? We have some ideas to help you out!!!
We feature some of our favorite brands, as well as some new ones, most of which can be purchased online simply by clicking the link in the guide. For items sold by Ride Bedford, please give Courtney a call – she will personally help you with anything you need and will be sure to give you the best product at the best value.
By the way our very own Tack and Tweed limited edition cell phone covers designed by Beatrice Bulteau and made in France, may be purchased here, or by emailing me directly (Lisa@TackandTweed.com)!
No, I’m not with child, but we’ve been busy here at T&T! We’ve been collaborating with renowned Equestrian Artist Beatrice Bulteau to create a gorgeous new product just in time for the holidays – will launch tomorrow….
Also, we’ve put together our annual Tack and Tweed Holiday Gift Guide which will be published in less than two days….can’t wait!! Okay, back to work….
Many of you have heard of the eye-wear brand Warby Parker, but if you have not, I invite you to check them out. A company with a conscience, the founders began with the problem of not being able to afford quality eye glasses:
Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: glasses are too expensive. We were students when one of us lost his glasses on a backpacking trip. The cost of replacing them was so high that he spent the first semester of grad school without them, squinting and complaining. (We don’t recommend this.) ….Where were the options?
It turns out there was a simple explanation. The eyewear industry is dominated by a single company that has been able to keep prices artificially high while reaping huge profits from consumers who have no other options.
We started Warby Parker to create an alternative.
By circumventing traditional channels , designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, we’re able to provide higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price….Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15% of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.”
Pretty cool, right? They have some pretty fun frames, my personal favorite is the Laurel in Tea Rose Fade at $95 (for single-vision, $295 for progressives). You can use your web cam and try them on virtually from the comfort of your home. For many styles, you can order a sample pair to be sent directly to you for a test wear. These would look adorably preppy for a schooling ride, and then stylish when reading the latest Georgina Bloomberg novel, watching the Real Housewives with friends, or simply going out for a drink and being able to actually read the cocktail menu. If they fall off and get trampled by your equine buddy (let’s hope this doesn’t happen), you won’t need sell your first born to replace them.
My style suggestion:
They also have may wonderful sun shade options. In fact, they just launched a new line, called “Ghostly”, which is stylish and can be worn in the ring and out. Perfect for a man or a woman; one part Tom Cruise and one part Audrey Hepburn. I don’t have a final price on the Ghostly line, but their other shades go from $95 non-prescription to $350 progressives. Not bad, considering a pair of designer shades can go up to $500 w/o a prescription.
We’re all excited for the launch of the Ghostly, although how fun would it have been to have launched them on Halloween (hmmm…maybe too cliche). Anyway, try them out and give someone who can’t afford to purchase their own, the opportunity to have clear vision. It’s all about the shades. 😉 They can be purchased at http://www.WarbyParker.com.
I’ve lived in and around NYC for almost 20 years now and I’m a little sad to say I’ve never participated or attended any film festivals. I’ve thought long and hard about getting my butt to the Tribeca Festival, but never actually made it. Last Thursday, when I heard (last minute) about the Equus Film Festival at MIST in Harlem Friday and Saturday, I called in a last minute babysitter, grabbed my notebook and jumped on Metro North. Quite clearly, hours of horsey films take priority over a DeNiro (my favorite actor, by the way) sighting ;).
It took me a couple minutes to find MIST, but once inside I felt very much at home. Three theaters playing equestrian cinema, world-renowned artists and horse activists all convening to share a drink and a bite at the delicious bar of Madiba, and the 7 or so obligatory protesters (anti-horse and carriage types as there was one short film being screened that defended NYC’s horse carriages) out front all conspired to make a wonderful and entertaining evening. I had a bite to eat at the bar, and I realized that this was of the same Madiba of Fort Greene Brooklyn fame, right down the street from where my husband and I lived years ago. It was one of our favorite haunts, so I was happy to see them thriving. Not to mention, the food was amazing. My little hand meat pie and truffle fries were perfect, as was my husbands dish of Chicken Durban Bunny Chow (spicy curry-like dish served in a hollowed out organic bread loaf). DELISH.
Okay, so I grabbed another glass of South African chardonnay, and sat through some evening flicks. First, some shorts. A short about Dr. Maria Katsamanis, who specializes in classical horsemanship, then a quickie about the Festival of the Horse and Drum, which looks to be a fun event scheduled for next August 15th and 16th in St. Charles, Illinois. Sorry to report that the Asmar Equestrian (my regular readers know I love this brand) ad wasn’t aired at this point, but was seen on screens across the lobby and perhaps at another point in the festival. We then screened Free Rein, a glimpse into the life of a natural horsemanship trainer in Cananda named Jessica Fobert. She teaches us to listen to horses, and gives them a voice – they also happened to win the “Best Equestrian Series” award – congrats! Next was the talented and artistic Riders of McCrae Farm. Specializing in French Classical Dressage, movements are given by, not forced from, the horse. Not the best cinematography, but a great performance and fun to see.
