When 3-day eventing intersects with fashion I’m one happy girl. That’s why I just had to talk with Jennie Brannigan about her WISE Equestrian sponsorship. I first fell in love with the company and its boots at Rolex this past Spring and have been daydreaming about them since. The bonus here is that you get to hear about these spectacular boots plus get some more one-on-one time with Jennie, which I know you’re looking for! So keep reading for her take on the boots as well as the inside scoop on one particular gray foal who has an uncanny resemblance to Cooper.
Q. How long has WISE equestrian been one of your sponsors?
A. We started talking about it last Fall and this summer I got the boots. He’s [Ronald Zabala] starting whole line of a lot of products like saddles and bridles and breeches- pretty much everything you can think of. There’s also a kid’s book about [CHE Mr.]Wise Guy.
Q. What’s the process like of getting a pair of custom boots?
A. I know how to measure now! You can approach me since I know how. About six weeks later you get your boots. Eric Dierks bought a couple pairs at Rolex and enjoys them.
Q. What can you tell us about the boots?
A. They’re really comfortable. I remember getting a pair about four years ago and I was at a jumper show and I showed in them that day. They don’t break in-you put them on and they’re ready to go. I’ve never gotten a blister from a pair and I’ve ridden in them a lot. They’re stunning. You can get any design, toe, heel, color, country flags, it’s crazy. They’re truly customized. A showjumper on the West Coast, Ashley Vaughn, has an American flag on the top of her boots. I rode in a pair when I took Cooper to Young Riders, they were grey with blue tops. The ones I wore at Stuart were dark brown with a pretty, light stripe. I also have black with patent leather. I love being a little bit out there and pushing the envelope and being a litle different.
To each his own. I support rocking leaoprd print but I’m kind of lame and don’t like polos [wraps] being crazy colors. I’m not really someone who likes really bright colors even in my own wardrobe. I’m riding in more traditional colors for FEI competitions. On the West Coast they took over the hunter jumper scene. It’s exciting Ronald is taking over since everything he does he does well and 100%. It’s pretty neat. People obviously balk at the price, but I’ve had Der Daus and Ariats and there’s nothing I despise more than boots that don’t fit well.
Q. What’s Ronald Zabala like?
A. He’s toally talkative and really easy going. He’s someone who really loves their horses. Everyone say that but Ronald adores WiseGuy and knows how special he is. It’s really refreshing having him around the barn and seeing that and remembering this is what its about-the connection and bond. Anything he can do he gives it. He’s a good guy. You could walk up to him and talk to him for an hour. There’s nothing ostentatious about him. He’s down to earth but you can tell he’s motivated and has goals and has good ideas. He’s motivated to make his name in this industry.
Ronald on WiseGuy. Photo by Josh Walker at the USEA.
Q. What’s the connection between Che Mr. WISEguy and Cooper?
A. Ronald and Che Mr. WISEguy will, knock on wood, be riding at the World Equestrian Games this fall. He’s done work to reproduce horses with that same line. Last fall he was trotting around talking about how he needs to breed WiseGuy’s mother to a stallion with live semen since she’s older and couldn’t breed to WiseGuy’s father the first time. He was looking at stallions and looking at stallions and I said why don’t you breed WiseGuy’s mom to Coopers dad? Ronald loved Cooper and came to the hospital when he was there. He’s always been a big fan and liked a lot of things about him. He said that’s a good idea. Wise Guy’s owner are over here and I hit it off with her; she’s really lovely and followed Cooper and the blog and she’s really nice. I feel like we have between the four of us this little thing in common and when I had to put Cooper down Ronald promised me that I’d get to ride Wise Cooper. I got a little emotional when he was born.
I didn’t think much of it and then he sent me pictures and it brought me back a little bit to think about how much I do miss Cooper still. It’s a really cute baby. It’s gonna be gray like Cooper.
photo courtesy of Jennie Brannigan
It was fun to talk with Jennie-we covered three of my favorite subjects: Eventing, style, and foals. That’s a winner. If you’d like to get yourself (or someone you love a lot) a pair of WISE Equestrian boots you can track Jennie down at a competition. Just consult her schedule or contact her.