Horses are the connection between the majority of my friendships, from recent to decades past. Last week, I received many inquiries when I posted photos of bespoke face masks that I purchased from Val Wayne, an avid life equestrian that I became acquainted with through a mutual friend, Briteney Mercer.
Simply stated, Val is a gift. She purchased Briteney’s show hunter, Winston, and as many of us “one horse” amateurs understand, we often must change partners to grow with the sport. Observing Briteney saying good-bye to her beloved Winston was heartbreaking and I genuinely thought, “ There is no way that anyone can appreciate and love him with such pure intentions." I was wrong.
Val is an incredible horse mother and subsequently has created an immeasurable bond with Briteney. They not only the share the love of a single white unicorn, but also many similar values. I am only gently in the fold of this friendship, but their connection has afforded me the association with an incredibly genuine woman that seeks the highest good in sharing her love for the equestrian way of life.
from l to r, Briteney, Winston, & Val
In VAL's Words:
Necessity Drives Ingenuity and Craftsmanship
Back in March, when SIP started and my barn closed, I needed an activity that would keep me busy and challenged. A friend of mine, Robyn, suggested that I purchase a sewing machine and learn how to sew. That day my husband gifted me a new machine from a local shop. The learning curve was steep, but I love that. My goal was to learn how to make masks. After my barn reopened under strict safety guidelines with mandatory face mask wearing at all times, I started making masks for my trainers and barn mates. When the demand grew, one of my friends at the barn, Susan, persuaded me to start selling masks and she was my first client. Ever since then I've been selling them by word of mouth.
Bespoke, With Love
What makes my masks special: They are 100% bespoke. I use a double layer of high quality cotton fabrics. Some of the fabrics I order from the UK, others I have custom made here in the US. I have everything from equestrian themes to florals and fun patterns. The customer picks the main fabric, or they leave it to me, and I like to pair it with a fun interior fabric so that they are also reversible. Each mask is custom fit, from the hand sewn adjustable elastic ear straps to the metal nose bridge. I can truly personalise a mask by embroidering the wearer's monogram on it. Bottom line, each mask is totally unique and hand sewn with love.
Horses Over Husbands
How did I come up with the Horses Over Husbands name? My husband, Benjamin, actually made it up because he jokes that it was a reflection of his experience being married to an equestrian. I mean, who doesn't love their horse more than their husband?
SIP Silver Linings
It’s been an interesting time. There have been a few silver linings during SIP. I’ve never considered myself to be crafty, nor have I ever been remotely interested in sewing, but now I am passionate about it. I am also passionate about being part of the solution and wearing masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The more people wearing them, the better. I love being able to outfit my barn mates and trainers and know that I’m helping to keep everyone safe, comfortable and looking beautiful.
A Lifestyle Choice
Being an equestrian is a lifestyle choice. Equestrians love horses so much that they want to incorporate them into their fashion and home decor. I wanted to include that same love of horses into what’s become a necessary accessory-the face mask. You can still be stylish and help keep everyone safe at the same time.
Bespoke Cloth Face Mask: $25
Available in accordion or fitted styles with adjustable now bridges and ear straps. Handcrafted and custom made to order. Price includes complimentary shipping in the contiguous US. Please allow 1-2 weeks for lead time.
Add Embroidered Monogram: $5
Dog Scarves: $15.
Sharing stories that are inspired by a lifelong love of the riding horse. "I believe that living an authentic equestrian lifestyle is not necessarily correlated with sitting astride. Rather, it is a personal expression, through work and leisure, that defines our connection to this culture"
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