EQUILINE America is pleased to introduce its new blog, a showcase of the company's sponsored riders and ambassadors, retailers, and collections. From coast to coast and around the world, EQUILINE America riders are showcasing the best of equestrian sport in EQUILINE's state-of-the-art equipment and stylish, innovative apparel.
Based at John and Kitty Barker's Eight Oaks Farm in Middleburg, Va., Sara Taylor kicks off the blog with our first Sponsored Rider feature. Taylor comes to EQUILINE America with lofty credentials, having triumphed at Junior Hunter Finals and finishing in the top 10 at the 2008 Pessoa/USEF Hunt Seat Medal Finals as a junior before riding for the NCEA Division 1 hunt seat team at the University of South Carolina. After graduating, Taylor turned professional, and in 2015, she was Reserve Champion in the USHJA Developing Pro Challenge at Capital Challenge. She now represents EQUILINE America in the professional hunter divisions.
Taylor, who joined the EQUILINE America team this summer, reflects on her experiences both in and out of the ring in our latest blog installment.
EQUILINE America: What is life like at Eight Oaks?
Sara Taylor: I'm very busy showing horses. John and Kitty have so many wonderful ones! They are just wonderful people; it feels like I'm at home with my family, and they've taught me a lot of what I know now.
EA: What horses are you working with that you're particularly excited about?
ST: Most of the horses at Eight Oaks are client owned, but right now John and Kitty own two horses, and one of them they just purchased at the end of the winter circuit in Florida. His name is So Fun. There are a few horses I consider to be the best I've ever ridden in my life, and he is one of them. He's beautiful. He has such great balance, such a great jump, and such a great brain. He's only six, and at his first horse show, we went straight into the 3'3" Green Hunters. He could do so much more, but we're just enjoying this time that we have with him.
I also have the pleasure of showing Sherri Crawford's Carento, whom she used to show herself and probably will again soon, but I've been doing him in the High Performances and the USHJA International Hunter Derby classes. That's definitely been the highlight! He's just a very, very special horse.
EA: What is your favorite EQUILINE product?
ST: The breeches look really good, and they fit really well. I love the logo. It sticks out really well; I think when you see it on a rider, it makes their leg look really good and long. Their hunt coats are also really proper and well-fitting. The material is so giving and comfortable, whether you're in the cold or the heat.
EA: What do you enjoy most about EQUILINE's saddles?
ST: I have the Marghe, which is such a beautiful look with the square cantle and the leather and the color of the leather, because it's been soaked for three months. I also love the stitching, and it fits perfectly. It actually changed the way I sit a little bit, for the better. I didn't really think my posture could change, but my heels are farther down, and my knee is so well balanced and in front of me.
I also have the Hunter, and it feels like I've been riding in it for years already. It's really comfortable, and it's just as beautiful to look at.
EA: What is something most people don't know about you?
ST: When I graduated college, I didn't know if I wanted to come directly back into horses, since I did it my entire childhood. Something in between that I did was, I became a wrangler at Yellowstone National Park, which entailed riding western, wearing a cowgirl hat and boots every day, and chasing out bears and bison and leading guided tours all through the park. I loved it. It was only five months, but it was a lot of hard work, and it was very rewarding. The most exhilarating feeling I've ever had was chasing a bison or a bear.
EA: What does it mean to be a part of the EQUILINE America team?
ST: It's such a pleasure, because EQUILINE takes such good care of me. Everybody really communicates so well, and they're so giving. They want to know how everything fits, and I feel like I'm never going to lose contact with them, and that's a good feeling to have.
EA: What are your short- and long-term goals?
ST: Short-term, I want to win a USHJA International Hunter Derby—hopefully with Carento, but if I don't get the chance with this horse, then the next one. Long-term, I hope to run a business just like Johnny and Kitty's—make it feel like a family and be privileged with really nice horses and beautiful land.