We are riders. We are SmartPak
Sara as a rider: I think I fell in love with horses before I could walk, but I didn't start taking lessons until I was 12. I rode hunter/jumper for many years, including two years on an IHSA team. After college, I moved to Massachusetts and found an event barn where I fell in love with my current (and first!) horse, Carpe Diem. We've been learning to event together for the six years that I've had him, and he's making the leap to Training level this year - I just hope I'm ready to make it with him!
Sara as a SmartPaker: Working in the Creative department at SmartPak is nothing short of a dream job. As the Creative Director, I'm able to help determine how we present ourselves to the riders browsing our catalogs in barns and tack rooms across the country. We work very hard, but it's a whole lot easier when you're looking at images of gorgeous horses all day.
All about Diem: Diem is the quintessential chestnut OTTB. At 13 years old, he's still a puzzle to figure out every time I ride, and he's an absolute blast when the pieces come together. He's athletic and bold, and he jumps around cross country like a machine. The dressage doesn't come naturally to either of us, but working through that challenge has taught me a lot about patience and persistence. And, it makes me appreciate the jumping phases even more.
Annie as a rider: I guess my parents should have known I was destined to ride when I used to make them pull the car over so I could pet any horse we happened to be driving by. I started off with My Little Ponies, moved on to Breyer horses and finally graduated to the real deal of taking riding lessons. As a junior, you'd find me working and showing most weekends and as I entered my amateur years I even pulled off a win at the New England Equitation Finals. These days, things are a little less serious, spending weekends with my horse, Erik, and show lightly throughout the summer.
Annie as a SmartPaker: At SmartPak, I handle our English sponsorships. This encompasses everything from the daily requests that come through, to our major association partnerships to our relationships with each Team SmartPak rider. Having grown up in the horse show world, I really feel my job couldn't be a better fit! I might not be at shows every weekend anymore but I still get to enjoy them from my desk :-)
All about Unlisted ("Erik"): Oh Erik. Where do I begin? Erik came to me as a practice horse with the intention we'd keep him for a year while I learned the ropes of the 3'6" divisions. Well, 12 years later, we're still practicing! Erik wears many hats these days as my best bud, partner in crime, and psychiatrist all rolled into one! For a "practice horse" he's certainly outdone himself and exceeded every expectation anyone ever had. I just can't imagine life without him.
Jen as a rider: Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys of eventing! After graduating I learned how to sit while working for a dressage trainer and now am a committed low-level eventer in the ever-elusive quest to put together three solid phases.
Jen as a SmartPaker: I manage SmartPak's Retail Store in Natick, MA - if you are ever in the area, please stop by to say hi and check out all our amazing products in person! We also have a fantastic clearance section with some unbelievable deals.
All about Tally: Taliafera is a 9 year old TB/WB chestnut mare and she is just starting her eventing career. She was very green when I got her last year, so we spent a lot of time exploring the great outdoors and learning that the dressage arena is really not that bad. She loves to jump and has gotten quite bold in the XC, so I'm excited to start showing!
Brittany as a rider: Ever since I was the girl with 1,000 breyer horses and the raggedy braid in her hair, I was always obsessed. In second grade I moved into a town with a barn right down the street, which is when I started taking lessons. It was a Morgan show barn, and there I bought my horse Nate and we competed in local and A-circuit shows. In college I made the equestrian team, and that's when I caught the jumping bug.
Brittany as a SmartPaker: I'm a Junior Graphic Designer, which means I basically have the most fun job ever. I look at photos of horses every day and design things for horses and horse owners. What could be better .. ?!
All about Nate: Nate is a 20 yr old 14.3 bay morgan. When we first got him he was a seven-year-old western show horse, but we quickly converted him to English. Now, he's a horse that wears many hats and he has certainly taught me a lot. He's my English-ish, jumping, neck reining, trail-going, gallop-gung-ho-ing, canter/loping, trotting/jogging, bareback and bridleless, big ribbon winning, snorting, spooking, lower lip drooping, halter tag champion, itchin' for a neck scratching, SUPERSTAR! :)
Susan as a rider: I've grown up riding hunter/jumpers since the age of 9, but have ridden a bit of dressage and polo as well. I find learning and practicing classic equitation to be continuously challenging but truly fulfilling. Proper flatwork has allowed me to progress in my jumping abilities on different horses. I feel so fortunate to truly enjoy flatting since it has grown the foundation of being able to ride just about any horse I'm fortunate enough to sit on.
