Hobby Horse CEO Kristin Titov inspires in the show pen, the office and beyond.
By Allison Armstrong Rehnborg
From the sweeping curves of her favorite fringed crocodile skirt to her massive personal collection of patterned show blankets, Kristin Titov’s sense of style and passion for all things horse are the needle and thread in the fabric of her life. Like the colorful geometric patterns and sparkling lines of crystals on a Hobby Horse show jacket, Kristin doesn’t have to look far to see the patterns that horses and fashion have woven in her life.
“My mom made this scrapbook for my grandparents when I was a kid,” Kristin said, opening a leather-bound binder that she keeps in her home office. Inside, show-pen snapshots and formal portraits of Kristin on horseback bloom on every page. “My grandparents lived in Arizona and couldn’t come see me show in California, so whenever my mom got new photos, she’d mail them. She made one for herself as well, and I still keep it up, so I have this journey of horses starting from my first lead-line class at age 3.”
As her fingers flick deftly through the leaves of the scrapbook, Kristin shares stories of reining runs aboard her current mount Gunsup In Tinseltown, a 2014 solid palomino stallion, and remembers the first Hobby Horse piece she owned—a gray equitation suit with pink accents. More than a talisman, the scrapbook reminds Kristin not only of who she is, but who she can be.
“If I’m starting to feel a lack of confidence, this book is one of my resources,” Kristin said. “I can go back and say to myself, ‘You’ve got this. Just look at what you’ve done over the years.’ It’s like a little self-help pep talk every time I look through it.”
Pep talks are handy when you live a life as busy as Kristin’s. As the chief executive officer of show-clothes design company Hobby Horse, a frequent exhibitor in the show pen and a court-appointed special advocate for high-risk foster children, the Newport Beach, California, native stitches her days together with agendas and to-do lists as long as her arm. It only makes sense that she applies her favorite saying to everything from competition to business ventures to horse show fashion: “You can’t control every aspect of what’s going to happen, but you can control how you look.”
“I love wearing the clothes I’ve designed in the show pen,” Kristin said. “I glean a lot of confidence from my riding coach, National Reining Horse Association professional Patrick Flaherty, when I show, but I also get confidence from saying to myself, ‘Look, this is what I’m about; this is what I do. I designed this outfit, and it looks great.’ And I can’t speak for other people, but I hope it’s doing something similar for them. I want people to feel confident in my designs.”
This is an excerpt from the Fall 2019 issue of Chrome—get Chrome magazine by becoming an APHA member at apha.com/join.