By Rebecca Harper
Style and elegance are hallmarks of the showhunter equitation classes, much like a handcrafted piece from Ray Burmester Equestrian Jewellery.
The Burmesters have sponsored pieces for the showhunter equitation series winners for several seasons, as well as previously sponsoring the Lady Rider of the Year class at Horse of the Year for a number of years.
Many riders will be familiar with the equestrian-themed collection from Ray, who is a master goldsmith and handcrafts each piece individually.
The business is very much a team effort with Ray’s wife, Jane, looking after marketing, sales and running the website.
“It all started when I broke my back 10 years ago in a riding accident and was in a spinal brace,” Jane says. “Ray left his job in the city as a master jeweller and started his own business, including the equestrian range.”
The couple live on a lifestyle property at Waimauku, north of Auckland, and Ray works from a studio at home.
“He saw the need for really good quality, affordable equestrian jewellery and it’s really become a niche market for him.
“We send things all over the world and have done a range for top dressage rider Charlotte Dujardin. We made a stock pin we gave her at Las Vegas three years ago – she says it’s her good luck charm now.”
The equestrian range started with a few core pieces and has grown from there, as people give Ray ideas and overseas travel provides a source of inspiration.
The unique thing about Ray’s jewellery is that he designs and creates each piece himself from scratch, Jane says. “That’s very rare.”
Customers can expect high quality pieces that are hard wearing and long lasting – perfect for horsey girls who never seem to take their jewellery off, Jane explains. “Not that Ray ever thought the riders would wear them all of the time – but people don’t want to take them off, so you know it’s good quality when it’s hard to kill.”
The snaffle bit bangles are most popular and very affordable, followed closely by the stirrup pendants.
Jane says they were drawn to sponsoring showhunter and, when asked what they would like to sponsor, equitation was top of the list.
“When I managed to get back on a horse again (after the injury) I started off with showhunter. They’re a very good group of people, very supportive and loyal to their sponsors. They appreciate what they’re given, and are also very appreciative of the quality and the product.”
Equitation seemed a good fit for their business. “Showhunter is very proactive and look after their sponsors. When we wanted to give something back, they asked what class we would like to sponsor and equitation was perfect.
“With equitation they have to strive to be the best they can and you’ve got to look the part, which we thought was a good fit for us. It’s all about looking good, having good attire and gear. We thought our jewellery was very complementary to that.”
As well, Ray Burmester Equestrian Jewellery is a sponsor at Woodhill Sands, their local venue, and of Show Jumping Waitemata.
“All our jewellery is New Zealand designed and made. Ray works from home and tries to keep the costs down to make the pieces affordable for all riders – but that doesn’t detract from the quality or time and effort he puts into making each piece.”