Piper and Traci Brooks speak with Heather and Chase Boggio about being competitive amateur jumper riders while juggling work and school. We also talk with Jessica Andrews about her size inclusive athletic fashion brand, Eques Pante. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!
GUESTS AND LINKS EPISODE 315:
This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.
Piper Klemm [00:00:34] This is the Plaidcast. I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of the Plaid Horse Magazine, and coming up today on episode 315, we’re going to talk to three amateur riders who have found different balance in the horse show industry. I’m joined today by my co-host, Traci Brookes of Balmoral Farm. And this episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services.
Piper Klemm [00:01:03] Welcome back to the Plaidcast, Traci.
Traci Brooks [00:01:05] Thanks, Piper. Happy to be here.
Piper Klemm [00:01:07] So we’ve had some exciting news in the last week with With Purpose the Balmoral Standard. Do you want to share?
Traci Brooks [00:01:15] Yes, we are the number one equestrian book on Amazon! Yay!!
Piper Klemm [00:01:23] Yup, on Audible and the number one new release, the number one horse book and the number one wish listed book of so the book that people wished for that they haven’t gotten yet all on audible and we’re in the mix on the Kindle rankings and the overall book rankings. So With Purpose, it’s just kind of shot up there. Over the last week, all copies have been delivered to everyone.
Traci Brooks [00:01:51] So much fun. I just ran into my UPS guy and he brought me many boxes, so I hope people keep buying the book because he just delivered 11 boxes of books.
Piper Klemm [00:02:02] Amazing. Well, we’ll be seeing people at thermal and I’m sure a lot of people will get theirs there and get their signed. And then the PCHA banquet clinic, whole weekend event at at L.A. Equestrian Center, January 6th through eighth. So we hope to see you all there. So we’ll have plenty of books there also. So it’s happening.
Traci Brooks [00:02:28] Yes, I hope everyone wants it, because otherwise it’s going to be wallpaper in my house and nobody wants that.
Piper Klemm [00:02:40] Even worse, it could be wallpaper at my house.
Traci Brooks [00:02:43] That would be extra terrible. That would be extra bad. But I think I think the PCHA event is going to be really great.
Piper Klemm [00:02:51] It’s a really cool concept and it’s so nice that that the PCHA group is thinking about doing something different than having kind of that that awards ceremony that’s fallen a little out of vogue and really making it a learning experience where people can meet new people and go to amazing clinics and network and see the college fair. And I really, really appreciate the PCHA president Georgy Maskrey-Segesman and everyone on the PCHA team to try to make something new and really live in and freshen up and make it about horsemanship.
Traci Brooks [00:03:31] Yes. I love that they’re crossing over and transcending disciplines and just making it about good horsemanship. I think that’s so great.
Piper Klemm [00:03:39] Yeah. And I think we’re all surprised at how much we have in common when we when we really dive into it.
Traci Brooks [00:03:45] It’s so true. All of all of the main cornerstones, I think are the same. And a good horse is a good horse in any discipline. And a good horse person is a good horse person. And I think the level of knowledge and the respect across that, like it’s, it’s, it’s all the same. Like you made a good, you made a good Western reining person or you made a good saddle bred trainer or good racehorse trainer. And I think. It’s there’s a link, there’s just a common thread with the care of the horse and putting the horse first. So I think it’ll be a super interesting event.
Piper Klemm [00:04:20] Absolutely. And we always talk about the old way of doing things versus a new way of doing things. But I think as we get into the new way of doing things, we’ve become so specialized and we’re trying to be so extremely good at some things that it’s really easy to lose sight of not losing all of the other things and in gaining the one thing we want. I know that there was a lot of drama on the Internet about Karl Cook riding his mare in the victory gallop. And and, you know, there’s a lot of stuff going around in all directions. But what it really made me think of like, are we really breeding horses to jump so big and be so hot and so careful? You know, when does that horse become unrideable?
Traci Brooks [00:05:09] Right. And I think it just depends on a horse like that is a specialized horse, and it depends on whose hands it’s in. If it’s in the wrong hands, it’s unrideable immediately. And I think it just depends on the chemistry of the match and knowing what works for you and knowing what works for that horse.
Piper Klemm [00:05:29] Absolutely. And, you know, and thinking about this was a holistic experience and like what responsibility is it on the breeders to put them into the right hands and what tools and coping mechanisms, you know, do they need to instill in them as ethical breeders? And I think about this and everything from. From saddles and how much saddles have changed, but then how much of a bigger deal saddle fit has become as saddles have changed because as the stuff becomes more specialized, that it almost introduces new issues into just about everything. And we were talking a little bit about I had never seen really until this year horses doing equitation finals with with the hairy square where the spurs go like the spur rub rest patch not clipped off. And, and people are so afraid right now to have any mark on them as they should be. But but even just thinking about how the construction of tall boots have changed and I’ve had so many people say ‘I don’t even wear spurs and they get rubs!’ you know, and how much of that is how much more we clip and and condition of the hair and condition of the skin and how much more we horseshow and bathe and all that stuff. And on the flipside, like how much of it is that our boots are that much softer and ready to wear and they, you know, sag and move and, you know, have creases and, you know, because if your boot molds into a way, if you’re a very soft leather boot when you wear it the first few times, molds into a way where it makes a crease in a weird spot. It can it can cause a rub on a horse’s side, especially on sensitive skin. So there’s in making this sport so much more specialized and so much more convenient for the rider. We’ve introduced so many interesting things.