Susan as a SmartPaker: I can honestly say that work doesn't usually feel like work. I head up the Barn Team so I get to talk to Barn Professionals all over the country, and their clients, about customized supplement programs to make their horses look and feel better. I travel to trade shows where I get to meet our Barn Pros as well as our customers, new and existing customers, with the face-to-face interactions rounding out what I love about my "job."
All about Excel: I have had my horse Excel for 14 years. He is a 16-3 hand bay Oldenburg gelding and is the light of my life. I grew up riding, but never had a "show" horse until I bought him. I had little idea what I was in for, but I have so enjoyed the ride. We started in the Schooling Hunters when he was 6, moved up to the Adult Amateurs and Adult Equitation. Excel then ribboned in the First Year Division at the Marshall and Sterling Finals at age 10 and from then we moved to the Lo Adult Jumpers competing from New England to New York and Ocala. We ended our career in the Hi Adult Jumpers and I couldn't have been more pleased. We stopped showing last year as he told me he was happy to continue jumping but at home. I enjoy riding in the Indoor ring, but not nearly as much as when we are able to ride in our outdoor ring or our big field, jumping, flatting and sometimes just during really long walks. He had taught me so much about setting and achieving my riding goals, hard work, and mostly about patience. I just love it when he hears my voice and nickers, even before I walk over to his stall. Brings a smile to my face every single time.
Lydia as a rider/driver: I got my first horse in 7th grade, discovered dressage in high school, and haven't looked back since. I've slowly been accruing USDF performance awards (graduating from their "L" program with distinction last year and aiming to complete my Bronze Medal and Freestyle Bar requirements this year) Now I'm adding driving awards to our collection. Could jumping trophies be in our future? Stay tuned!
Lydia as a SmartPaker: I'm in my seventh year as the staff veterinarian and medical director at SmartPak and continue to learn new medical info and new technology. From presentations at horse expos to webinars and videos, and from health care articles to Ask the Vet blogs and our new Ask and Answer feature, we're on the cutting edge of getting the most up-to-date facts and figures into the hands of horse owners.
All about Newman: While it hasn't always been easy with "Newmie-poo," as he's affectionately called (pulled suspensory, colic surgery, PSSM), I am enjoying horse ownership more than ever before with this spectacular trakehner who does it all: rides, drives, jumps, trail rides, goes side saddle; we've even tried bareback!
Ashley as a rider: I have considered myself a horse crazy individual since the age of four when I took my first riding lesson. I began my riding career in an English saddle, but quickly found a passion for the western all-around show ring and switched. I have completed heavily in AQHA and APHA as a youth and moved to showing APHA as an amateur rider. Even though my show gelding has been retired from the show ring this year, I am still actively working with young horses as much as I can in my spare time to keep my skills fresh.
Ashley as a SmartPaker: Over the past seven years as a SmartPaker, I have had the privilege of directly helping our customers both over the phone and at trade shows. As the current Outbound Customer Care Manager, I support our team of Supplement Experts as they provide the best service in the industry. It is exciting to know that every day our contacts with customers are working to truly make a difference in their horses' health and their riding experiences!
All about Face A Rocki (Rocki): Rocki is a 1997 APHA gelding with a natural talent in the show pen in all-around events. He has excelled in everything from western pleasure to trail to halter and even a few hunter under saddle classes. He has the biggest personality of any horse I know and never fails to keep me on my toes. These days he has taken a step back from the spotlight in the show pen and is enjoying his life as a trail horse and occasional pony ride for my nieces and nephews.
Kerri as a rider: I've been riding since the age of 10, starting out in 4-H and Pony Club. I competed in eventing at the local level before focusing solely on dressage. I competed on the IDA team in college and have continued to compete in USDF dressage shows at the local and regional level.
Kerri as a SmartPaker: As the Marketing Manager for SmartSupplements, it's my job to help horse owners learn about all of the wonderful supplements we offer. It warms my heart to think of the many horses who have benefited from SmartSupplements over the years- and I love seeing their photos and stories!
All about Luna: Luna is a 1998 Connemara/Thoroughbred black mare. Although she is only 15.2, she has enough personality for a much larger horse. Her nickname around the barn is "Diva", but her name show name "Mezzaluna" is Italian for crescent, in reference to her moon-shaped star. We're aiming to show Second Level dressage this year, and I couldn't be more excited!
