Emmie Strommen

Meet Emmie Strommen, the founder of Calling All Horsegirls, the magazine and community for all horsegirls who once were, still are or have always wanted to be. We talk about the meaning of being a horsegirl, and how it's not defined by gender. We also talk about how she started the magazine, and how she needed to lose the horses to find them again, in the most beautiful way. 

What is your story of becoming a horse girl? 

– I got on my first horse when I was three. I recently found a video of me from that age, and all I wanted to do was to go fast. Not much has changed. When I was 10 my grandparents got me my first horse, a thoroughbred who I named Bernie after my great grandfather. He was the best. Then I got a stallion when I was 15, his name was Rerun. He was a very chill stallion but I still had to sign waivers at horse shows. Once I started showing at higher levels, I sold Rerun to get a horse that I could level up with.

Did your interest in horses change as you got older?

– When I was a junior or senior in highschool, I was thinking about boys, future colleges, and I kind of dropped the ball completely on riding. Looking back, I have a lot of shame around that time of my life, because I had so many horse girls dream, and I wasn’t respecting it. But also I’m grateful, because I now have so much more perspective, respect, and appreciation. 

I ended up going to college for equestrian studies and rode on their IHSA team. I changed my major to creative advertising a year in and then I moved to New York, and started working in advertising. Then to LA to be a creative director and that's where I found riding again, and that's also where I started Calling All Horse Girls. 

“I still can’t believe that we do a magazine, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. But it’s also the most rewarding”

What is Calling All Horse Girls? 

– It’s a community for the horse girls who once were, still are, or have always wanted to be. A group of people that believe in the power of horse girls. As the company grows I want the term horse girl to be more of a feeling and a lifestyle and less defined by a gendered stereotype.

What type of reactions have you been getting from others of Calling All Horse Girls? 

– I’ve been really lucky, it’s been an outpouring of support for the most part. It’s been a lot of, “I’ve been waiting for this for a really long time”, or “finally someone who’s speaking to me.” I went to a coffee shop the other day wearing my riding gear, and this woman came up to me and asked, “oh my gosh I’ve been wanting to get back into riding, where are you riding?” That conversation is what Calling All Horse Girls is in a bigger way. 

Is there some feedback that you specifically remember?

– In the beginning, when it was just an instagram account really, I shared a picture of a hand-me-down Gucci wallet my mom gave me because it had equestrian vibes. Someone reached out and was like, “you are just feeding the stereotype of the rich horse girl.” Whether she meant that to be a nice piece of critical feedback or just to be mean—I heard her. I’m actually really grateful when people feel like they can express how they are feeling because it means I’m creating a safe space. But I believe there has to be compassion on both sides to make change or be effective.

“As you get older the balance of life and horses gets really difficult, and you can lose it, I think it’s too precious to lose”

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Have there been some requests of what you should write about or include in the magazine? 

– For sure. People I’ve never talked to will send me a DM, “hey saw this and thought of you”. Horse things from all over the world. It’s so nice because it helps me find more of the “hidden horse girls”—horse girls that grew up riding, but haven’t posted about horses on their Instagram feed in fifteen years. 

What’s your future plans? 

– I have so many ideas, too many ideas. Right now I’m really focusing on what takes priority and why, and what team I need to execute that thing to its fullest potential. Growing the magazine is the highest priority right now. This summer is PACKED for Calling All Horse Girls though. Product launches, collabs, and we are doing a reprint of Volume One....very excited about that. I had no Idea that people would want to collect all the magazines. The demand for a Volume One reprint is a dream come true. 

Why do you do it? 

– I do it because I really believe in the connection with the horse, the “why” is the horse. We all know that it’s such an incredible, beautiful, healing, life-changing relationship. So, everything we do is to keep that connection to horses throughout every stage of your life, doesn’t mean you have to be riding, but you should always feel involved in the conversation.

“When you’re at the barn you are your most complete self, you know? You should dress like that too”

Who are you outside of the stable? 

– I work a lot and I’m cringing at that answer. [laughs] I have part-time work outside of Calling All Horse Girls so there is always something that needs to be done. My Fiance, Luke and I recently moved from Los Angeles back to Minneapolis where we grew up. We bought our first house here. I’m a huge family person so I spend a lot of time with my family. I'm the oldest of four, so being close to my siblings is everything. Luke is a professional musician, so when things open up fully we will be going to a lot of shows. Otherwise I’ll be hanging with my bulldog, Otis most likely.

Style street to stable? 

Stable: 

– Growing up, my stable style was baggy tee’s and who knows what. Now, going to the barn is like the only time I get “dressed up.” I’m more excited to show my personality at the barn. There are so many cool brands emerging too, like Yagya! So I’m more inspired by the options. 

Street: 

– I wear a lot of vintage Levis, they are like my bread and butter. I wear a lot of sneakers. I’m pretty casual. I invest in quality not quantity, which means I don’t often adopt the latest trends. I just do what feels like me and feels good. I end up having this kind of cool, preppy and casual streetwear-style. 

Did you go through some hard times where being a horse girl has helped you in some way?

– In college I lost who I was a little bit, which I think is what you do when you go to college, you lose yourself, and then you grow up. Throughout college, even though I was figuring out things, there was always this part of me that stayed the same. There was always a center piece of me that knew exactly what was going on and exactly what I was doing and what wasn’t working. I think horses gave me that ability to center myself. Even when I moved to LA, I was like; “something doesn’t feel right.” So, I found the horses. They somehow magically remind me of who I am, what I’m capable of and what’s important.