Traci Brooks [00:07:23] Yes it is going back to the breeders and it being their responsibility, I think. Yes, to a degree. But I think if if a breeder is is wanting to breed at a really special, high octane, powerful horse. Is it their responsibility to to decide who buys it? I mean, anyone can buy it, but I think it’s the the buyer’s responsibility as well and the trainer’s responsibility to know what kind of horse they’re shopping for and the appropriate type of horse for the appropriate rider. So I think I think all of that goes on both sides.
Piper Klemm [00:08:00] Absolutely. And it’s all of our responsibility making this industry better and having the best life for the horses we possibly can because. You know, it’s if we don’t do it, nobody else is going to do it. The horses can’t speak for themselves.
Traci Brooks [00:08:18] No. No. And and we also talked about you and I actually had this conversation back in the day everyone rode thoroughbreds and no one wore spurs and nobody had spur rubs. And now we have a lot quieter horses that are doing a lot more and they’re much more prepared and trained. So of course, they’re going to have rubs on their sides just from friction alone.
Piper Klemm [00:08:44] Absolutely. And, you know, it’s such a different number of classes, number of horse shows, number of everything. And and our saddles are very different. And everything about how everything fits for the rider and the horse has has been, quote unquote, optimized, you know, just like footing’s been optimized. But but we’re seeing different things injected than ever. We’re seeing people trying to show more than ever. It’s like it’s you think about all the advances with with the sneaker and human forms and stuff, but like, we really don’t run any faster than we did. You know, thinking about all this stuff, it’s pretty interesting.
Traci Brooks [00:09:24] It is. And I can’t tell you how many people have said to me in the last week that they’re getting a new knee. So is it is it better in the long run? Because we just put we do more because we can. And then we put a lot of wear and tear on ourselves and probably our horses. Is it better? I don’t know. It’s more it’s more. I don’t know if it’s better.
Piper Klemm [00:09:44] Yes. So many things to think about as we go on to the new year and how we can be ethical stewards of our horses and how we can make the best decisions for them and. Really, really take our time and do things right. And but at the same time, like not baby or coddle our horses or our young humans or, you know, letting people out there to try things and do things. It’s it’s such an interesting balance.
Traci Brooks [00:10:14] It is. It is hard to know in the moment if you’re doing the right thing. It’s always easy to see in hindsight with a horse or with a child or anything. But when you’re in the moment, it’s it’s hard to just have that perspective and nobody has a crystal ball. And I think we all have good intentions and sometimes we wish we would have done things differently. And hopefully we can just keep learning from that, doing the best we can.
Piper Klemm [00:10:39] Absolutely. Well, we’re going to close out the year with a couple of fun interviews with some amateurs, and that’s really our goal on the plaidcast, to hear about everyone’s experiences and and how they how they tackle all of the trials and tribulations our industry has to offer. So we’re really excited to close out a great year. I think we had our best interviews ever on the paidcast. We had a really amazing guest and thank you, Traci, for for joining us and thank you everybody else who’s joined us listening and Tonya Johntson, who does her Inside Your Ride plaidcast every month, and other co-hosts Michael Tokaruk, and Catie Staszak. And I hope everyone’s resolution is is to be the best horse carer they can possibly be in 2023.
Piper Klemm [00:13:35] Heather Hooker Boggio is a third generation horse girl who grew up in Wellington, Florida, with her parents, Nancy and Tim, and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, horses and spoiled dog. In her junior years, she grew up riding with Sharon Hardy Coal and then Scott Stewart and Ken Berkeley. She won tri colors in the Junior Hunters, a prestigious shows like the Washington International Horse Show and the National Horse Show. She was WEF Circuit champion in the Amateur Hunters, USEF Horse of the Year in the Amateur Jumpers and winner of the Washington International Horse Show, Senators Cup. She was also captain at the University of Virginia polo team in college. Now Heather competes with her husband Chase in Grand Prix and high amateur jumpers on the weekends. Professionally, Heather worked in management consulting for two years at Deloitte and then strategy and corporate development for three years doing mergers and acquisitions, venture investing and organic strategy development for $5 billion data and software company. She is now in business school at Emory getting her MBA and will be joining Boston Consulting Group after graduation this summer. Chase Baggio is an amateur jump rider based out of his family’s Arbor Hill farm in Canton, Georgia. As a junior, Chase won the 2009 North American Equitation Championship and the 2011 Washington International Equitation finals, USEF Talent Search Gold Medal and Team Gold Medal at the North American Young Rider Championships. Chase also placed second and fourth in the ASPCA Maclay final in 2009 and 2011. In addition to earning numerous Junior Hunter and junior jumper wins at the Winter equestrian festival, Harrisburg, Washington and the National Horse Show. While in college at Tufts University, Chase earned Grand Prix placings at Devon, Kentucky and Lake Placid and won the Cacchione Cup in 2016 as part of the Tufts IHS A-Team. He graduated the same year magna cum laude with a degree in economics and international relations. Alongside his wife, Heather Chase competes in the Grand Prix and High Amateur Jumper Division throughout the Southeast, while balancing a career in trade marketing at Newell Brands, a Fortune 500 consumer goods company. Welcome to the plaiddcast Chase and Heather.
