I was a pretty cliche little girl when it came to horses, meaning that my dreams were all about ponies, pretty ponies, probably white ponies. My friend and I could spend entire afternoons reenacting barn life with our mini plastic horses with their barbie hair and mini saddles. As I grew up the pristine white pony of my childhood transformed into a life of horses, big horses, jumping horses. While other teenagers spent their extra-curricular hours on the fields and courts, my afternoons were spent in a saddle. Riding was an investment of time and something that I have never grown out of, even after years on hiatus, only recently picking it up again. It’s only natural that a love of horses extends beyond the barn and into home life. Thanks to the glossy Ralph Lauren ads depicting wood and leather accented libraries adorned with silver trophies and saddles perched in the background, equine style has remained a popular way to style a home.
My admiration for equine style was sparked by the photographer Kevin Russ. His pieces depict roaming horses, donkeys, and other wild creatures in fog draped fields or sun spiked rocky terrain. It’s definitely a welcome departure from the stuffy oil paintings of the family hunting horse or the campy stock photo inspired horse prints. Centered above a bed the a photo can provide a hint of an equine-inspired setting while creating a quiet and calm room. Moving away from walls a leather and musk scented room are the type of notes that seems to blend into a home rather than overpower a setting with floral or sugary blends. Le Labo’s Cuir room spray is a gritty mixture of leather, wood, and vanilla, while Byredo’s Tree House candle provides the natural scents associated with a decor inspired by animals and the outdoors. Lastly, while modern equine style shouldn’t be a blatant copy of those leather smoking rooms in the Ralph Lauren ads, the style does pair pretty well with a cozy plaid blanket, a well stocked bar with all the tools, and a neat glass of whiskey.
This past weekend I spent the afternoon cleaning and conditioning my well worn saddle. The leather is indented where stirrup straps have wrapped around the boots, holes stretched where they have supported girths, and a seat that has softened after years of use. This is the leather of a perfectly broken in jacket. The piece of tack is usually shut away in a closet, but after admiring my cleaning job, obviously done in the dining room since apartment life requires a bit of creativity, I felt that the saddle should be displayed among my other trinkets and decor. Both are there for a reason and have equally interesting stories. I propped up the little stand underneath my favorite Gray Malin print and there the saddle remains in my newly styled equine-inspired dining room.