Hello everyone in the equine world! I’m excited to be bringing you guys another blog post and this time I’m not alone! For todays post I have Forest, who is not only my best friend but also the owner/founder of Herd of Zebras – an equestrian lifestyle company that is centered on inclusion & providing a voice to those with medical conditions & disabilities. I’ve personally been working with HofZ for over a year now and it’s amazing to see how far they’ve come in such a short amount of time! I’m excited for Forest to share her story, what HofZ means to her and her vision for her company in the next few years.
Tell us a little bit about you!
Hey everyone! My name is Forest and I am the owner of Herd of Zebras! I am so happy to be sharing a little bit about myself and my brand with you. I am 33 years old and a native to Wisconsin. I have been riding since I was 5 years old and have been completely hooked on horses since. To my father’s dismay, it was not just a phase I would grow out of but something that I love more and more every day. (Sorry dad.)
Currently, I own three beautiful horses; Sparky, Rudolf & Bindi. Sparky is the love of my life and I’ve had him since I was 8 years old and showed him in the large ponies division. Rudolf is my retired jumper that I have had for the last 15 years and he’s just the sweetest dude. Bindi is my 3-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare that I purchased from Ireland when she was about four months old. They are all very special to me and I feel so fortunate to have them in my life. How many people are lucky enough to still have their first pony 25 years later? Not many.
I grew up showing in the hunter jumpers from the short stirrup to the large ponies, the junior hunters to the jumpers. I haven’t shown in nearly ten years since I finished graduate school at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. I hope to get back into the show ring next season with Bindi in the green hunter classes.
What is Herd of Zebras?
Herd of Zebras is an equestrian-inspired lifestyle brand that was founded with the heart-centered badass in mind. Our products are specifically designed to celebrate and support your daily feats of courage, compassion, raw tenacity, and so much more. Join the Herd, where the uncommon at heart come together to show their stripes. I started HofZ in October of 2018 with my sister in law and BFF Liz.
How did you come up with the concept for your business?
I came up with this idea after struggling for many years with stage four endometriosis. I was facing some pretty heavy stuff at a young age and couldn’t find anyone who had gone through the same situation as I did. I use this analogy to help describe what I was feeling at the time. “I felt like I was a zebra among a herd of horses. You look kind of like a horse, act kind of like a horse but you are so different.” – This is where the name of the company came from! I was trying to find other people who had gone through really hard times and couldn’t find another person to relate to. Herd of Zebras is not about anyone ailment in particular but a place (and a brand) where everyone can come together to support each other and be honest about what they have gone through and how they made it out on the other side better for it. When people see our logo I want them to see someone who is strong, kind, badass, and hopeful for the future.
What types of things do you sell on your site?
We sell a little bit of everything! We have a large variety of super soft and comfortable clothing that is awesome for at the barn or just everyday life in general! Our fall line is full of great colors, tons of hoodie options, vests, softshell jackets, Sherpas, fun tees with inspirational and funny sayings, a larger variety of unisex options, and even items for children. We also have cute accessories such as baseball and winter hats, visors, totes, beautiful handmade mugs by Stone Pony Pottery, zip pouches, stickers, lanyards, blankets, and water bottles We also offer a variety of equestrian products such as saddle pads, bonnets, coolers, grooming and tack bags, and Dreams & Screamers boot socks. We are constantly looking to expand our line so keep your eyes out for new things coming all the time!
To what do you attribute to your success?
Wow. That is a broad question! I guess it all depends on how you look at success. I am not sure I will feel like I have become a successful person until I have achieved all my goals. One thing I can say is that I would have never gotten to the point in my riding, my education, or had the strong convictions I have had it not been for my parents. They are the two best people I know and their love, support, and encouragement has had a major impact on the type of person I have become. My fiancé, Dan, is also a person I contribute to the success of my growing brand. He has always been so supportive of what I am trying to do with HofZ and helps me in any way he can. From things like helping with inventory and adding hang tags to products to larger tasks like coming to events to help me sell, he is always there to encourage me along the way. I am very lucky.
Where do you see Herd of Zebras in 2020?
I am hopeful that Herd of Zebras will continue to grow as a brand and as an over all attitude for those in the equestrian community. I know that is can be a pretty cut throat industry and so competitive. I try to remind myself daily that all the little steps forward I am making with the brand will pay off in the end.
We are hoping to be vendors at larger events (Land Rover Three Day Event, Pony Finals, Equifest) and expand our brand into tack stores throughout the country. We will also continue to help support non-profit causes through out the year such as making items for breast cancer awareness, endometriosis awareness, LGBTQ rights, and many others that come up throughout the year.
Another thing we are working on expanding next year is our blog section where we highlight different riders with unique stories. Our goal here is to help form a sense of community and acceptance within the equestrian community.
Herd of Zebras Socials:
@herd.of.zebras on Instagram and Facebook