Chase Boggio [00:15:35] Thanks for having us. We’re excited to be here.
Piper Klemm [00:15:37] Heather, do you want to talk to us a little bit about riding, growing up and kind of what what your junior years looked like?
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:15:43] Yeah, for sure. So I am kind of a third generation horse girl. You could say. My mom and dad both still compete. My mom mostly in the hunters, and then my dad in the jumpers. And then my grandparents on my dad’s side were big fox hunters. Also, my grandmother did a little bit of horse showing and then on my mom’s side, my grandparents are big owners and supporters. So I kind of have it have had it always in my life. I grew up in Wellington, Florida, showing and just riding for fun. I grew up riding with Sharon Hardy Coal. And then later on in my junior years, I started writing full time with Scott Stewart and Ken Berkley. I focused mostly on the hunters and the jumpers. Chase can talk a little bit more about the equitation side, but I did a lot in the Junior Hunters and Junior Jumpers. Then I went to college at University of Virginia, where I played on the club polo team there and fell off quite a lot. And now, yeah, I’m I’m fully an amateur now back in business school, but working before that and showing in the high amateurs. Low amateurs, really. Whatever I have a horse for right now, I’m lucky enough to have a horse in the Grand Prix, so that’s kind of how we got to where we are.
Piper Klemm [00:17:14] And Chase, do you want to talk a little bit about your showing growing up? And then I know you wrote in college as well and won the Cacchione cup. And can you talk about meeting Heather, which I think it’s funny that you two didn’t actually meet at the same horse shows you were probably at all the time.
Chase Boggio [00:17:31] Yeah, definitely. So similar to Heather. I grew up showing in the junior divisions and I grew up just outside of Atlanta and not as as much of a horsey family, I would say my mom did grow up riding as a young kid, but my dad, we say now, up until this point, he’s knowledgeable enough to be dangerous, but definitely not not a horsey person, although, you know, to this day my parents are huge lovers and supporters of the sport. So I grew up riding mostly with Quiet Hill Farm with with Bob Braswell and Christina Schustermeyer and did mostly the equitation and junior jumpers. I, I did a little bit in the Junior Hunters on catch rides or if I had a younger horse, although at the horses that Heather and I overlapped at, she always put me to shame in the Junior Hunter ring with her soft riding and beautiful horses. So I kind of focused there. And then my last junior year also sought out some help from Stacia Madden and Max Amaya and then continued on riding with them for a few years into my amateur years while I was in school at Tufts University, just outside of Boston. And to your point, I rode on our IHSA, team. I started my sophomore year and had a really good time. Our team was a lot of fun and we had some really good results. So it was it was a really nice experience. And then up until this point, I after school graduated and moved back to Atlanta and now have a full time job in marketing. So that’s kind of my my quick story. And then to your question on how I met Heather, so we we actually did the same study abroad program in between our sophomore and junior years of college. So Heather was at UVA and I was at Tufts, but we both did the same program at the London School of Economics. And funnily enough, we were actually at the Lake Placid Horse Show just before going over to London and passed by Heather in that pavilion in between the Grand Prix field and the main hunter ring. And she kind of stopped me and had asked if I was going to LSC for the summer. She’d saw my name and in the Facebook group and you know, we had promised to meet up when we were over in London and the rest is history, as they say. We had a great time, you know, exploring London together. And in hindsight, it was really fun to, you know, create a connection outside of horses. But obviously, to this day, we we share that very deep connection on the the horse side as well.
Piper Klemm [00:20:22] So heather can you talk a little bit about, you know, I’m sure there was some idea or maybe even pressure or considering having a horse career and and making the decision to focus on your education in college, do a program like that which obviously you would miss horse shows for. I, I feel like so many people we get on all these spirals where we feel like we can’t miss a horse show or we can’t, you know, do something different. And how did that play out for you kind of during your college time of of making those decisions?
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:20:55] Yeah. I mean, I always kind of knew I wanted to do something besides the horses and have horses kind of as an option in my life, but not my only option. I went to schools in Florida through, you know, kindergarten through senior year of high school that were pretty rigorous academically, and I had a lot of friends outside of the horse world, so I kind of always had one foot in the horse world and outside of the horse world, you know, I just really, I, I still compete because I love horses at the end of the day. And I never wanted it to be like my livelihood or my job, but I always really just wanted to enjoy it. So now we’re working our butt off in the office to make sure we can still get to enjoy it on the weekends. So I don’t think from my parents there is necessarily any pressure to do horses as a full time career. I think they supported kind of my academics and my other sports I played, but I just I just like to enjoy it and it’s fun to do it as an amateur. At this point in my life, I really look forward to getting to drive to the horse show wherever we’re going, sometimes late Friday night to get to show for a day or two. So it doesn’t it doesn’t feel ever like a chore to me. It really feels like I’m working all week to get to go to the horse show.
Piper Klemm [00:22:29] Chase Can you kind of elaborate on that and talk a little bit about schedule and what what that looks like and what that feels like? I know that I get to the horse. I don’t end up practicing much at home at the barn, and then I get to the horse show. So that’s a lot trying to get it all in and you know, it’s a lot of it’s always exciting.
