Saturday, March 21, 2009

Equine Divine Welcomes New Partner

If you are at the Aiken Spring Classic Horse Show this April, be sure to stop by the Equine Divine booth to see a sample of what’s in the store. Or better yet, stop by the store itself in the Holley Building on Laurens Street downtown. Since its opening in 2004, Equine Divine has established itself as one of the “must go” destinations for horse people living in or visiting Aiken. The store features a wide selection of original equestrian and sporting art, as well as home decor, jewelry and clothing, all with an equestrian theme.

Taryn Hartnett Eicher recently joined Equine Divine as the new managing partner, and is now working with Lydia del Rossi, the store’s founder. She is bringing in two new lines of jewelry and more clothing, specifically a line called J. McLaughlin. J. McLaughlin clothing is based in New York and sold up and down the East Coast. It features high quality men’s and women’s clothing with “a flair for bold colors and signature prints combined with unexpected design twists,” according to the website. Taryn says that there will be a trunk show to promote the clothing at the store during the week of the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, April 6 through 11.

Taryn, a horsewoman from a well-established equestrian family, has spent the last 12 years in the banking industry. Although she has lived in Aiken for several years, she was commuting to Charlotte for work.

“I decided I was ready for a change,” she says. “I wanted to be in Aiken full-time, and I wanted something that was not in the office five days a week. I had heard that Lydia was looking for a partner, we sat down and talked about it and decided that it would be a good fit.”

“We’re so excited about Taryn coming in as managing partner,” says Lydia. “She brings such life, energy and enthusiasm to the store. I had taken Equine Divine as far as I was able, and I think she will be able to take it to a whole new level, a higher level. I feel like I have sent my child off to college.”

Equine Divine will continue to represent the artists that Aiken’s horsemen have come to identify with the store, including Susan Easton Burns, Anne Amrich, Anne Lattimore and Beth Carlson. New artists include Lynn Carlisle, an Aiken resident who is known for her exquisite portraits of dogs. Other new artists will soon be represented in the store, which will also have a new logo and a new website.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pennfield promises

The eventing season in Aiken attracted more than just horses and riders. It also brought various officials from the United States Equestrian Team and several evening events and parties, including a well attended United States Equestrian Foundation benefit gala at Phillip Dutton’s Red Oak Farm in the Bridle Creek Equestrian Community.

One of the most talked about evening events was the “That’s a Promise” Tour, put on by Pennfield Feeds. Pennfield Feeds, based in Pennsylvania, is the brand used by many upper-level event riders who have their home bases in the mid-Atlantic states. After being selected as the official feed for the United States Equestrian Team at the 2008 Olympics, Pennfield began pursuing a higher profile nationally. The “That’s a Promise” Tour was conceived as an evening of talks about equine nutrition, combined with a chance to meet some of the top riders (and drivers) that rely on Pennfield Feeds, including Olympians such as Karen and David O’Connor, Bruce Davidson and Phillip Dutton. The tour also raised money for the USEF Young Rider program. Attendees could participate in a silent auction and competed for a chance to win a training session with one of the upper-level riders. There were, of course, drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

The tour started on February 8 in Wellington, Fla., and will hit eight cities on the East Coast, ending up in Gladstone, N.J. on October 7. Aiken was the third stop on the tour. The March 10 event was, according to Pennfield representatives, the most successful so far, bringing out a large and enthusiastic crowd. Of course, this is no surprise, because in Aiken, everyone loves a party, and what better than a party combined with the chance to win something? Pennfield Feeds itself is gaining a following in town. It can be found at Aiken Saddlery and Aiken Country Farm Supply.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Polo Pony Race at the Aiken Trials

The Aiken Trials, Aiken's day of races for young horses, will feature a race for polo ponies this year. The ponies, which are required to be playing horses, will run 300 yards from a standing start to compete for the title of "Fastest Polo Pony in Aiken."

The Aiken Trials will be held on Saturday, March 14. The card has six races, four of them for untried 2-year-old race horses, one for seasoned horses of racing age, and the polo pony race, which will be the fourth of the day. Although members of Aiken's old Winter Colony probably raced polo ponies in Aiken before World War II, this is the first time that the Aiken Trials will include a race for polo ponies.

There are six polo ponies entered in the race. They are:

1-Eli Yale, 6 year old chestnut gelding, owned, trained and ridden by Pam Gleason

2-Jasmine, 9 year old chestnut mare, owned, trained and ridden by Theresa King

3-Do What, 6 year old bay gelding, owned, trained and ridden by Tom Uskup

4-Elegant Matter, 7 year old bay mare, owned, trained and ridden by Ben Gregoncza

5-Aztec, 9 year old chestnut gelding, owned by the Aiken Horse LLC, trained by Gary Knoll and ridden by Salvador Torres.

6-Sabrina, 9 year old bay mare, owned, trained and ridden by Edgar Cato III.

The polo pony race is sponsored by The Aiken Horse.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Southern Saddlery Closes

After 18 years of serving Aiken’s equestrians, Southern Saddlery closed this February.

Susan Henderson, the store’s owner and founder, says that she is retiring from the retail trade to pursue other interests.
“I’m very thankful for the years of support the store has gotten from Aiken’s horse people,” she says.

On Friday, February 20, Susan made the announcement that the store would close at the end of the month after a going-out-of-business sale. Word spread rapidly, and Southern Saddlery was soon flooded with customers. People bought so much and so quickly, that the store was essentially empty in a couple of days, closing its doors by Thursday, February 26, two days ahead of schedule. An Aiken horse community icon, Southern Saddlery will be missed.