Dressing Up the Equestrian Atmosphere: Jessica Jones of Equestrian Gardens Brings Floral Sustainability to the Arena

March 5. 2024

Story and Photos by Maddy Lima for Wellington International

Whether it’s wearing a favorite show coat or showing off a freshly braided mane, taking the extra step to look and feel polished in the arena can be the key to confidence and success. It was more than just horses and riders dressed to impress in the hunter ring at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) this season.

Equestrian Gardens, started by the creative mind of Jessica Jones, has elevated show and barn life by curating custom floral displays fit for any setup. From the arena to the barn aisle, Jones is determined to elevate each detail while also being a friend to the environment. 

Horses, business and flowers are nothing but familiar to Jones. Growing up in Long Island, NY, Jones began her equestrian career in the junior hunters. Still in the saddle today, Jones still competes in the adult jumpers and adult amateur hunters with Larkspur Farm out of North Salem, NY.

While flowers might not have been her initial career path, Jones’ family introduced it to her at a young age. “Flowers have been kind of an adjacency to my life,” shared Jones. “My grandmother was a past President of theLocust Valley Garden Club on Long Island with national awards for her work. She was always developing interesting arrangements, which I would do with her. My Grandmother passed on her love of horticulture to my late aunt Kathy, who started a business in horticulture on Long Island, and that business still exists today.”

Prior to her floral endeavors, Jones worked in the technology industry at Salesforce and Deloitte for nearly two decades, but decided to go out on her own just over a year ago. “I had planned on starting a digital marketing agency, which is my background, but it just so happened that I visited some horse shows and saw a need,” said Jones.”I saw a gap in the horse show experience; the horses and riders have a nice course set up, but the environment doesn’t feel like a public park. With all the horse shows being on such large acreage: 100 acres, 500 acres, etc. I thought ‘why is it that we shouldn't have that same type of experience and there must be a gap in the market.’” 

That eye for a gap in presentation is what guided Jones into the field of horticulture. Since then, Jones has curated two sides to her business, including personal design and decor for equestrian properties  as well as horse shows.

Jones has already spread her creativity across several show circuits, including at Wellington International. Jones debuted her work during week five of WEF, under the International Arena lights during the Kristen Baran $100,000 Neil S Hirsch Boys & Girls Club Team Hunter Exhibition. Jones’ flowers continued to flourish in the International Arena throughout week six of WEF for all World Championshio\p Hunter Rider (WCHR) week action. 

Equestrian Gardens has quickly become a crucial part of an elevated horse show experience. 

“I came down in November before things had really picked up just to walk the property and get a sense for the environment,” shared Jones. “I know many of the hunter and jumper riders here so I spent time on their farms because the mood and the tone is really important to the way in which the flowers are designed.” 

From jump to jump, Jones curated each display to compliment the other while also working alongside hunter week’s course designer, Andy Christiansen, to add friendly questions to the courses. 

“I feel so honored and privileged to be here at Wellington International and part of the WEF circuit to work on the course design with Andy Christensen,” said Jones. “I'm so excited about it because the hunters in the International Arena are already so exciting and this really dresses it up. They deserve it. The presence of the jumps is really beautiful and I'm excited to see it in action.”

Outside of the arena, Equestrian Gardens designs individual barn displays and landscapes, whether that be a show aisle or a home base. “I want to make barn design beautiful yet affordable,” said Jones. “Customizing a barn display for clients is something very personal. It can be the extra touch someone needs to feel their best. I want to make showing easy and bring beauty to home farms wherever my clients go.”

Jones’ work is not only beautiful, but also sustainable. It is very common for flowers to serve a single-use purpose. The thought of where each flower comes from, and where it goes after each display is usually unconsidered, but for Jones sustainability is a guiding principle of her business.

Each flower that is a part of a display comes from a local source, allowing Jones to support local businesses no matter her location. “What I've done over the course of the past two months is establish supplier relationships with growers that are based out of Loxahatchee and other southern areas of Florida so that I can source locally,” shared Jones. “Not only does that help me support local Florida businesses, but it also keeps my carbon footprint lower rather than shipping things from all over the place.”

Jones’ efforts to bring sustainability best practice into her business compliments the equestrian lifestyle we should all strive for; creating a better world for our horses. After their time in the arena, certain displays are to be planted on the showgrounds and at local farms to serve an even larger purpose. After each display has served its time, Jones is to reuse potting materials for future projects and return unused materials to compost and recycling.

Jones’ business goes far beyond the barns, continuing to support local businesses and setting the standard for environmental sustainability in the future. Her floral artistry will return to WEF during Week 11 and be featured in the International Hunter Derby, presented by Marshall & Sterling/Great American, on the grass derby field at Equestrian Village.