Chase Boggio [00:22:52] Yeah, definitely. I would say that Heather and I are our weekend warriors in the truest sense, and we are really fortunate to have our, my family runs Arbor Hill Farm, which is where our horses are based out of. And we have a phenomenal team there of grooms that my mom really oversees, kind of the operations of the barn . And then Susie Freed is a great professional teacher and rider in her own sense, helps, you know, keep keep our horses worked during the week and even in the early days during the week when they travel to horse shows. So our when when Heather and I show up on Thursday night or Friday night, you know, totally acknowledge that there’s a a lot of work and preparation that has gone into the behind the scenes even before we get there. So, you know, we’re fortunate to be able to really just focus on, you know, getting our horses loose and relax before the class, you know, have a little bit of saddle time to feel like we’re kind of in touch with our horses. But it’s definitely a balance. And I think it’s it’s been a great exercise in compartmentalizing, maybe, you know, any any hectic ness of schedule or whatever is happening at work or school during that week to be able to get to the horse show, put it all behind you and really focus on the task at hand. And I think to really underscore what Heather said, it, it really is fun now. I mean, we’re super competitive, obviously, and we want to win every class that we go in. But I would say, you know, in a way now I maybe even enjoy the competition side even more than I did when I was a junior, because it really is, you know, for personal enjoyment and, you know, any any results or wins that come on top of it are awesome. But at the end of the day, you know, being there, being connected to your horses, doing what you love is really an awesome and awesome opportunity and privilege that we have because of all of that, the great preparation that goes on behind the scenes.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:25:02] Yeah. To your question about scheduling too, Piper. Like, there are definitely horse show days where both Chase and I are, like, on conference calls and trying to get either our boss or client or whatever it is off the phone so that we can, like, zip up our boots and run to the course walk. Like there are days when we’re trying to juggle both and it gets a little hectic and crazy or you know, I have to say, okay, I have this important call. I can’t miss at two, so I have to ride it this time and I’d love to jump the meter 30, but if it starts to conflict with a work meeting, like I’m just going to have to jump the meter 20. So we definitely realize that the jobs let us do the horses for fun on the weekends, so we have to do a little bit of a juggling act some days at the horse show for sure.
Piper Klemm [00:25:56] Do you have any specific things you do to really get your head back in the game? Because I know that’s something that’s been really hard for me, you know, to like really turn it off. You know, going into the show ring and really be like, No, this is my time and be like super protective of like my warmup time and my show time, even if I can’t be protective of the rest of the day at all.
Chase Boggio [00:26:22] Yeah. I think from my perspective, it definitely is a concerted like change in mindset. And I always try when I feel like I, you know, have a lot of swing thought, so to speak, and lots going on on the work front. And I’m about to get on, you know, as I’m about to, you know, hop on my horse, tell myself, all right, you know, set your intention for this ride. You really have to try and block out any other noise based on things that are happening and realizing that, yes, while, you know, the work week might have been busy and we are still doing it for fun, like at the end of the day we want to be competitive and do well. We go in the ring and so understanding that, you know, with our horses we might only get one or two chances over the course of a weekend to go in a class. So wanting to make the most of that opportunity. So I always kind of use that mental, that mental kind of mindset shift of like, I’m going to set my intention for this ride, I’m going to be fully present, I’m going to be fully focused and make the most of my time in the ring.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:27:27] Yeah. And I also feel like with, like, getting your mind right, like, this isn’t like the most fun way to put it. But even though we’re amateurs and we’re having fun, like it’s an inherently dangerous sport, right? So, like, you, you have to be focused on what you’re doing or. So many bad things could happen. Or it’s not. It’s not fair to your horse. And it’s not fair to everyone we rely on to be able to do this, to show up and not be fully focused. Now, I mean, that being said, we still make mistakes and I make mistakes. I’m sure my horse wishes I wouldn’t make. But you just have to realize, like the gravity or, you know, what you’re doing can be dangerous. So you have to you just have to focus on it because your horse is relying on you to do so. It’s not just about you.
Piper Klemm [00:28:24] I also think that like for me, like just knowing that, you know, I am going to be back at work all next week. Like, I think it makes you put that extra ounce into it. My my husband always quotes the samurai. Like, it’s something like it would be regrettable to die with one sword still sheathed, like and we kind of say it about like things we see all the time is that people, like, don’t use every last resource they have or every last little bit of energy or focus or something like that. And I do think that when you have a lot that you’re showing or, you know, you’re going to show next weekend, I think it can get really easy to like almost not use that last little bit of juice in the tank on every single ride because, you know, that’s that’s not where or most of our bodies, our mindsets go to. But I do think it’s almost easier with more like limited opportunity to just be like, everything goes into this.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:29:26] Yeah, I totally agree. And usually nowadays we’re driving to the horse shows. So Sunday night we’ve got a two, three, five, six hour drive home to Atlanta. So when it goes well, that drive is definitely a lot more pleasant for everyone versus when maybe you didn’t give it your all or didn’t pay attention. And then you’ve got to drive all the way home and think about it. So we we try to really pay attention. And when we’re at the show, like give it our all for our horses and for, you know, everybody that’s there supporting us or cheering or whatever it may be. And that always makes the drive home a little sweeter when you had a good day.
Piper Klemm [00:30:10] So where do you see this as like, you know, is this long term sustainable or, you know, is something, you know, how how does this be part of your life long term? How does this be part of your relationship long term? I mean, I think it’s so cool that you get to do this with each other and you’re spending your time away from work with each other, which is something that, frankly, most couples don’t have the opportunity to have and in corporate America. But, you know, is do you see this as as a sustainable lifestyle? Is it too hard? Is it I’m always interested if like what where things are going and what the next step is going to be.
