Saturday, 5 May 2012

in honour of derby day – equestrian chic

Today’s post brought to you by Kelly

In honour of today’s Kentucky Derby, here’s a replay of the equestrian-inspired blog post I wrote at JAX does design last February…

Inspired by Big Red: A twist on equestrian chic

Last night, hubby and I watched Secretariat. OMG, what a great movie! Diane Lane is wonderful as Penny Chenery, and all the beautiful horses… *SIGH* But you don’t have to be a horse-lover to enjoy the movie – it’s as much about the strength and drive of a woman succeeding in a man’s world as it is about horses.


In case you aren’t familiar with Secretariat's story, Penny Chenery (on behalf of her dad, Christopher) won him before he was actually born in a coin flip in 1969 – although she actually lost the flip to Ogden Phipps, who at the time was the richest man in America. Too bad for Mr. Phipps, he selected the wrong foal! Ms. Chenery traveled back and forth from her home in Colorado to her family’s Meadow Stable in Virginia, living a double-life (in a good way!) as a wife & mom to four kids and the owner of a race horse.

secretariat and penny comfrey cottagesPenny Chenery & Secretariat {image via Comfrey Cottages}

The rest, as they say, is history. Secretariat went on to be what many consider to be the greatest racehorse of all time. He won the 1973 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and then absolutely demolished the field in the Belmont, leading the race almost entirely from start to finish and winning by 31 lengths. He’s one of only 11 horses to win the Triple Crown – a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since Affirmed won it in 1978. And his winning times in the Derby and Belmont still stand as the fastest to this day, almost 40 years later.

Secretariat_Preakness lost past rememberedSecretariat & Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte in the 1973 Preakness Stakes {image via Lost Past Remembered}

Sadly, Secretariat had to be put down in 1989 after a battle with a hoof disease called laminitis. Doctors performed a necropsy, and discovered that Secretariat's heart was literally twice the weight of an average horse’s heart. But then, Secretariat wasn’t an average horse :-)

secretariat northwest2 tboSecretariat, aka Big Red, 1970 – 1989 {Image via}

In honour of the beautiful chestnut horse they called Big Red, I’ve put together some equestrian-related interior design pictures, but with a bit of a twist. Instead of rooms that include horse art, sculptures, or memorabilia, these are rooms with design elements that to me that have the essence of the whole equestrian feel.

Sliding wood barn doors…

sliding barn door digdigsImage via DigsDigs

Wood-paneled rooms…

library velvet and linen
Image vie Velvet & Linen

Well-worn leather chairs…

leather chair practical enrichment
Image via Practical Enrichment

Polished brass…

kitchen brass fittings the sumply luxurious life
Image via The Simply Luxurious Life


Image via Auction Decorating

Cast iron… 

Dining-Rustic house and homeImage via House & Home


dining room sense of style interiors
Image via Sense of Style Interiors

Navajo-style blankets…

NavajoSaddle-lg kris abshire
Image via Kris Abshire

And a few literal takes on equestrian chic that caught my eye…

farmhouse interior design daily

walls dankton

boots dresser apt therapy

saddle best luxury interior designImages via Interior Design Daily, Dankton, Apartment Therapy, and Best Luxury Interior Design

What says equestrian chic to you?

kelly sig


  1. Beautiful post. I love the diningroom table shown in the House and Home shot! Haven't seen Secretariat yet so thank you for the reminder.

  2. I love anything equestrian!! I was actually at the Hastings track yesterday watching the Kentucky derby and doing a little betting on horses. I just love it!!! Equestrian boots are my fave.

  3. Kelly you post the most drool worthy decor photos! I love those sliding rustic!

  4. Beautiful horse - sounds like my sort of film !

  5. I have got to do a barn door somewhere one of these days!

  6. Actually Kelly, one of the few things I collect is statues of horses. Love equestrian elements as there is something very warm about it. GREAT POST!

  7. This is the type of information I’ve long been trying to find. Thank you for writing this information.