National Champions: Meet the First US Equestrian Team

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by Charlie Cooke,

First Published: 1 Aug, 2022

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The first ever US Equestrian team to be spotted wearing Fairfax & Favor has, quite naturally, brought home not only the National Champions Title but also the Spirit Award. This is the first time a school has ever won both!

Congratulations to Auburn University Eventing, you did your tassels proud.

Want to know more? Read all about it here: Auburn University Wins 2022 USEA Intercollegiate Championships

Check out that Fairfax & Favor+AU Spirit! We also see some additional homemade tassels we quite enjoy…

But we’re leading with the spoilers here. Let us go back to the beginning… did you know that Fairfax & Favor is available in the US now?

A New Era for US Equestrian Style

Fairfax & Favor is, in heart, history, style and personality, a luxury British brand. And England has a long history of dressing up for our horses. We take every opportunity to show off hundreds of years’ worth of riding in style, whether it is at the Queen’s Jubilee, Ascot or Rockingham, or in our own backyards.

So we are absolutely loving this next step in the Fairfax & Favor journey, which finally takes us across the pond to our partners in adoring all things horse-y, and shows the world that British style has a place everywhere.

Kentucky Marcus at the Kentucky Horse Trials, with our lovely sponsored riders from Auburn University.

According to our representatives in the US, American riders in the are more than ready to start opening blue boxes:

"Really there isn’t much equestrian style in the USA… yet. People will come to the big events in wellies and jeans. They want to dress up but don’t have access to products that are stylish and durable. F&F is going to fill that gap."

We strongly believe that all horses deserve riders who look this good.

Fairfax and Favor have been co-hosting stands with Hound and Hare at the Kentucky Horse Trials, and more recently we decided to sponsor wonderful teams (or clubs, as they are apparently called) such as Auburn University as they compete at an Intercollegiate level.

"For me, F&F is synonymous with equestrian style due to its presence at the largest events in the world. Marcus and I wanted to create that feel on a smaller scale with the University Sponsorship Program. Auburn University was a logical one to test it with due to their powerful presence in the University Eventing scene and their close proximity to me, so it was easy to iron out any kinks. The program has been a huge success and we will be looking to expand it in the fall." - Hanna Miller

As part of our exciting expansion into the US, Fairfax & Favor will be sponsoring more US Equestrian teams like Auburn University, so watch this space for our other sponsored teams.

Meanwhile, let’s get to know the winners, shall we?

Meet Gabrielle Yashinsky

Gabrielle just graduated with a degree in Microbiology. She rode Sky Full of Stars Z, a 5-year-old Zangershiede gelding she calls Teddy for his cuddly personality.

Gabrielle’s goal for the weekend was to have a fun, successful final championship with the team, as she is President this year. Auburn brought a total of six teams to the USEA Intercollegiate Championship, and Gabrielle was in the War Eagle’s team, which also happened to be the team that brought the victory home for Auburn!

And since Auburn also won the Spirit Cup… we can’t imagine that Gabrielle could have ended this championship on a better note.

What is Gabrielle’s usual style and what does she like best about her new Fairfax & Favor Gear?

“My normal clothing style is fairly casual, especially to the barn, so my favourite thing about the gear is that it’s cute, comfortable, and practical all in one! I love the preppy look.”

If Gabrielle could pick another Fairfax & Favor item to own, which would it be?

“I am obsessed with the Boudica ankle boot. I would definitely love to own a pair of those.”

Meet Suzanne Hillhouse

Suzanne is a 5th year majoring in Finance. Her horse, FGF Bob’n for Silver, is a 10-year-old Thoroughbred gelding. He is known as Sullivan, or Sully, after the monster in Monster’s Inc because he’s a friendly giant at 18-hands tall.

(We’re just loving these Barn names, but more importantly have you seen Sully’s gorgeous paint job in the picture above? No wonder Auburn won the Spirit Award: Sully is almost as stylish as his rider…).

Suzanne is already looking forward to intercollegiate championships 2023 but she is nervous for the Champagne Run in July at the Kentucky Horse Park.

How does Suzanne feel about winning the Spirit Award?

“I don’t think we would act any differently, with or without the Spirit Award. We always go to represent Auburn the best way we can. But to be recognised for our energy is awesome! This year the Intercollegiate Championship Spirit Award was judged slightly differently, with a variety of competitions like stall decorating and a relay… but I think my favourite part was the dance we did at the talent show. We had a lot of fun as a team, and we were pretty good I think, but I definitely wouldn’t say we dance better than we ride!”

What is Suzanne’s usual style and what does she like best about her new Fairfax & Favor Gear?

“If I am not in riding clothes you can find me in athletic/comfy clothes. The boots are of course to die for but I honestly wear my belt the most, it goes with almost all of my riding gear. I’m a sucker for navy, and with the gold buckle, I just love it.”

If Suzanne could pick another Fairfax & Favor item to own, which would it be?