Chase Boggio [00:30:48] Yeah. I think from my perspective, I, I definitely view it as a lifelong passion and something that I’d love to do, you know, as long as I’m physically able. But, you know, given both Heather and I’s, you know, professional aspirations and, you know, wanting to have a family at some point one day, I do feel like the riding will, you know, will ebb and flow based on where we are in life. I mean, the other thing, too, and I know, you know, you talk about it with with a lot of your guests. Is it it’s also a very financially intensive hobby or passion. And so we’re really fortunate where we sit right now in life that we’re able to do it and have, you know, nice horses and travel to the horse shows that we want to and be competitive. But, you know, based on all those factors, I think, you know, that might not always be the case in the future. So I think it’ll depend on the stage of life that we’re in. But personally, I always see, you know, myself having a passion for the horses and having kind of one foot in as as Heather mentioned earlier in some capacity, whether that’s, you know, riding, who knows? Maybe professionally, not not in the sense of, you know, training or running a business, but, you know, from a corporate standpoint. So I think in in in some form or fashion, they’ll always be a part of my life. It just might look different depending on what stage of life where we’re in at that time.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:32:23] Yeah. I’ve. I’ve always thought that I would have horses as a part of my life for the rest of my life. But it might not be every single year for the rest of my life. So. So. Like Chase said. Staying connected. And I mean through my family and my parents and my brother and lots of my cousins and second cousins, etc.. Like, I’ll always try to be here. I just, you know, I don’t know that I’ll always have, you know, a horse to take to a lot of these horse shows we talk about. But I’ll always have a passion for it. And as long as I have a horse that I can compete with, you know, I don’t care if it’s adult hunters or meter 45 jumpers, whatever it is. As long as I like riding the horse and I love the horse, I’m always going to want to have a horse around. So God willing, hopefully they’ll be there through the rest of my life.
Piper Klemm [00:33:26] I think it’s so interesting that so many people I talked to who have corporate jobs are like basically like dying to get out of them, to do the horse thing full time. And and both of you who have been very, you know, exposed to the inner workings of horse businesses, you know, it’s very compartmentalized. And, you know, I wonder, like, how much of that with a lot of people is is it almost a fantasy as to what the what the horse, the what the really equestrian lifestyle is when that’s your business versus your hobby or, you know, or kind of what to make of that.
Chase Boggio [00:34:04] I think from my perspective, I mean, it’s a really good point and how Heather and I grew up being so, you know, ingrained and kind of the the really intense schedule of, you know, traveling as a junior rider, I think almost, you know, for me, that is probably why I feel so strongly about, you know, building a professional career outside of the, you know, the horse world, because you do see how intense it is and how easy it is to get burnt out and how difficult it is to make, you know, the show run. And I think when you’re in the ring, you know, you’re only scratching the surface on everything else that happens in the background to make those 90 seconds to 2 minutes happen. And I think the enjoyment that Heather and I still get out of that is, is really what we’re trying to preserve. The other thing to, you know, selfishly in building a professional career outside of the sports world is to, you know, make enough money so that we can buy horses in the future and keep making it be fun. But I think our, you know, having grown up in it and seeing the inner workings behind the scene, at least for me, is really is really probably one of the main reasons why I, you know, have been really focused on kind of my professional career outside of the horse world.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:35:28] Yeah. I also have a bad habit of getting really attached to any of the horses I ride as pets, so I never want it to be like, you know, whether I can pay my mortgage this month depends on if I can sell a horse or do this or that. Like, I truly just want to do it to enjoy, enjoy the horses I have and that I love. And I have something else that will be there to support me professionally and just have it be truly for the for the joy and the love of the horse.
Piper Klemm [00:36:06] So let’s talk a little bit more about work. Heather, can you tell us a little bit about what you did and then now what you’re in school for?
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:36:15] Yeah. So out of undergrad I went into strategy consulting at Deloitte out of their Atlanta office. I spent about two years plus there doing operational work. I did some post-merger work for different clients in the chemicals and then the health care space. And then after that, I joined an internal strategy and corporate development team at a major data and software company. So on the strategy and corporate development team, I was doing questions from, you know, where should we expand, expand the health care business globally to what should our next acquisition be and where should we be investing in startups? From there, I decided to go back to business school. A lot of my friends had done it, had a great time. I think it’s great for networking. I was excited to get back into the kind of school environment because I’m a nerd at heart and I always just kind of had it in my plan. So I’m currently in my second year getting my MBA from Emory University. I spent the summer interning at Boston Consulting Group BCG, and I’ll be returning to BCG when I graduate in May. So strategy consulting or management consulting is kind of a vague term, but basically we help different clients answer major questions. They might be strategic, like what market should they and should we enter? It might be a private equity firm wanting to acquire another company and we’ll do some diligence on it. It might be operational in nature, like there’s a pandemic. How do we repeat patriate part of our supply chain? So all different types of questions that kind of keep you interested and you’re always doing something new. So that’s where I will be returning in probably June.
Piper Klemm [00:38:23] And it sounds like the way our our sport and our business is going, you might be able to emerge passions at some point in your future there.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:38:33] Yeah. Always always interested in hearing any consulting use cases in the in the equestrian world for sure.