The next film was a treat. Animaglyphes, a labor of love by director and creator Manolo Bez, creative mind behind the Theatre du Centaur along with his wife, Camille. The film takes us on a journey of animals and man, so that we cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. They bring together a collage of hundreds of people, sheep, horses and onlookers as they undertake an epic journey across many miles through the south of France, ultimately parading though the un-barricaded streets of Marseilles. A piece of art, his objective was to demonstrate the oneness of man and animal while capturing different points of view, the most striking being one of birds as they witness hundreds of sheep being herded behind a female “centaur” (actually Manolo’s wife riding standing up on anywhere between 1 and 3 horses). When I asked what were some of his largest challenges making the film, besides securing the necessary bureaucratic permits, the largest challenge was the massive amounts of animal and human waste and how it was to be controlled and kept clean. Poo above all. 😉
After this, I took a break to see what was happening in the lobby. I wasn’t disappointed as there were some protesters trying to cause a ruckus over the screening of a 10 minute movie named Save the Horse Carriages by Mary Haverstick (narrated by Liam Neeson). Eh, what’s a good event without some rabble rousers to bring in some media attention :)? I’m posting it here – reason for protest? I’ll let you decide.
Anyway, on the lighter side of life, I also met a wonderful artist named Beatrice Bulteau, who specializes in equestrian art and the celebration of movement and capturing the essence of the horse. She also happens to be the artist behind this year’s festival poster. As much as I wanted her beautiful watercolor mural (and everything else I saw), I only walked away with a signed festival poster and a beautiful iPhone 5 case. Hailing from Paris and now living in Portugal, Ms. Bulteau has been at her art for decades. I am sure that any piece of hers is a wise investment; tasteful art that will ad beauty and class to any room.
If I had more time and less children, I would have attended Saturday – all day. Alas, I had to call it quits after Friday. I’m anticipating next year, and will absolutely make time for the train ride back to the city to attend. Well worth it!
We’re on a family vacation this week (taking a wonderful cruise with grandma/grandpa/aunt/uncle/cousins) in the Caribbean, and while we’re having a great time, I couldn’t help but feel really shocked and sorry for the little Surrey horses pulling carriages in the port of Nassau, Bahamas. They looked totally broken, skinny and sore (terrible shoeing and rub sores all over their little bodies where their tack was digging into their skin). In torrential downpours or oppressive heat, they pull their loads: tourists that weigh more than they do, time and time again.
When we got back to our room, I found more information on these “Surrey” horses, and what I found wasn’t very encouraging. Between collapsing on the job, like the one (of several) that died horribly in the street, to malnourishment, their lives look pretty dim; obviously abused. I then looked for any organizations trying to help these little guys. I found a Facebook page with a stop the abuse petition, and of course I signed it (please sign it too). I just hope that there is someone with authority out there to take it seriously and find a way to stop the abuse. I’m trying to find a more organized effort to help these equines; if I do, I’ll spread the word.
Off topic Sunday…not an equestrian themed post today….
I love me some cute kiddie clothes. Typically, I get kids clothes from Gap Kids for the staples, Target (pronounced “tar-jay”) for the trendy soon-to-be-thrown away items, and if I’m feeling spicy, I go to Crew Cuts. I scour the internet for Splendid Littles sales (they are just sooo comfy – especially Splendid’s adult line for mommy). Once in a while, I find some fun Burberry items on Ebay, which I consider a major coup, as there is the added benefit of being able to sell said clothing after the 3 wears they last (no way is she wearing this in the mud puddle in the back yard).
Like Ralph Lauren years ago (I buy adorable Polo items at discount stores), many higher end designers are trying to cash in on the children’s clothing market. It used to be for a really special occasion, one could lay a Benjamin or two down on a gorgeous hand made dress at Bergdorff’s kids department, but now, that’s just a drop in the bucket for even the most common and out-grow-able children’s duds. I’m sorry, but I just can’t stomach or imagine throwing over $500 on a Baby Dior or Missoni dress for a 9 month old who can’t even walk. The styles are gorgeous, and I’m sure would look great on the tony tots being pushed by their nannies on Park Ave, but my hubby’s hard-earned dollars are better spent on our mortgage :).
In this spirit, I’ve found some beautiful children’s fashions and comparable reasonably (for some) priced garments. After all, kids either wear their clothes to death, or wear them once. I’m sure I can’t beat the quality of Baby Dior, but I can certainly beat the price!!
