STYLE STAR SEARCH: KAELYA MARKL

My Favorite Equestrian Piece

By Kaelya Markl

Being a hunter rider by trade, there isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to expressing one’s style. When I was 12, my trainer nearly fainted when I brought back spurs with four, yes FOUR, little pink rhinestones beautifully adorning my outer heal from our annual trip down the road to the St. Clement’s Saratoga horse show. For most of my childhood, equestrian fashion was about function.

Enter ribbon belts. From the preppy alligators and flamingos to the classic ginghams and stripes, these innovations in waist wear could be as crazy as my heart desired and they would always be covered by my hunt coat.

My mother and I began creating our own belts. I would choose the exact ribbon and she would cut and sew the ribbon into the perfect one of a kind belt.  We bonded over it. My friends started wearing them, we got them embroidered, my Mom even wore them!! No outfit was complete without one of these customized belts. Today, I’ve outgrown these ribbon belts but my Mom still creates my surcingle belts that I wear almost every day.

Of course, I could say how much I love my Gersemi soft-shell jacket or my beautiful LeFash breeches, but someone I love contributing to something I wear, means more to me than I previously realized. My collection of handmade Mom belts is my favorite part of my equestrian closet.

Kaelya Markl bio

I began my riding career at age 6 on the infamous pony Cinnamon, at Quiet Run Farm, in Middle Grove, NY. Melissa Morrell and Maureen Gilloly masterfully guided me throughout the ranks of short stirrup through pony hunters to the equitation and jumpers beyond. In college, I competed for the Morrisville State College IHSA hunt seat team as an open rider. After graduating with an Equine Business degree, I was hired in St. Augustine, FL for my first professional riding job. In 2011, I was honored to accept a position with Todd Minikus until I moved on to ride for a beautiful private facility in Naples, FL.

After an injury, in 2014, temporarily sidelined my professional riding career, I turned to my second passion, fashion in hopes of finding a life out of the saddle. I founded my fashion blog kaelya.com as a way to showcase and document my attainable style. Styling looks and creating photo shoots was my way of coping with chronic pain. After completing an incredible pain rehabilitation program at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL in 2016, I was able to return to horses full time. Equestrian style became a natural progression. I love branching my attraction to deals to everything horse related and enjoy sharing all of my tips and tricks for creating the perfect ROOTD on a budget!

Currently, I work with the super talented horses at Brookwood Farm Sport Horses in Conyers, GA. They are a sales operation that works strictly with rehoming and retraining off the track thoroughbreds, something that is close to my heart, growing up in Saratoga Springs, NY. I live with my husband in Atlanta, GA  with our two rescue dogs, Daphne and Pancake. We hope to  someday have a farm of our own and start an animal rescue!