Piper Klemm [00:38:43] And Chase tell us a little bit about what you do on a day to day basis with your job.
Chase Boggio [00:38:49] Yeah. So I like Heather. I started in consulting as my first job out of school as well. I spent about two years at a company called Simon Kucher and Partners. So it a mid-sized firm that really focused on kind of the revenue growth type topic that clients had. So, you know, instead of saying, you know, profits are under pressure at our client, you know, how many how many jobs can we cut to save money? It was more. You know, we believe that we could be pricing more for, you know, a chicken sandwich on our menu. How should we go about thinking thinking through that or, you know, similar to what Heather said, you know, what what markets are attractive for us to enter. And that was a really awesome opportunity for me to really learn about the business world and learn about different industries and problems that companies were facing. Because at Tufts, being a liberal arts school was there. It was a phenomenal education, but pretty limited as far as the real world, you know, applications and things, especially in kind of the business realm. So I did that for about two years and then for the past five years have been at Newell Brands, which is a Fortune 500 consumer goods manufacturer that’s headquartered in Atlanta, had a few different roles. But for the past three and a half years or so, I’ve been in a role called trade marketing. So which is awesome. And I think it’s really interesting because we basically get to take the really cool products and innovation that our engineers and product managers make, and we bring them to market in the way that maximizes sales and market share with our retailers in the biggest way possible. So it’s it’s constantly changing. It’s a really fun and interesting job. And Newell has been phenomenal and really supportive of my equestrian passion. And that is also, I think one of the reasons why we’re able to make it work is because I’ve always had phenomenal bosses and Newell has has really given me the support and flexibility that I needed to continue riding.
Piper Klemm [00:41:08] Yeah. Because it is such an interesting like conundrum always of like if you’re going to have the money to ride, you. Don’t have the time and if you have the time to ride, you don’t have the money.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:41:20] Yeah. Chase and I have yet to figure out how to get a horse in the gray flannel suit, Aspercel situation. But I’m down to work for any company that wants to buy buy me horses, and I will gladly name them.
Piper Klemm [00:41:38] Oh my gosh Yeah, that would be amazing. I would think you’d get a lot of people signing up for that. So tell us a little bit about kind of what your week looks like during the week. Are you working really late every night or how are you making it? Leaving, you know, Friday night or even Thursday night. And I know a lot of these consulting jobs, you know, that’s you’re really selling your soul during the week. So kind of what does that timeline look like for you, like on the average Monday through Thursday?
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:42:09] Well, right now, my Monday to Thursday is wonderful because I’m in school. So I get to have lunch with my friends and go to class and chat with professors. But yeah, back when I was working there, the pros and cons to being in consulting and trying to juggle riding. So consulting is notoriously high burn, long hours and a lot of travel. So I was very regularly traveling Monday to Thursday, pretty much every single week, which the pro that is, if we were a horseshowing out of town, I would just fly wherever I was supposed to be on Thursday night. The con of that is that, you know, I was traveling legitimately all the time. I mean, there were months where I almost never saw my apartment. But consulting also, like while you’re working very long hours, a lot of weeks, it’s project based work. So I might be on a project for six weeks and then have, you know, a week and a half or two weeks between projects where I can go out to the barn every now and then. So while you’re on a project, it’s, you know, you’re probably working from 7 a.m. to. Ten, 11, midnight. But you also have some downtime in between projects. And not every day you’re working late into the night. Some days you’re done it 530, 6:00, things like that. So it is high burn, long hours, but then after four to 8 to 10 weeks, you’re kind of on to the next project. So there are some pros to the kind of project based work if you’re trying to do something like riding.
Chase Boggio [00:44:09] Yeah. And I think for me, it’s, it’s I’m in a little bit of a different boat because I have been at Newell for five years now and it’s not project based, it’s more kind of your your typical day to day. So I’m definitely not, you know, putting in the hours that Heather is, but it does require, you know, some good kind of forethought and planning on our part. So, you know, if I know that we’re going to be, horse showing on like a Friday afternoon, I’ll try and be really conscious, you know, a couple of weeks before to block my calendar and schedule meetings around that. So there’s kind of that component of it. But I think for for me, like during the week, as you know, I’m in our office 2 to 3 days a week. We’re kind of in a hybrid work model coming out of COVID right now. And then, you know, I would say on average, you know, we’ll be done on a Thursday night, like working at 5:00 and then sitting in rush hour traffic on the highway, driving out somewhere, having Chick-Fil-A or fast food for dinner, listening to the Plaidcast on the way to a horse show. So it’s definitely, you know, late night, certainly on the first night getting to the horse show and normally a pre early morning the following morning to to, you know, ride the horses before the class. But yeah, I, I, we joke sometimes that even, you know, Heather mentioned she didn’t see her apartment when she was traveling and traveling a lot. Sometimes we joke that we’re ships passing in the night on some weeks of it’s crazy at work for me and really our our quality time is spent in the car driving to the horse show. So, you know, it has its benefits from that standpoint, too.
Piper Klemm [00:45:55] Adam and I got on this cycle in grad school where, like, I would leave so early and come back and he would wake up later and stay at work really late at night. And we would go like a week without seeing each other, even though we were both staying in the same spot because we just like there were just so many hours being put in and we just got like out of out of sync. So I totally get that.
