March 2018 - Fashion, Fittings & Fun

Ella & Schatzi Biernat at Horse And Rider Boutique's new Del Mar location.

Horse And Rider Boutique adds a Del Mar showroom and shop.

by Kim F. Miller

Barbara Biernat was not expecting walk-by business when she opened Horse And Rider Boutique’s first showroom in San Diego County’s Del Mar. When a passerby purchased two pairs of shoes within two hours of opening the doors to the public, the dressage apparel maven thought otherwise. But even if walk-in business pleasantly surprises her, she’ll continue to focus on what’s made her mobile business highly sought: outfitting equestrians in the finest European brands and providing highly personalized service.

The shop facilitates more of the individualized services Barbara’s business is famous for. Personal shopping and pre-booking items from popular, often hard-to-get, apparel and equipment lines are services she’s offered for a long time. Facebook Live fittings are a new addition.

“Horse And Rider Boutique is not your usual tack store,” explains longtime client and top dressage rider Sabine Schut-Kery. “Barbara brings over Europe’s latest and most stylish products that are not only fun, comfortable and up-to-date, but also have great quality, functionality and a long life! I really appreciate her service and the fact that she can get me and my horses anything we need in a reasonable amount of time. I love that I can find pieces that I don’t find in the average tack store. It’s that special piece that I really can fall in love with.”

Along with outfitting riders and horses, Barbara hopes the showroom will become a hang-out for equestrians. Racks of elegant riding apparel line a living room-style seating area in the middle of the cozy shop. Situated in the Gelsons-anchored shopping center on Via de la Valle, it is less than five minutes from the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the Del Mar Horsepark. It’s convenient to the many trainers and horse owners in the area, and for those competing at those popular venues.

A champagne opening in early February set the tone for what Barbara hopes will become regular get-togethers at the Boutique. She was happy to see the elegant VIP area at the Adequan West Coast Dressage Festival become a gathering spot for riders to relax together and hopes the Boutique can build on that tradition. Eight year old Ella Biernat is a budding hostess, as is Schatzi, the family’s cute dog.

Barbara will continue to visit the main dressage circuits throughout the United States, including Florida, where she is a familiar presence. The shop will be open five days a week, and other times by appointment.

Knowledgeable friends will attend the store when Barbara is away, and she’s always reachable by phone. For those who can’t stop by, fittings by Facebook Live are a new option that Barbara has already had success with. Walking customers through the process of measuring their leg and foot for boots, or their torso for a custom show coat, it ensures the accurate details needed for a perfect fit.

Breeches, show attire, equipment and accessories are Horse And Rider’s main product categories. Within each, the emphasis is “new exciting products for the equestrian lifestyle,” Barbara explains. “We import smaller, unknown brands to show new items all the time. We like to hear you say that you haven’t seen some of our products before. And we go deeper in the collections of known, established brands to show their variety.”

For more information, visit and its frequently updated Facebook page.