Meet Eloise Stevenson: Hunter, Jumper, impeccably styled mom and inspiring creative soul.
When asking Eloise about her introduction to horses, her mother told her she fondly recalls hearing the clatter of hooves coming through the village as Eloise sat up in her pram completely captivated, drawing in the sight, the smells and the sound, the wonder of it all. For her, the world of horses had begun.
As some of you will know, one of the worst forms of torture is having the ‘horse bug’ yet no access to real horses. Books, toys, broomsticks, treasured Sunday afternoon viewings of International Velvet or showjumping coverage from the Hickstead Derby – feeding the addiction yet adding to the agony!
From the age of 10 Eloise’s best friend Kate and she had weekly riding lessons at Burstow Park in Sussex, UK. A couple of years later, the recession hit England and her father was made redundant. Horse time came to a grinding halt. Kate’s mum observed Eloise’s plight and reached out to a family friend who had a teenage daughter Sami and a divine steel grey welsh mountain pony Jester. An arrangement was made that she could have a lesson with Sami on Jester each Saturday morning for 3GBP. Jester was a dream pony! She enjoyed mucking out, feeding, hoof care, all of it… Eloise lived for the school holidays where Sami’s family would go abroad and casually ask her if she would care for the dream pony. Yes please!
Unfortunately, at a certain moment in time, her friend Kate’s family had purchased Jester and would be keeping him at Sami’s. Sami’s parents had designs on a new 14.2h palomino for her and the little grey superstar was to become Kate’s first pony. Gulping back tears, smiling obediently at her elders, Eloise nodded blindly at their promises of sharing. One thing she remembers so vividly about her childhood is just so vehemently wishing to be older, to earn her own money, enough to fill her world with one of these magnificent, gentle creatures that give so much clarity to life.
Throughout school she leased and loaned various mounts, usually ones for sale or rejected horses that no one cared for, grabbing the chance to ride at competitons and gymkhanas whenever she could. Eloise began her A-Levels excelling very much in creative writing (fantasy brain!) but gave up after a year. She just wanted to grow up….. fast. Unwisely, only weeks into her first job, she made her first horse purchase! A quiet OTTB called Summer. Things were off to a rocky start, when she came to Eloise she was wearing 12 week old racing plates. The local farrier unsympathetically shod her and her heel cracked away from her hoof right up to the the coronet….. life with Summer was always a bit like that. Hours and hours spent on the train to see her, working hard for a horse that in Winter she would only see in the dark morning and evening hours, plus a lot of vets bills.
On the other side of life for Eloise, was the fashion she was exposed to in London: mind-blowing! She dabbled with a bit of modelling, alongside some really cool jobs and and learnt to recognise looks from the great couture labels and fashion houses. She revelled in any job where she would come into contact with these beautiful luxurious, historic brands – constantly drawing on European, sporting, equestrian style and heritage looks. Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Aquascutum were at the forefront of her mind.
Escaping the rat race, Eloise arrived in New Zealand in 2005. She can honestly say the moment she got there, her body and mind sighed a breath of relief. Although she had only come to New Zealand on holiday she knew she should never leave. There were huge opportunities for her there – her family were amazing and fully supported her decision to stay. New Zealand has the biggest beating green heart that everybody shares. Outsiders and Insiders alike.
Six months on she met her husband Adam. “I remember his curiosity when I said I needed a horse in my life” she said. Together they purchased their much respected cremello Othello. Her biggest thrill was found at the Waitemata Hunt. A local drag hunt that rides twice a week in the season over full wire fence jumps and spars. The night after her first hunt she laid awake reliving every jump, every gallop. The camaraderie, the fun! Othy, not overly surefooted but keen, loved every moment too.
On Eloise’s 30th birthday her husband acknowledged that it was time to look for a serious & talented hunt horse. She knew the sturdy yet athletic stationbred breed would be right for her and with a healthy horse budget in her back pocket she contacted various hunt clubs in the North Island of New Zealand… leading her to her impeccable ready made hunter Rua.
Rua spent the first 10 years of his life on a 2000 acre farm, mustering sheep and cattle yet still attending all the big showjumping and showhunter events. What a mix! On the hunt field he is cool and calm. He jumps every obstacle with ease and scope, is resourceful with his energy and stands beautifully when required allowing Eloise to delicately sip from her hip flask. Not only is he a pushbutton hunter but a talented eventing horse too. His attitude to cross country is completely unflappable, never faltering and relishing the challenge of a good combination. So, this story has the happiest of endings! Everyday is a glorious adventure – this girl found her horses and her human prince and they are all living happily ever after with a beautiful daughter, her only credible distraction from riding!
“An equestrian life brings a world of associated style, what better hobby could there be where you can empower yourself on a daily basis in tight pants and long leather boots!” Eloise said, and we of the stylish equestrian community can only agree! When it comes to colour Eloise generally leads a monochrome life with a few stunning and stand out shades of exception.
Like her style? Here are all the details:
Eloise’s everyday helmet is a KEP Italia, which of course we had to include in the look. According to Eloise KEP does wonders for your street cred: “who wouldn’t want something as shiny as the front of an Audi keeping their head safe?” She needs her boots to be slim at the ankle and long in the leg. So we went for a pair of Alberto Fasciani field boots: boots that come right up to the knee when sitting in the saddle and don’t shave off your ankle skin when walking the course 😉
For hunting Eloise likes to wear Eurostar Laura as they have a fullseat breech in the most flattering shade of beige/olive green, acceptable as hunt attire and more flattering than plain beige on a grey horse.
Eloise likes to wear classic lightweight long-sleeved shirts when hacking her horses, she also loves the Ariat sunstoppers, but for this look we went for the all-time favourite: a classic white ‘the shirt’ by Rochelle Behrens. The sun in New Zealand is seriously intense – you can be burnt in minutes while out riding even in winter, so long sleeves and covering her neck and collarbone is important to Eloise otherwise she’ll end up with dreadful tshirt lines when she needs to wear a pretty dress. Nothing better than a Hermes vintage scarf for this purpose. A statement belt is the cherry on top when wearing breeches, for Eloise this is a chance to team more classic leathers and styles with technical fabrics, thats why we went for a Gucci double G logo leather belt for this look.
In her experience the best gloves are Roeckl, serious style in small sizes. And for Eloise a vest or a gilet like this Belstaff cricket summer waistcoat is an essential item for those chillier mornings, evenings or to block a generous sea breeze.
The importance of a phone accommodating pocket cannot be underrated although not all breeches or vests have one – this is where the rider wristlet by Black Knight Accessories comes into play.
To finish off Eloise’s look we had to add one of her favourite accessories: the Swatch watch: durable, cute, stylish and affordable and of course a pair of stylish shades by Prada to protect het eyes in style from the beaming New Zealand sun.
A very big thank you for Eloise’s passion to make this a very special post. Make sure to follow her on instagram!
Have a stylish ride!