photographed by wynn myers
Standing in the barn at Sky Creek Farm with Quincy DeSpain Ellis is a bit like being on the set of a Ralph Lauren ad, except that everything about it wonderfully and unbelievably real. She straightens her black velvet hunt cap before feeding her white horse a carrot. “This one’s the sweetest soul you’ll ever know,” she says of Cracker, the ten year old horse she recently rode in the 2014 US Arabian Nationals. The two returned with the Reserve National Championship in Ladies English Side Saddle, another honor to add to Quincy’s formidable riding resumé. Her sister Kingsley unbraids the tail of a brown horse with a perfect white diamond on his nose. “And this one’s Joe,” she adds, “wait until you see this tail.” She casually loosens the braid to reveal a stunning floor-sweeping tail as Joe slowly walks slowly forward, shoes clicking on the floor.
Perfectly picturesque barns aside, I find myself in awe of the animals. At once intimidated and intrigued. Their perfect shape, graceful movements, and sheer power. It’s a feeling from childhood that’s been perfectly preserved, every bit as potent as it was the first time.
The doors of the barn open and sunlight pours in through the dust and hay. We’re ready to spend the day with Quincy and find out what it’s really like to have one of our all-time favorite dream jobs: to ride horses for a living (and to wear those amazing outfits.) Saddle up!