THE STYLISH LIFE OF RUESPARI BELTS FOUNDER ADRIENNE MARCIANO
Winning any championship ribbon is a great feeling, but there’s a certain caché to winning one in Devon’s Dixon Oval. And if you happen to do it on your only horse, for the second time in three years, then that’s really something to smile about. Adrienne Marciano is one of the rare few to know that feeling well, being named not just the Champion of the High Amateur-Owner Jumper Division but also the Leading Amateur-Owner Jumper Rider at Devon—two honors she also held in 2014. It’s a feat in itself, but one that’s especially rewarding for Adrienne, who lives just 25 minutes up the road in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. In fact, it was also at Devon that Adrienne first developed the idea for her signature, flexible equestrian belt line, Ruespari.
“I really put a lot of emphasis on what I wear, but I didn’t like how all of my leather belts were so uncomfortable,” Adrienne says. “I began making the original Ruespari belts for myself, but last year during Devon, riders and spectators were trying to buy them off of my waist!” In that way, an idea was born, and Adrienne, who has a degree in marketing, went on to build her brand’s website and social media platform from the ground up. Ruespari belts are made by hand in a studio right down the road from Devon and come in a variety of styles and colors, as well as custom designs. What’s more, the line is named for two of Adrienne’s favorite things in the world: her French bulldog, Pearl Rue, and her horse, Laspari. Here, we talk to Adrienne about launching a belt empire, how she discovered her passion for the jumper ring, and why loving what you do—in both your sport and your chosen profession—is the best guarantee of future success. Name: Adrienne Marciano
Hometown: Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Profession: Designer/Owner of Ruespari.com NF Style: Congratulations on your success at Devon! What other shows are typically on your schedule during the year?
Adrienne Marciano: In the winter, I travel to Florida to compete at WEF and HITS Ocala. In the summer, we have a lot of great shows close to home, but we also travel to HITS Saugerties as well because I like to qualify for the $250,000 Junior/AO class every year that is held at the end of the summer show season.
You’ve worked with some great coaches over the years—what have been some of their most valuable lessons?
I currently train with Seth Vallhonrat who has helped me find all of my hunters and jumpers (including Laspari) for the last seven years. He helps me on the ground and he consistently does a great job matching me with the proper horse. Seth puts a lot of emphasis on making the horse go properly, and he has also taught me the importance of using my leg in moments when you really need it. Prior to Seth, I trained with Kevin Babington for a decade from the time I was a junior. I was able to take what I learned from Kevin, especially the importance of straightness in the horse’s body, and apply it to my everyday flatwork and schooling. How did you get your start in the sport?
I started riding when my parents gave me a lesson for my 8th birthday. After that, I was hooked, and I can remember I was always very disciplined about getting to the barn on time. My mom jokes around that on horse show mornings I would wake her up so excited at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. when I was doing the hunters as a kid. Even if I had someone to take care of the horses, I always wanted to do everything myself. I loved spending time and building a bond with the animal because that is the only reason I loved the sport. It is still the only reason I love the sport. I love animals in general, but horses are very special. There is nothing quite like that feeling when they try extra hard for you in the ring because you have a special bond with them. What’s a typical barn day like for you?
I integrate a lot of work in the field to keep my horses fit. I would say the best feeling is when you are cantering in a big open field and all you think about in that moment is how blessed you are to be doing what you love to do and how amazing it is to be sharing a special moment with an animal you love.
I used to get to the barn and ride multiple horses, including my own, and be at the barn all day. Since I launched the brand Ruespari.com a year ago, that part has changed for me. Launching a start-up is very time consuming, but also very rewarding. I ride every single day and I never skip a day going to the barn, but now I also focus a lot on growing the Ruespari brand. We are currently in about 25 retail locations in the country and are starting to venture abroad. It is a very exciting time.
You said you started in hunters—how did you end up in the jumper division? When I was a junior, my trainer found me a horse that we thought was a hunter. Our first show together, he ran out the in-gate with me. I was only 12 and I was so embarrassed. He was always very fresh, but he loved to jump, but clearly, he was not a hunter! Because I had never done the jumpers, I was very disappointed. We tried to sell him, but nobody wanted to buy him. I decided to take him to a jumper show and I knew nothing about the jumpers. We were champion at our first show and after that, I was hooked. He took me all the way to indoor finals and we jumped up to the Low Juniors. He was an awesome horse with so much heart, and if it wasn’t for him, I would’ve never gone into the jumper ring! That experience taught me two things:
1. That everything happens for a reason and…
2. Never let fear of the unknown hold you back. Is it hard to balance your busy professional life with your life with horses?
No, there isn’t anything difficult about it. If you are passionate enough about whatever you choose to do, you will find the time to dedicate to it. I’ve never looked at riding or getting out to the barn to see my horses as a chore. It’s something I am very blessed to be able to do. You have to work hard at anything you want to have success in. If you don’t work hard and dedicate your time to something, don’t expect to gain anything out of it.
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