Renee as a rider: Since I can remember I've always loved animals. My love for horses just seemed a natural progression. As a kid I took lessons on an Appaloosa named "Cookies N Cream." He taught me how to post. But my first memory is riding bareback on a family friend's Belgium draft horse. I was active in 4-H growing up. These days I'm a full on horse addict. I compete in the Adult Hunters, USHJA National Hunter Derbies and Adult Equitation.
Renee as a SmartPaker: I pinch myself every day that I get to call what I do work! As a Director of Merchandise I oversee product selection and development in categories like hunter/jumper show apparel, field boots and casual apparel. I'm also involved with developing SmartPak private label tack and apparel.
All about my boys: I've been fortunate to be teamed up with Witness for almost 3 years. Cooper came into my life last fall. They are the best boys that I could ask for. Witness has a huge personality and is true professional, he knows he's good at his job and he NEVER lets me down. His favorite treat is bananas. Cooper is a sweet lad. I call him a lad because he's not a boy but not yet a man. He's incredibly sweet and always thinking. He has the most amazing canter!
Mollie as a rider: I started riding when I was 9 years old and quickly got swept up into the competitive hunter/jumper world. I showed my first pony, Chloe, in the Small Pony Hunter divisions were we competed at shows like Fairfield Hunt Club, Old Salem, HITS, and Westbrook. Once I outgrew my pony, I moved onto showing in larger divisions and in the jumper ring. These days I compete in the Adult Hunter/Equitation divisions, and I hope to move up with my new horse Eden, by next year and show in the AO hunters!
Mollie as a SmartPaker: As part of SmartPak's Creative team, it's my job to make sure catalogs, brochures, signs, package inserts, and other printer materials look awesome by the time they make it into our customers' hands! My team members and I have a ton of fun during the process, and that helps us always meet our goal of supporting Happy Riders and Healthy Horses
All about Eden: Eden's a 2005 bay Premium Oldenburg mare. She has a star, a snip, and 3 white socks. She is new to the East Coast, as she just moved up here from Houston, TX! She is adjusting quite well and getting used to the white-powdery stuff on the ground, however, she hates blankets and would rather be a wooly pony all winter. I can't wait to see what our future has in store and to compete with her in the hunter divisions on the east coast this spring and summer show season! :-)
Karen as a rider: My mom always had horses and it wasn't long before I caught the horse bug and never looked back! I started out in 4-H and soon found myself competing on the AQHA circuit in addition to showing IHSA in college. These days, Macy and I do AQHA shows whenever we get the chance.
Karen as a SmartPaker: As a Quality Assurance Engineer, it's my job to double (sometimes triple) check to make sure that shopping and navigating our website is easy and pain free. I also work behind the scenes to help ensure that everything functions correctly so we can get your SmartPaks and goodies out the door!
All about Macy: Macy is a 2007 bay Quarter Horse mare who always knows how to keep me on my toes. She started off showing in the Western Pleasure and has gone on to add Horsemanship, Trail, Halter and Showmanship to her All-Around resume.
Melissa as a rider: I grew up in Virginia and started riding when I was about 7. I never looked back...riding and horses have been a part of who I am since that first ride all of those years ago. I've fox hunted a little but have spent most of my time competing in Hunters and Equitation. I rode on the IHSA Team in college and even competed in some IHSA Alumni classes after graduation. These days you'll find me in the Adult Hunters, Hunter Derbies and Adult Equitation.
Melissa as a SmartPaker: As VP of Merchandising, it is my job to oversee all of our product selection and development. Me and my team travel the world to find and develop things we think are worthy of being in your barns, on your bodies and on your horses. How cool is that?!
All about Drago: Drago is the newest addition to the Hamlet family. He is also the first horse that I've imported from Europe. He is kind of like a 17.1 hand labrador retriever :-) He is a very green 6-year-old Irish Sport Horse who I hope to be showing in the hunters and equitation by the end of the summer. He also happens to be devastatingly handsome with the absolute longest legs I've ever seen!
