What is your day job?
I am the Director of Marketing at an automotive technology company! I’ve been in the workforce for 11+ years now and I’ve spent all of my career within the automotive segment, mostly on the luxury side. I love automotive because there are marketing dollars to be spent and the clients are always diverse with lots of personality. Most of my career, I’ve planned and implemented media plans across mediums – from TV, print, digital, etc. I also have been fortunate to work on many experiential partnerships – with sports teams, food + wine, publications, etc.
How many years did you train for your day job?
I’ve always been a creative person but thought I wanted to be a horse vet. After realizing honors science wasn’t my forte, I turned my focus on marketing. I’ve always loved photography, taught myself Photoshop when it was first introduced, spent years in advanced art classes and actually enrolled within the Art + Design program at the University of Illinois. Ideally I wanted to be a Creative Director or Fashion Photographer. After being submersed into art classes only, I realized I needed to focus on the account management side of advertising – I’m a people person and feel most accomplished when I’m presenting, problem solving and forming relationships. I then switched my major to Advertising and knew I made the right decision. I graduated with a Bachelors in Advertising and a minor in Art History. I would say I ‘trained’ for my current job all of my life – an extroverted role, with a focus on detail, a creative eye and building rapports – which always came easily for me.
What inspired you to start @warmbloodsandwine?
I took a break from horse stuff during college and after I graduated I started getting back into it. This is when Instagram was introduced to the world and I would occasionally post ‘artsy’ photos on my personal feed. Over the next few years, I had so many horse things to share but didn’t want to drive my college friends and family crazy with a language that was foreign to them. EX: Today Rayne and I attempted two tempis and although a bit above the bit, stiff in the shoulder and lacking hind engagement, I couldn’t be prouder. SAY WHAT?! I decided to start a beautifully curated space that made me happy – a creative outlet that showcased my equestrian journey but also allowed me to use my photography skills. I started planning my posts over a glass of wine to unwind from a stressful work day and a quick trip to the barn at night and WARMBLOODS + WINE was formed.
How old are you?
I am 33 turning 34 in late December.
How do you fit in riding and competing?
I would say I had a ‘typical’ upbringing with horses and fit right in with the other horse girls. I started taking lessons with a local trainer – learning to groom, ride, etc. and my mom and sisters were involved. It is an expensive sport so I had to work a lot of it off. I braided on the weekends and named my business ‘The Mane Event’. I was a working student for a few dressage trainers and always knew Dressage would be my thing – that was unique as a kid. Most kids just want to go fast, hop over jumps or just relax with the horses. As a total perfectionist, it just felt right. The intensity, the perfection, always striving to be better – that’s where I was different.
How do you fit in riding and competing?
Competing now, I feel like I’m a bit different from most Adult Amateurs. For one, I am on the younger spectrum of Adult Amateurs in Dressage. I really hope the sport continues to attract younger talent and to keep making Dressage more inclusive and more accessible.
Second, I have to work really hard – both at work and on my horse. Rayne isn’t a fancy import – which you often compete against in the level of Dressage we’re competing at. In Adult Amateurs, many are enjoying their retirement with the horse of their dreams or finally getting to take part in their hobby after raising a family, etc. You see a lot of expensive horses with fancy gaits. Hopefully I am one of those people down the road – ha! All horse endeavors are paid for by myself – which limits the quality of horse – so I have to ride twice as hard and accurate!
Interesting tidbit about yourself?
I married my childhood best friend and Senior Prom Date. We grew up about a mile from each other and we didn’t start dating until after college. If my family had to choose between Kyle or I – they’d choose Kyle. He’s the sweetest, most loyal and supportive person I’ve ever met.
What is your horse’s name? Breed? Age? Discipline? Level?
Rayne Dance is a 10 year old, 17.2h warmblood by GP Raymeister x Bella Luna GP. He has only been ridden seriously in Dressage and is successfully competing at FEI Intermediate I.
Your biggest accomplishment in the ring?
Most recently, earning my Silver Medal and a few scores towards my Gold aboard Rayne. I would say Reserve Champion at Nationals aboard Rayne’s mom, Bella Luna GP in 2014. Since then, Rayne has built his resume and has many accolades. I am excited to see where we end up at this year’s National Championships – where we’ll be competing in both the Fourth Level AA class and Fourth Level Freestyle Championships.
Your biggest accomplishment in life?
I am proud of everything I’ve worked so hard for. My work career, my equestrian career, my family life. Sky is the limit but I do know – hard work makes accomplishments happen and I know the best is yet to come.
Advice to other Adult Amateurs?
Keep with it and find a good trainer. Progress – not perfection. Horses are hard. If you want it – you’ll work for it. I recently posted a quote on my account by Thomas Jefferson that says “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” I truly believe in that.
Last but not least, what is your favorite wine?
A good Cab. Honestly, I’m not too picky and could use a glass right now :)