Equestrian Inspiration

The Susan Shaw Equestrian Collection is inspired by those who live their lives around horses. From the serious rider or horse show enthusiast, to the well-dressed Kentucky Derby spectator, they all have a love for horses and their sport. A sport filled with tradition, that exudes grace and beauty.
IMG_0146Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who we know to have been a graceful first lady, grew up riding and competing in horse shows and was a very successful equestrienne. Below she is jumping her beloved horse, Danseuse.

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Horse shows demand exquisite poise and performance from both horse and rider. The photo below was taken at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington Florida, a well-known and prestigious horse show that runs from January- March and just finished this weekend with a $500,000 Grand Prix sponsored by Rolex. This festival in palm beach is known for attracting riders from all ages, abilities and disciplines. Of these horse show disciplines, the main include the Hunter, Jumper, and Dressage categories. Dressage focuses on the control and command a rider has over his/her horse. And while both Hunter and Jumper disciplines have jumps, Jumping focuses more on time and accuracy and Hunter is judged based more on the horse’s form.

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The sport is quite fascinating and it’s no wonder horses serve as a beautiful subject for jewelry design. Susan’s equestrian jewelry incorporates various silver and gold horse intaglios as well as some that have been hand-painted, like on the necklace below.

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Horse bits, saddles and horseshoes are also part of the collection.
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The intaglios feature horse heads and jumping horses as well as racing horses. At a horse race, like a horse show, the horses are not the only ones who are well groomed. Fashion plays and large role among spectators at the races. Hats and elegant clothing are a staple at the race track.53__B2_7607.e436be60dbbdf11a05b177d82372aaae

Whether you’re in the horse world or not, you’ve surely heard of the most famous horse race, the Kentucky Derby. And Derby Day is almost here! On the first Saturday in May, the 142nd annual Kentucky Derby will be run at Churchill Downs outside of Louisville, Kentucky. This event is often called “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”

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The winner will be awarded the garland of roses along with a large cash prize and a chance at the Triple Crown. The Triple Crown requires the horse to win the Kentucky Derby, then two weeks later win the Preakness Stakes, and then three weeks later win the Belmont Stakes.  In all of racing history, only twelve horses have achieved the Triple Crown. Last year, American Pharaoh won a Triple Crown and was the fist horse to achieve this since 1978.

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Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte, the winner of the Derby in 1973 went on to win the Triple Crown that year

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Crowds gather in the spring weather to sip mint juleps, watch the races and hope to win big on a long shot bet.

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The horses have been training for this for their entirety of their 3-year life and have been racing in official Derby prep races for the last 7 months only to have their fate decided in those two minutes of performance.

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LeRoy Neiman’s “Four Jockeys 1974” hangs in Susan’s dining room
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English oil painting in Susan Shaw’s home of a horse and jockey

Jockeys, who must weigh in at the Derby at 126lbs including their gear, must be able to control a horse circling the track at 40 miles per hour. It’s an amazing feat to be so strong – especially at such a small size.

LOUISVILLE, KY - MAY 03: Kent Desormeaux (2nd L), riding #20 Big Brown, leads out of turn 4 durinng the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Big Brown went on to win the Derby. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Each time we make and ship an equestrian piece, it’s exciting to think about where it will end up. Will it be off to the races? To the Wellington, Florida horse shows or other prestigious horse shows around the country? Or tucked in to the jodhpurs pocket of an up-and-coming rider? Or simply a special part of a horse lover’s collection?

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For all of the horse-lovers, riders, and spectators out there, we hope you enjoy this collection as much as we enjoy crafting it. And for those who have had a love for these majestic animals buried in their past, maybe it’s time to get back on the horse.

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xoxo

Susan Shaw Jewelry

P.S. The Equestrian collection can be found in our many retailers as well as online @LaurenLondon

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