Model Rider

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Riding Habit Revised a column where the best and worst of equestrian fashion and decor is reviewed with a modern edge.


As equestrians, we have a tendency to criticize models who pose with horses. I’m sure you’ve heard it or said it yourself. “She’s not holding the reins right,” or better yet, “She’s not holding the reins at all!” But we are all going to have to hold our tongues this fall as fashion model Edie Campbell graces not one but two fashion campaigns featuring horses.

Edie Campbell poses with horse for Alexander McQueen's autumn/winter 2014 campaign

Edie Campbell poses with horse for Alexander McQueen’s autumn/winter 2014 campaign

This breakout British star, who was named “Model of the Year” at the prestigious British Fashion Awards in London last December, is more than just another pretty face. In addition to being known for her bold hairstyles (she cut short her flowing blond locks and dyed them black for a punk story in American Vogue) and her rock star heir boyfriend, Otis Ferry (son of Bryan Ferry), she is truly a noted equestrian.

Campbell began riding at the age of five, currently trains in all three eventing disciplines, and even participated in the Gucci Masters in the same month she was named “Model of the Year.” She shares this passion with her horse, which she herself has called “a bitchy and sometimes adorable mare called Dolly.” I don’t know about you, but that’s enough for me to get the sense that she knows a thing or two about horses — and has no illusions that it’s anything like a fashion shoot.

Edie Campbell at the Magnolia Cup

Edie Campbell at the Magnolia Cup. Photo: WIRE IMAGE

Her comments to Interview Magazine provide further evidence (pardon her “French!”): “It’s very good for you, riding. You know how every model is like, “I do yoga.” Well, I find horses have the same effect, in that you have to put your ego aside and concentrate on making the horse do the things you want it to do, and move in the way you want it to move—particularly if you’re doing dressage. So you have to use your body to help this horse do incredibly difficult movements that don’t come naturally to it. And if something goes wrong, it’s not the horse’s fault; it’s always your fault. So you have to be quite levelheaded. And then the whole nature aspect of it is very calming. It’s great. No one in the horse world gives a flying fuck what they look like.” (Full interview here)

If that’s still not enough evidence for you, perhaps you should try to catch her in the Magnolia Cup race this Thursday. It will be Campbell’s third appearance in this celeb-heavy ladies’ charity race held on Ladies’ Day at the Glorious Goodwood festival. In 2011, after much serious training, she won the inaugural race! And this year she’ll be racing down the furlongs for her chosen cause, the Reading Agency, as well as acting as the 2014 Ladies’ Day Ambassador.

Above all else you, you know Campbell is a committed horse lover when she manages to convince a fashion house in Paris to feature her very own pony in a campaign. And that she has with Lanvin’s Autumn Winter 2014 campaign. In fact, the campaign features no less than eight members of Campbell’s family plus that now famous mare, Dolly.

Note that even in ridiculously high heels, a real rider keeps her leg in the proper position.

Lanvin Official Instagram

Lanvin Official Instagram

Funnily enough, while Campbell may be comfortable in the spotlight, it’s been reported that Dolly is really a bit camera shy. I guess opposites attract!

Lanvin Official Instagram

Lanvin Official Instagram

So before you hastily judge the riding skills of a fashion model, take a moment to make sure that the model isn’t Edie Campbell or a similarly talented model rider!

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