Chase Boggio [00:46:21] Even when you see each other, you know, at night, you’re like, Have I spoken more than ten words to you? I can’t remember. So I totally get it.
Piper Klemm [00:46:32] Do you see? Like, obviously everyone has a little bit of a reprieve and like. How much they have to show up to the actual office. I know some offices are like backlash clashing a little bit and kind of demanding that people show up like. So things have been very much air quotes easier with constraints. Do you see this being feasible as as things go back to full office, are things going to go back to a full office? You know, how do you see all that playing out in terms of getting to go to the horse shows or being a little more remote or or for for everyone, like being able to go to the horse shows?
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:47:11] I think it was really nice. I mean, COVID was terrible, obviously, or it continues to be terrible. But you know, during remote working, the horses were and horse shows specifically and going to the barn was just so good for our mental health, I think. And I have friends outside the horse world to really their whole lives. They were just like inside basically during remote work in their own homes because they didn’t have, you know, a hobby outside of their work that they could still do. Whereas we were going to the barn and getting on the horse and going out in the field and trotting around, and it was just so good for our mental health during remote work. Going to the horse shows was a blessing because we could go for two weeks at a time and take all our calls from a room at the Airbnb. And it just made a lot of that easier and we could do a warm up class earlier in the week, which we never get to do now. So that was really nice. I think in terms of like going back to how it was before, for me it kind of remains to be seen based on whatever client work I’ll be working on at any given time. But I think there’s definitely the realization out there that people can get things done without being in the office all the time. So I think it’ll be some kind of hybrid situation, and I think people are more apt to saying yes when you say, you know, I need to work, I need to work from home for next week or whatever it is now that’s been normalized to a certain extent. Instead of being like work from home, that means that means you’re not going to do anything. People now realize that. That means that you really are going to be working just from somewhere else. So I think we’ll land somewhere in a hybrid space, but it’s definitely nice that that’s not such an outlandish request anymore. It’s it’s somewhat been normalized.
Chase Boggio [00:49:24] Yeah, I agree. I think for us in our industry, like, it definitely has been more flexible. And I know that Newell and a lot of our peers have moved to a 2 to 3 day a week in the office kind of model, and it’s worked really well. I know for our business specifically, we had our best growth year last year than we had in in multiple years, and that was done majority with, you know, everybody being remote. So I think I think we’ll definitely stay in that model because I think people realize that you can be just as, if not more productive, working at home. I do think, you know, for us, we’ll never move to a fully remote situation barring another global pandemic because there is so much value in being able to tinker together in the office and a whiteboard and like, you know, pop your head up above your desk and ask someone a question. But it definitely has, um, you know, enabled some greater flexibility, you know, and like I said, for my situation in particular, my job has been really supportive of the riding. So, you know, even though we are putting in a little bit more face time in the office, I think that has really enabled us to make it work too.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:50:45] So last year we were in Ocala at work and I was on a call for work that wasn’t I wasn’t a critical part of the call. So I was kind of at the barn at the horse show, getting ready to leave. And I guess I accidentally hit unmute. And I was like loving on some of my horses as I was walking up the aisle and I was talking about like carrots and how I was going to be back in a couple hours and, you know, just kind of being silly with them and somebody on the call, non horsey people are on the calls, probably 15 person calls like Heather. Heather, I think you want to be on mute. So I had to embarrassingly kind of mea culpa. Oh, my gosh. I’m talking to my horses. That’s so embarrassing. I’m so sorry. So there definitely been embarrassing moments during remote work, too, and I’ve been a victim of that. If anybody else has, I’m there with you.
Piper Klemm [00:51:47] I had one last summer where like this call got moved around and then my lesson got moved around and I was like, well I can do it all! You know, which is always a mistake. And yeah, I. Adam was there and I was like I was like, just hold the phone. Like, if they ask for me, like, do something. And so they didn’t ask for me for, like, an hour. And everybody just kept talking, and I’m like riding away and they I guess they were like, what do you think about that Piper? And he was just like, and made the bad connection noise.
Heather Hooker-Boggio [00:52:20] That’s incredible. Yeah. I’ve had friends who have been going in the ring, in the amateur jumpers, and they’ve had their laptops, laptops up at the ring and been like, Can you just jiggle my mouse every couple of minutes? So it looks like I’m online in case anybody needs me. So we’re all kind of looking out for each other in weekend warrior amateur world here.
Piper Klemm [00:52:42] I love that. Well, Heather and Chase, thank you so much for joining us on the Plaidcast.
Piper Klemm [00:54:45] Jessica Andrews is a founder of Eques Pante. Supportive, stylish and high quality riding underwear. Having worked in the beauty industry for over 20 years, Jessica has extensive experience helping women feel confident and beautiful. As founder and director of On Location, Hair and Makeup. She provides makeup and styling services to the entertainment industry and on red carpets worldwide with a client list that includes celebrities, producers, directors and other successful women. Jessica has been an avid rider since childhood, when she could often be found tearing around the English countryside with her pony pepper. Now, based in the U.S., she still loves a good gallop on her horse, but reins things down on the center line. Welcome to the Plaidcast, Jessica.
Jessica Andrews [00:55:27] Thank you so much.
Piper Klemm [00:55:29] So I don’t have to explain to anyone, any woman at least, well, anyone but underwear and britches don’t always go together, but from your background in the beauty industry. Can you tell us about how you pivoted to start Eques Pante?