All about Ellie: Ellie is my soulmate in a horse's body. She makes me smile like no other horse has ever done. After an injury ended her career as my show horse, she embarked on a career in dressage. She has now found her niche at Johnson & Wales University where she is proudly wearing black tack and dancing her way into the hearts of their students :-)
Jessica as a rider: I started riding 28 years ago, more of a "hang-on" kind of method. (Yee- ha!) Recently I've been trying to refine my equation in the hunter/jumper world. In the past, I've tried (and horse shown in) both saddle seat and western. For the last four and a half years, I've owned a small horse farm. It has grown from 10 to 31 stalls, we've doubled the size of the outdoor arena, and last fall we added an indoor. I love showing and l have even started judging at small schooling shows.
Jessica as a SmartPaker: I've been at SmartPak for four years in the IT department. I was the first person in this department to "speak horse" as well as "tech." I do Software Quality Assurance, which means I test our website and internal applications to make sure they work as a user hopes they will. Essentially I try to break our software. My major objective is to make sure that all customers can place their orders without any issues!
All about Kandida: Dia is an 18 year old Holsteiner mare, though everyone guesses she is under 10. (Thanks to SmartPaks!) I've owned her for three years and I utterly adore her. She's been my medal horse and has seen me through all the regional finals (including the New England Equitation Championships). She has such a quirky personality and has got to be one of the smartest, wisest horses I've ever known.
Sarah as a rider: For as long as I can remember, I've thought of myself as a rider. I started out in 4-H and AQHA, competing at the regional, state and national level, then transitioned to the hunter/jumper world of USEF, USHJA and IHSA shows. These days, I consider myself a "wannabe eventer," though I'm hoping to become legit with my first HT this summer!
Sarah as a SmartPaker: As SmartPak's Brand Manager, it's my job to make sure that we're living up to our promise to support healthy horses and happy riders in everything we do. Luckily for me, part of my job includes making sure we - and more importantly, the riders we serve - have fun along the way!
All about Cody: Cody's a 1989 chestnut Quarter Horse gelding. We've been together since 1995 and I can't imagine my life without him. He's been the best partner, teacher, and friend I could ever ask for. And he's stunningly handsome if I do say so myself :-)
Kristina as a rider: My love of horses started when I was three years old but I didn't start riding until I was six. I took lessons once a week on a lunge line and gradually worked up from there. I remained actively taking lessons and participating in local schooling shows. Once I got my horse, Cocoa I began to trail ride and just learn as much as I could about riding. We didn't show very often but when we did we had a blast. Mostly, we rode for fun, and we still do today.
Kristina as a SmartPaker: As part of SmartPak's legendary Customer Care Team, I love hearing all of our customers' stories about their horses and what they do with them. I do call myself a supplement nerd because I love putting together supplement programs that are tailored to fit each horse's individual needs.
All about Cocoa: Cocoa is a the love of my life. She is a 21-year-old Quarter Horse mare (don't tell her that because she believes she's more like 15). I first met Cocoa eight years ago when we worked together as a team doing therapeutic lessons. When she retired from the program, I was able to buy her and start my adventure as a first-time horse owner. In the years I've known Cocoa, we've been through a lot together. We primarily ride for pleasure but will jump at the chance to go to a local fun show. Cocoa knows how to give hugs, come when I call her and, her most famous trick, she sticks her tongue out every time I try to take a picture of her!
Michelle as a rider: I started riding when I was eight years old, taking lessons at a local barn. I helped out after school and on weekends and eventually got to ride horses and ponies outside of my lessons too. I showed a bit in hunter and jumper classes, but I've always loved the relationship-building aspect of working with horses. Recently I've taken up some dressage, and am focusing on groundwork as the foundation of my relationship with my new horse. I'm also a certified yoga teacher and love incorporating yogic practices into my riding as well.
Michelle as a SmartPaker: I'm a part of SmartPak's Customer Care team and I answer emails that come in on a daily basis from our customers. I really enjoy getting to know our customers through the stories they share about their horses, barns, and lives in general. I also love getting to see photos of the horses I've talked about with people.
All about Maddie: Maddie is an 11-year-old QH/Arab cross mare. She's a flea-bitten grey with a double whorl on her forehead, which I've heard means that a horse is free-thinking and stubborn (but don't say that in front of "Miss Madeline"). Maddie was a rescue mare and has definitely come a long way in the year we've been together. We think a lot alike which causes us to butt heads sometimes, but which also helps me understand things she might need help with, and which helps me learn more about myself too.
