Kristin Thornton, August 2019 Guest Editor and stylish founder of equestrian lifestyle platform Street to Stable shares snapshots of life in the saddle…and all that comes with it.
By Kristin Thornton | August 2019
A YOUNG EQUESTRIAN’S NATURAL INTRODUCTION TO META-LUXURY
Supple leather. Smooth velvet. Soft Wool. Shining metals. These unique sensory attributes created the ambiance of one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest saddle shops that captivated my attention from an extremely young age. This destination was a special experience with my parents and it was also where I learned to save to purchase coveted items of the highest quality I could afford. To say I was born with an innate passion for all facets of equestrian sport would be an understatement. My family was not connected with horses, but my interest was so intense that I independently listened, read and observed to grow my acumen.
Riding was my introduction to an appreciation for excellence. I was exposed to the importance of education and perseverance in growing skills. Additionally, I developed an understanding of the relationship between fine craftsmanship and superior materials to create equipment that served a purpose. My eye honed into details. I learned that less was more. Ultimately, these lessons learned in my youth and adolescence guided my appreciation for authenticity and integrity of quality in all facets of my adult life and subsequently my career.
META-LUXURY, BRANDS AND THE CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE
Meta-luxury is the economic reflection of a culture of excellence. Meta-luxury brands embody the human quest for unique achievements that can stand the test of time, enduring and evolving from one generation to the next. They challenge the boundaries of knowledge, transforming history into the future, sustaining excellence into eternity.
—By Manfredi Ricca & Rebecca Robins
Voltaire Design Saddle, Made in France
Riding was my introduction to an appreciation for excellence. I was exposed to the importance of education and perseverance in growing skills. Additionally, I developed an understanding of the relationship between fine craftsmanship and superior materials to create equipment that serve a purpose. My eye honed–in to details. These lessons have guided my appreciation for authenticity and integrity of quality—an appreciation for the modern artisan. I feel a tremendous responsibility to accurately tell the stories of these individuals.
The strength and athleticism of the majestic horse influences the mind, body and spirit of the dedicated modern equestrian. Health and wellness are integral topics prioritized by Street to Stable in an effort to assist each rider reach their potential in the sport and additionally prioritize respect for their horse’s well-being.
Photo by Brian Whipple. Kristin is wearing a Le Fash Paulo Alto Sport Shirt and custom monogrammed buckle made by Swanky Saddle.
Mental clarity is essential to equestrian sport. Kristin is seen here using a visualization app on her iPhone before the start of her class at a competition. An instrumental contributor to Street to Stable is performance psychologist Darby Bonomi, PhD whose mission is to promote the long–term health and happiness of riders, horses and their support systems.
Photo by Brian Whipple
To prepare for each ride, Kristin cross-trains in the gym using endurance, core and balance exercises. Her goal is to ultimately work in tandem with the horse using fluid motion.
HAND-CRAFTED INSPIRATION, FOR GENERATIONS
Advanced studies in agricultural marketing was an extension of my pursuit of excellence in craft and ingredients. My father’s tiny cabernet sauvignon vineyard and personal production of wine influenced my choice to specialize in agricultural marketing at university. After almost twenty years working in multiple facets of the agriculture sector and supplementing my experience with a Master’s in Business Administration, I never lost my desire to seek excellence in production and align with experts that share similar values. Collaborations with like-minded producers affiliated with food production, ranging from winery owners to privately owned olive oil companies and interacting with Michelin starred chefs continued to enhance my understanding of the passion required in the pursuit of perfection.
Photo by Paul Bellinger
Riata Designs specially created hand trimmed sun hats using exquisite equestrian motif fabrics in a collaboration with Street to Stable.
Photo by Tony Moody
Curated art, textiles and accessories contribute to the equestrian motif in the décor of a formerly owned home office designed by Kristin.
Decorated horse statues welcome spectators from around the world to the Winter Equestrian Festival located at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
FULL CIRCLE, FROM STREET TO STABLE
My commitment to meta-luxury has not wavered and in 2012 I formed my own business, K.M. Thornton & Co., LLC, to primarily assist high quality equestrian lifestyle product and service driven businesses. An offshoot of the original business was an educational blog that grew exponentially in popularity and thus encouraged my decision to build an independent web platform that closer resembled an online magazine. Street to Stable officially launched in 2014 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of K.M. Thornton & Co., LLC. We are the storytellers that are dedicated to sustaining and preserving the artisans, educators, entrepreneurs and artifacts that enhance the equestrian way of life. To perpetuate our objective, we have curated items that complement the equestrian way of life and we also collaborate with artisans that share similar values. The proceeds assist in funding the expenses necessary to write and promote future stories.
Historically, fashion is one of the most prominent means of expression of the horse in contemporary culture.
The Modern Eco Striped Horse Bit Throw created by in2green and woven in a custom palette designed for Street to Stable. Co-founded by female entrepreneurs, in2green uses recycled and organic cotton yarns to create sustainable products with modern designs that are produced in the U.S.A.
Photography by Paul Bellinger
Kristin is wearing a limited edition feathered fedora hand trimmed by Jill Slater, the founder of Riata Designs. It is paired with her personal Burberry trench coat, one of the historic high fashion houses that has utilized an equestrian themed logo in their branding.
Wool, leather and brass are staples in the well-furnished barn. Kristin is draped in a custom wool windowpane horse cooler embroidered with her company’s logo and trimmed in leather with brass hardware. Her saddle leather bracelets are finished with engraved brass nameplates that notate two special horses in her life, past and present.