Most of the expensive finds are from Neiman Marcus and Barney‘s, their less-expensive counterparts are from all over – hover over image to see the source.
I love a dreamy princess ballerina dress like the next person and this Milly Minis one is killer (to the pocketbook). The Luna Luna Copenhagen dress is just as sweet and a fraction of the price.
Missoni knits are comfy, and I’m sure this dress is fun to wear…as is the alternative:
For a special occasion, this gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana dress is spectacular, but at $1615, who in their right mind w(c)ould afford it?? I love this Kleinfeld Erica Dress alternative from at $150!
Every ballerina needs a tutu, but this one is too too much for me. Why not save some loot loot?
Cold weather calls for long, warm coats, and here are the similar choices:
And for the sweaters:
And, for the babies – nothing beats a special cashmere blanket as a special gift, but some are more affordable than others:
I haven’t even listed the cute and fun options at Target or Kohls, etc (this post could go on for ever)!! Finding super cute kid’s clothes at a premium is fun, but finding less expensive alternatives is satisfying 🙂
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting an accomplished young woman, equestrian, and owner of a unique new store for equestriennes aptly named, RIDE. Courtney Caverzasi’s newest venture is one part high-end boutique and one part high-end tack shop in Bedford, NY; centrally located for the horsey set in Westchester and Connecticut. RIDE carries riding and apres-riding apparel for men, women, children (and yes BOYS) and their equestrian and canine companions.
Her vision is to provide a lifestyle boutique containing everything the well-heeled rider could possibly need all the while, giving them a wonderful shopping experience. She fills a niche for riders looking for great shopping, personal attention and exclusive brands that cannot be found in any high street shop remotely close to this area.
When I walked in, I was amazed to see how beautiful and tasteful it was. A lifelong rider, Courtney shaped her vision through 12 years with Hermes, and it shows. Offering complementary coffee or tea (wine in the evenings), she personally escorts her clients through the different sections of her boutique. From the natural wood saddle rack wall, to the horse mural in the back of the store, everything is perfectly thought out, displayed well, easy to see, touch and try on.
She strives to provide highly desirable brands (many times sourcing items made in the USA) that are hard to find. For example, she nailed an exclusive with Antares, who typically only sells saddles direct. Not only does she sell these items, she understands them, and has used them herself. She has an in depth knowledge of everything she sells and will recommend the highest quality within each client’s budget. She is constantly nurturing her vendor relationships, resulting in an amazing selection and value for her customers.
Here are some brands she features (but there are MANY more):
“I want a pony. I want a pony more than anything else in the world.” The artist and children’s book author and illustrator, Susan Jeffers opens her book, My Pony, with these words. What little (or big) child bit by the horse bug hasn’t uttered this phrase? This is a book about a little girl, who dreams of having her own pony. Her family cannot afford one, so she draws a beautiful dappled grey mare named Silver, who becomes her dreamy equine companion.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Jeffers this past weekend at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival this past weekend, (the CCBF is one of the most notable of book festivals in the NYC area). A rider herself (in fact, she used to have a horse not too far from where my son and I ride), Jeffers’ love for horses and children’s imaginations shines through in her beautifully illustrated books.
Jeffers has been writing and illustrating picture books for over forty years. She received the Caldecott Honor for Three Jovial Huntsman and has been honored with many other awards, including the Golden Kite Award for Forest of Dreams. Susan says she realizes now that she has always done the same things. When Susan was little, her best moments were spent drawing pictures, reading stories with her parents, playing with friends and sitting by the Ramapo River dreaming of horses. This has not changed. Being a children’s book illustrator has combined all of these things.
I read it to my daughter, Annalise, yesterday and she, even at three years old, loved it; she keeps flipping through the pages, perhaps dreaming of her own pony. I’m excited to read the next pony installment, My Chincoteague Pony.
Susan signed a copy and made a pony sketch on the inside front page especially for Annalise. We’ll have to be careful not to beat it up too much, but it will be a book that she and I will cherish for years. Click here to see a list of her other selections available on Amazon.com.
Like thousands of others, I love Etsy.com. It’s given so many arisans an easy outlet to sell their wares. Etsy provides a wonderful opportunity to help people make a living at their passions; equestrian-artists are no exception.
Trolling through hundreds and hundreds of stores, I found many focused on equine-related goods, and thought it would be a fun idea to highlight some standouts. Just about everyone has an Etsy account, so log on and support these amazing artisans. You’ll receive a one of a kind item, while supporting small business. I am having a rough time attaching links to photos, so you will need to type in the name of the store (the beginning of the picture caption) in the Etsy search bar. We’ll fix this asap ;).
Most of these crafts can be customized, so remember to ask the artist!