Jessica Andrews [00:55:46] I was just an amateur Rider. I’m an amateur rider that was so sick of having all those rashes and all of those, you know, that discomfort that you experience in the saddle. And, you know, we all work so hard in the saddle and out of the saddle so that we become better riders. And I was just really ready to create something for all of us so that we would. You know kind of eradicate all those problems. So I actually started off I am obviously from England, but I came over to the States doing hair and makeup and I started riding again out here. And I bought a young horse who, you know, had a few health issues and I really wanted to finesse my seat. So I started to kind of go in the dressage direction and I was riding all these big moving, warm bloods, and I started to get rashes and, you know, all of that stuff that come with it and even cuts actually sometimes in some underwear, because I really tried to test every kind of underwear out there and nothing really fitted every single detail that needed to be addressed, if you know what I mean. So I then started to, you know, ask girlfriends at the barn, like, what do you do? Do you have this issue? And they were like, Oh yeah, equine bum acne. It’s a thing. It’s like a real thing. So and they kind of all just put up with it. And at the time I was running my hair and makeup business in Los Angeles, and I really didn’t have that much time to really focus on the intricacies of the design of the panty. And but when the pandemic hit, I had all the time in the world, so I started to put pen to paper. And in that year I really worked on the panty and I was the fitness model, I was the tester, you know, I was everything. So yeah, I was really at the end of the year, I created something that I really thought helped and a lot of my girlfriends were very happy riding in them too. So yeah, that’s kind of how it started really.
Piper Klemm [00:58:24] So explain to us because this is a podcast, if you haven’t seen it in the magazine yet, what what do these look like? They’re kind of like short type solution.
Jessica Andrews [00:58:38] Yes. So when I started to design the panty, I realized that we really needed like a long style bike short that was like, you know, that wasn’t underwear because I actually the first prototype, they were a little bit shorter and they did great. But I felt like I still got hot spots and rashes in places. And I thought, well, maybe they need to be down to the knee. And so the next prototype was down to the knee and I really found that that helped and it just helped to kind of eradicate all those rashes. And it gives you a really nice streamline too for the dressage. And yes, so that’s they look like basically bike shorts with a very supportive waistline. And they also have a very cute equestrian design too. So I wanted to keep that in there.
Piper Klemm [00:59:43] Because yeah, our underwear options when you’re riding are not great and I feel like britches get tighter and tighter material. And there are not many people who entirely look flattering in white or tan pants that are really tight with that fabric.
Jessica Andrews [01:00:02] Definitely. And, you know, it’s it’s a tough sport. You need proper underwear. And with any sport, you have really great you know, with any sport to this capacity, you have great underwear. So for us, equestrians, we needed something really great. And for me, the material was really key to creating this garment because you needed something that was really, really durable but also soft too. And yeah, so I actually created a custom blend because I just wasn’t finding the right material for the panty.
Piper Klemm [01:00:43] How are these washed and stuff? Are they just traditional wash?.
Jessica Andrews [01:00:48] Yeah. You can just wash them on a delicate cycle and you can either air dry them, which is actually better, or you can just throw them in the dryer. But just on a cool setting.
Piper Klemm [01:01:03] And you’ve had riders of all disciplines wear these from your base in dressage. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the different riders who have found their riding accelerate wearing them? Definitely. So all riders wear these because as, what I found, is as I progressed, the hotspots kind of just moved or the rashes just move. They don’t really go away. So a lot of top level dressage, show jumpers, eventers and even barrel races love them, too. So they it’s a it’s a panty that kind of it’s a garment that can be worn throughout the disciplines.
Piper Klemm [01:01:52] What are your goals in the future, being a young company and really just making this kind of explosion into the equestrian market?
Jessica Andrews [01:02:01] So it’s been going great so far. I really am getting the brand name out there more so first and then definitely I want to go into kind of creating a men’s line and a bra, but first, it’s more about me really getting the name of the panty out there first.
Piper Klemm [01:02:25] That sounds amazing because our bra options as equestrians are not great.
Jessica Andrews [01:02:32] I know! And it’s taking me a while to kind of design it and tweak it because it’s it’s not as simple as you would think.
Piper Klemm [01:02:39] It must not be because it’s like maybe two years ago I posted in The Plaid Horse Aadult Amateur Lounge, like, what bras did people like because I couldn’t find anything I liked. And I literally went out and purchased every single bra that was recommended to me and I didn’t like any of them!
Jessica Andrews [01:02:56] Yeah, I know it’s not easy, so I’m going to get there. But yeah, my main focus is to kind of get the brand, the brand’s recognition and you know, because obviously, as I said, I was the fit model, I was everything because because of the pandemic year so I couldn’t also add in a men’s line at that time, but I will do that in the future.
Piper Klemm [01:03:24] Where can people learn more about Eques Pante, where can they buy? Where can they find more about you?
Jessica Andrews [01:03:32] So Eques Pante can be bought online. It’s www.equespante.com , or we’re on Instagram at Eques Pante.
Piper Klemm [01:03:48] Jessica, thank you so much for joining us on the Plaidcast.
Jessica Andrews [01:03:51] Thank you so much.
Piper Klemm [01:05:32] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit theplaidhorse.com. You can find show notes at theplaidhorse.com/listen. Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of The Plaid Horse Magazine at theplaidhorse.com/Subscribe. Please rate and review The Plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!
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