Kaitlin as a rider: I started riding in middle school. I had always been an animal lover, but I think my parents where surprised at the sudden interest in horses. I continued to surprise them when I stuck with it and eventually went to school so I can build my life around horses. I took lessons on and off, and volunteered or worked at a few local barns for years, and when I was sixteen I bought myself my very own horse, a 10-year-old Thoroughbred. He's taken me to my first show, followed me to college, and all the way to SmartPak! Today we love to trail ride, do a little dressage, and a few cross rails to change things up.
Kaitlin as a SmartPaker: I'm a member of our Customer Care team, which means I spend my days answering the phones and waiting to talk to all of our amazing customers! I love supplements and could talk about them all day, and I love building the perfect SmartPak for every horse. Each horse is an individual with unique needs, so every SmartPak is always different!
All about Samurai: Samurai, or Sam, is a 16-year-old Thoroughbred gelding, dark bay with a faint star and just a smidge of white above each hind hoof. Sam's hobbies include halter tag, playing with his friend Chandler, and grazing. He is one of the most curious horses I have ever met and has taught me so much. We're both looking forward to many more happy years together.
Emily as a rider: I started riding when I was 10 years old and since then I have competed in a wide variety of disciplines, including hunters, jumpers, team penning, hunter paces, and competitive trail riding. I also did IHSA in college, and drove a horse-drawn carriage for several years in Boston. These days I mostly trail ride, and occasionally head to a hunter pace or schooling show.
Emily as a SmartPaker: As part of SmartPak's Accounting team, I make sure our bills get paid, and I keep our dog food licensing up-to-date in all 50 states! My team members and I have a ton of fun during the process, ensuring we continue to support our goal of Happy Riders and Healthy Horses.
All about Ax: Ax and I have been together for 12 years. She is a thoroughbred from South Carolina who raced all over the east coast until she was nine years old. She's 16 hands tall and all black except for a tiny white star below her forelock. We have a lot of fun together, and she's the best trail partner I could ask for!
Rachel as a rider: I started riding when I was 6 years old and quickly got swept off my feet. I fell in love with horses and there was no looking back. I grew up in the hunter/jumper world, but then I went to college, and college opened me to a whole new world - dressage!! I am now out of school and trying to enter the world of eventing, but honestly I'm not sure I'm brave enough!
Rachel as a SmartPaker: Being a part of SmartPak allows me to wear many hats. I work in our Retail Store in Natick, MA as our Visual Merchandiser. This job allows me to dress mannequins, and play with customers and product all day! When I'm not working at the store, I work at our Plymouth office as a Customer Care Representative, and I get to talk about product, supplements and horses all day.
All about Chief: Chief is a bay TB/Morgan at the young age of five years old. He is super-cute and does almost anything you ask him to!
Molly as a rider: After begging my parents non-stop, they finally gave in let me take lessons when I was six years old. As the only horse person in my family, we're still not quite sure where "the bug" came from. My current horse, Danny, is the very first lesson horse I rode! I went on to become a 4-H kid, showing in all the local shows, doing hunter/jumper and dressage. In college I caught another, perhaps even more serious "bug" - polo. I played 4 years straight (indoor and out); and Cornell won the National title all 4 years I was there. Currently I trail ride Danny and plan to get back into polo in the future, as I miss it dearly.
Molly as a SmartPaker: I've been with SmartPak almost nine years now! As a longtime member of the Merchandising department, I've had the opportunity to learn many different aspects of the department, with my latest venture being on the Inventory Control Team, which I love. I get to buy fun horse "stuff," every week- for our customers!
All about Danny: Born "Cassity Dan" in Oklahoma, Danny is a classic seal brown Quarter Horse who is turning 30 this year. We began our adventure together when I was 6 and he was 5. Needless to say we've had too many adventures to count! He's bombproof when he wants to be, but has a lovable grumpy demeanor that has resulted in some pretty impressive bucks and pasture jumping excursions. He's truly an awesome example of the breed, as he can do anything asked, including First Level dressage, jumping, trail class (state champ!), and allowing me to hit polo balls when I was desperate to practice. Although he's the classic western build, my heart was always in English disciplines. Our favorites times together have always been, and continue to be, out on the trail exploring. And it probably goes without saying that he's been on SmartFlex Senior ever since I started nine years ago with SmartPak.