“Recently at Land Rover Kentucky 3 Day Event, I was in the Fairfax & Favor booth and spotted the Brancaster sandal in tan and navy and the Alexandra in tan and navy and since then I’ve been obsessed with both!”

Meet Emily Kuras

Emily Kuras is a graduate student studying veterinary medicine. She rides Monbeg Apollo 11, a 5-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding who is also known as Clifford after the giant red dog. With his gorgeous colouring, we can see why.

Emily started riding Arabians when she was just five-years-old, but she didn’t start competing until four years ago when her best friend invited her to an event. This weekend, Emily not only competed but also won in the Graduate Division at the Championships.

What is Emily’s usual style and what does she like best about her new Fairfax & Favor Gear?

“I like to keep it clean and classic, and I have to admit I probably go for comfortable and functional first. So I love how comfortable and quality all the F&F gear is! The Charlotte Gilet is my go-to in the cooler months.”

If Emily could pick another Fairfax & Favor item to own, which would it be?

“I’ve been looking at the Alexandra sneaker for a while… maybe the new cornflower and mango colours are the excuse I need!”

Meet Jennifer Mulholland

Jennifer is a 5th year majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in German. She will be competing her 18-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, Casanova, in the Prelim Division.

Casanova doesn’t have a Barn name… with that loveable face, he’s clearly got the perfect name already.

Their goal for the weekend was to have a double clear cross county run. Jennifer has been Social Media Chairman the last few years and will be the Treasurer this coming school year.

“Being a part of the team has contributed so much to my college experience. It has given me so many friends that I never would have met. It has also given me the drive to keep competing even during more difficult times at college.”

What is Jennifer’s usual style and what does she like best about her new Fairfax & Favor Gear?

“I like to look nice at the barn, always have a nicer shirt tucked in and a belt to match. Away from the barn I’m pretty casual, usually sporting the shorts and t-shirt look. I love love love the Charlotte gilet!! I tend to be quite cold so I wear it all the time at the barn!”

If Jennifer could pick another Fairfax & Favor item to own, which would it be?

“I love the full length coat that is the same style as the gilet… I think it’s the longline? I don’t think even I could feel cold in that coat.”

Meet Stephanie Lambert

Stephanie is a third-year student studying occupational therapy. She rides Godiva Chocolate, a 15-year old Thoroughbred mare, and this weekend Stephanie rode with a broken hand!

Godiva Chocolate is also known as Luna, because she’s dark like the night sky and also because her previous name was Diva. Stephanie said, “I felt like I had to change that or I would encourage her to be even more of a diva than she already is!”

This is Stephanie’s second championship representing Auburn University. She was also the fundraising chairman for the Eventing Team this past year and will be vice president of the team in the fall.

What is Stephanie’s usual style and what does she like best about her new Fairfax & Favor Gear?

“My usual clothing style is probably pretty basic or southern, I guess? Not sure I have much style… fingers crossed Fairfax & Favor can help me with that. My favourite thing about my Fairfax & Favor gear is probably the navy details. I love navy so my Hampton belt and navy tassels are probably my favourite.”

If Stephanie could pick another Fairfax & Favor item to own, which would it be?

“I’m eyeing a pair of heeled Regina’s in navy right now. Oops… navy again!”

Meet Alayna Backel

Alayna is a Sophomore majoring in Animal Sciences, Pre-Vet. She will be competing Beginner Novice with Oliver Twist, a 17-year-old Halflinger gelding. Alayna has only been riding this pony, who belongs to her trainer’s daughter, for a week as her own gelding is on break.

Before the event, Alayna said that, “the event I am probably most nervous for dressage because it can be challenging, but the event I am looking most forward to is cross country because of how much fun Ollie is to jump.”

And it turns out Alayna was right to look forward to the cross country, as it was her and Ollie’s clear cross country run that secured the win for Auburn University at the Championship!

What does Alayna feel about Eventing?

“Joining the team my freshman year was the best thing I could’ve done. It has helped surround me with people who share the same goals as me. Everyone on the team helps support each other no matter what—horse or human problem—and having a strong system like that is so hard to find. I’m so happy I am a part of the Auburn eventing team because of the school I represent and the people I do it with.”

What is Alayna’s usual style and what does she like best about her new Fairfax & Favor Gear?

“I like to be able to mix it up a bit, so I love the versatility of the designs. I’m able to wear so many different outfits with my boots because of their interchangeable tassels, and my belt dresses up any outfit perfectly!”

If Alayna could pick another Fairfax & Favor item to own, which would it be?

“I’m eyeing up the Chocolate Windsor handbag!”

If you, like us before we met Hanna, know little to nothing about US eventing, head to this helpful ‘Guide to Intercollegiate Eventing’ article here.

If you want to see the full scores from the weekend, check them out here.

If you are simply curious about the team, keep an eye on our club page as the ladies are all joining and excited to become a real part of the Fairfax & Favor community.

Who wore it best though?

Photos by: Elizabeth Daniel, Emily Hillhouse, and Finch Photography.

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