The equine image has inspired artists for thousands of years, with the oldest recorded artistic imagery of horses estimated to be 17,000 years old. Found in the Lascaux cave network, these prehistoric paintings depict a variety of animals including felines, stags, wild cattle, bison, and even a rhinoceros. No animal, however, appears as frequently as horses, suggesting an artistic and cultural fascination with the animal prior to their domestication approximately 6,000 years ago.
Upon the domestication of horses and the creation of equestrian sports, people around the world began incorporating equestrian style into both their home decor and wardrobes. Today, key elements of equestrian decor include strong, dark wood, saddle leather, neutral colors, dark accent colors, personally acquired trophies and ribbons, and other horse-related accessories—a distinct evolution from the style’s prehistoric roots.
Equestrian interior design has been refined into a classic, sleek style which designers use to create rustic yet chic and luxurious spaces. Here are six design elements essential for any equestrian’s dream home.
Large Showstopping Artwork
Equestrian decor’s primarily neutral colors create the perfect backdrop for a statement piece like show-stopping wall art. A traditional painting of a grand horse is a classic guaranteed to catch guests’ eyes. Oversized black and white photography, bright impressionistic paintings, and simple graphic etchings are just a few of the more modern artwork options which can be incorporated to keep a space fresh. Regardless of style, each stunning work of equestrian art breathes the spirit of the horse into the home.
Decorative Pillows and Throw Blankets
Blankets and pillows of different textures contribute to the welcoming atmosphere distinct to equestrian homes. Colors like deep navy, black watch plaid, and dreamy beige make the interior feel cozy yet refined. Horse blankets, usually worn by horses for protection from wind and cold, can be used on the interior as well. These traditional warm plaid blankets are folded and displayed elegantly throughout the living space. Some homeowners choose to integrate customized pillows with their own horses and barns for authentic styling.
Horseshoes bring texture and color to the home. Perfectly imperfect, the scratches and scuffs from past competitions are highlighted when horseshoes are hung or framed. The scratches bring the horse and its competition stories into the home, adding another dimension to the design style. They can also serve as keepsakes to remember old horses that have since passed.
Large, rustic, paneled, wood barn doors bring the outdoors inside. Sliding barn doors are used to separate an office, bathroom, bedroom, or closet. They provide the picture-perfect room divider for equestrian homes. The barn door pattern can also be used in other parts of the home like the iconic barn door X-brace design for headboards and furniture.
Boots, Helmets, and Bridle
There is something personal and tasteful about purposefully leaving riding gear out to add to the interior’s aesthetic. It is important to distinguish between pure messiness and thoughtful decor. Leaving out riding boots and hats expresses the level of pride and importance the equestrian lifestyle holds.