Lorna Goode is an optimist.
Every morning she gets dressed in riding wear in hopes that there will be time to ride one or both of her beautiful Andalusians. Many days, however, that doesn't happen. There's two great kids, including a nine month-old daughter, to tend to and an international company to run. Fortunately, that company is Goode Rider, "the experts in fit and style" makers of equestrian apparel, so Lorna looks terrific whether she gets to ride or not.
Lorna and her business partner Kristin Calandra founded Goode Rider in 2003 and introduced their first line in 2004. While both Kristin and Lorna ride, Lorna is the more competition oriented. The two became friends while working at Levi Strauss in San Francisco. Lorna was the head designer on the woman's Dockers line while Kristen did merchandising. Frustrated by the lack of fun and functional clothing for equestrians, they decided to create their own. True to the founders' professional background, Goode Rider's pieces start with fashion then incorporate features that enable riders to be comfortable and effective in the saddle.
"My censors are always on alert, but most of my design ideas come not when I'm riding or at the barn, but when I'm in Europe or Hong Kong, which is where we do most of our design research," Lorna explains. Working with colleagues still in the mainstream fashion industry is another source for synching with trends in fabrics, colors and designs. "We take elements of the 'real' fashion market and implement them in the equestrian world."
Lorna and Jaleo.
Lorna's riding experience does influence the features found in Goode Rider apparel. "I'm a dressage rider and I always hated full-seat breeches because you could never really get into the saddle," she explains. "I had one of our fabric mills develop an ultra stretch fabric with lycra in it so you can really get right into the saddle." That resulting Stretch Ultra™ fabric is found in
the knee patches and full seat style of all
Goode Rider breeches.
Another frustration that led to a product enhancement was waistbands that did not go with the constant flow of riding and life around the barn. Goode Rider's Custom Fit Waistband is a contour band that allows comfortable core movement while riding and prevents a big gap in the back of the breech when bending over for chores.
The line has many fans within and well beyond the english riding disciplines and its pieces are often seen on Hollywood celebrities. "We're more of a lifestyle brand," Lorna notes. "The look is not screaming 'I'm in the saddle!'"
Despite the busy schedule of a career and a family life in ascent mode, Lorna has maintained horses for the last 12 years and has been a rider her entire life.
Allison Mathy on Vaquarius, Carolyn Carroll on Quarteto do Top, Lorna Goode on Jaleo, Jeannette Derammeleaere on Uhlala.
The quadrille plans an appearance at the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse in Los Angeles on May 5. Photo courtesy of Jak Wonderly.
She's a Swede and enjoyed the Swedish equivalent of a Pony Club-style upbringing. Instead of Shetlands, she and her sisters Teresa and Anneli rode Gothland ponies, which Lorna describes as having the same sturdiness and stubbornness as our Shetlands. The Goode girls did everything with them: jumping, dressage, trail riding and the all-important caroming around in fields.
Teresa and Lorna wound up in equestrian lifestyles. Teresa operates the Horses of Spain Andalusian breeding program near Girona,
Spain and was the instigator of Lorna's switch from her native Swedish Warmbloods to Pura
"It's easy to see why they were the favorite horses of kings," Lorna says. "They look and feel macho and spunky, yet you feel safe on them. They are easy to collect and they learn very quickly." Lorna has competed her stallion Jaleo through Fourth Level dressage and they are schooling some Grand Prix movements with hopes of returning to the show ring when her schedule allows.
Lorna studied design in Sweden before moving to the States in 1987 as an au pair. Before landing at Levi, she ran her own couture design company in Florida, and earned a design degree at FIDM in San Francisco.
Also she hasn't competed much lately, Lorna has found time to show off her stunning stallion. While preparing for the CDS Sonoma Chapter's big fundraiser, Dressage in the Wine Country, last September, trainer Allison Mathy initially sought fellow professionals to fill a quadrille exhibition of Spanish steeds. She reached out to Lorna, an amateur, upon hearing good things about her and Jaleo. The pair did not disappoint. "She is a really good horsewoman and rider," Allison reports. "And her Andalusians are fabulous!" The DWC quadrille, and another exhibition at the CDS Northern California Championships in October, were big hits.
Lorna, husband David Grohol, and their now
7 yr old son, Lukas. Lorna admits she hasn't had much time to snap photos since their 9 month
old daughter, Sienna was born.
Allison is grateful for the fringe benefit of getting to know Lorna. "She was such a pleasure to work with; a wonderful person. And graceful
and tactful under the pressure of a quadrille of
four stallions, two of which were a little greener than others."
Allison observes that everybody knows Goode Rider, but not everybody knows that the "Goode" is Lorna. "She's a bright spot on the West Coast equestrian scene. She strives for a high standard of excellence in everything she does. And, it's nice to have an entrepreneur that is an actual, real rider. You don't see too many of those."
Don't Dream: Act!
Chances to ride on any given day are improved by the fact that Lorna's horses live at a friend's private stable, just three doors down from the Sonoma home she shares with her husband David Grohol, their 7-year-old son Lukas and baby Sienna. Working from her home office is a big help, too. But the main office in San Francisco beckons regularly, along with international travel to keep abreast of the latest trends, materials and manufacturing processes. Trainer Dan Rocks keeps Lorna's horses exercised and tuned up when she is unable to.
Lorna's husband is "not a horse guy at all!" she laughs. They met playing tennis, but now share a horse-related passion for the Giant Steps Therapeutic Riding Program, located at the Sonoma Horse Park. David's brother, Jim, has cerebral palsy and has been an active rider with a similar program in the New York City area for 20 years. Jim's commitment inspired David to get involved in Giant Steps and he is currently chairman of the board. "It's a wonderful program that's close to both of our hearts," Lorna notes.
One of those people who gracefully gets a lot done, Lorna seems to love everything she's doing. "She manages to work really hard and also have a lot of fun and lead a beautiful lifestyle," observes her Goode Rider partner Kristin. "She has a funny, dry sense of humor and is one of those people that everybody loves."
"I admire how she has merged her hobby and her talents together," Allison notes. For those who aspire to do the same, Lorna offers this advice: "Don't dream. Act! You can do anything you put your mind to. And, never give up!"