Vicky Moon’s latest book “Equestrian Style — Home Design, Couture, and Collections from Eclectic to the Elegant” is about people who have such a passion for horses that they decorate their homes with fabrics, paintings, prints, trophies and architectural details that reflect their love of all things equine.
The chapters of the book include so many interior and exterior photographs of the homes, farms and mansions of fox hunting, polo and race horse enthusiasts that you’ll feel like you’ve been invited into their inner sanctum. There are chapters of equestrian fashions, jockey silks and collections. And, as you might anticipate, Saratoga Springs — where Moon has been part of the summer scene for 27 years — is featured in the book.
Specifically, several carriage houses transformed by architect Tom Frost into private homes are featured. Carriage houses and even a few barns are not uncommon in the city that boasts a race course, harness track, and nearby polo field.
What makes for an equestrian style?
Part of it is the choice of accessories, from paintings of horses, dogs and jockeys to throw pillows to sculptures. In some cases, there are silver trophies, jockey bookends and British figurines of mares and foals. Other more architectural elements add to the character. For example, in Frost’s home on Starbuck Lane the upstairs loft — an area once meant for hay and which later served as the gardener’s quarters — old sliding stall doors with attractive ironwork have been installed as the doors to the den.
Equestrian style is something you know when you see it, Moon said. “You can’t try too hard. You have to love it,” she added. The people featured in her book definitely love being surrounded by their passion.
Moon’s book offers proof, through photograph after photograph of richly designed interiors as well as exquisite shots of pastoral properties. The rooms featured show layers upon layers of a relaxed, yet very elegant lifestyle.
Moon said, equestrian style “evolves. I’ve been around it all my life. My mother had race horses. I grew up in a horsey home. It is part of who I am.”
Moon is married to Washington Post sports editor, Lenny Shapiro. She said she got lucky when writing the book. “A lot of people I’ve known for years said yes” when she asked to include their homes.
In addition to offering a peek inside the homes, stables and barns of people prominent in their sport, Moon’s book also offers advice caring for treasures such as personal paintings and books.
If you’re interested in bringing a little equine style into your home, this is a book full of ideas you may want to copy. Imitation is the sincerest compliment after all.
For example, one photo shows a quilt on a child’s bed festooned with ribbons presumably won by the young equestrian. Another example is the home of Sharon Maloney, which exhibits her love of art and antiques as well as horses and dogs. The photographs show the family’s long relationship with race and show horses.
In other pages, the book introduces equestrian artists and shows them at work. You’ll read stories of some truly horsey people. One of whom permits the horse in the house — a converted barn. And others who own driving horses and carriages fit for royalty.
There are chapters featuring silks and satins that explains that the colorful patterns of jockey’s silks date to October 1762, “when the British Jockey Club introduced the concept to an elite groups including seven dukes, four earls, two baronets, one marquis, one viscount and one lord. The objective was to avoid confusion among spectators and the owners themselves in differentiating riders and horses.”
In all likelihood, you’ll find yourself picking up this book time and again and perusing its pages, each time learning a little about the sport of kings while admiring the elegant equine decor.
The colorful photographs and well-researched text place this book in the winner’s circle for horse lovers.