"A FARM THAT WORKS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE WELFARE OF THE CREATURES WHO INHABIT IT." - Jennifer Azevedo
Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Lavender Fields in Granite Bay, California to catch up with Jennifer Azevedo, the owner and developer of this amazing property. For several years, Jennifer has been working to develop “a farm that works for the environment and the creatures that inhabit it.” I’ve been able to watch from the beginning as she has taken her concept for a "next generation" equine facility and made it a reality. It was such an honor to see my wild horse photography adorning her barn!
Maria: Let’s start by learning a little about you, Jen. What is your background, and how did you get to the point of starting your own equine facility?
Jen: My background seems to have led me to where I am today. I have been a working student for H/J, Eventing, and Dressage in Kentucky, Rhode Island, Wellington, England, and California. I have an AA in Equine Management from Kentucky. I studied Horticulture at UC Davis and earned my BS from University of San Francisco in Business Psychology. Long story short, I am an Adult Amateur in California with my Bronze medal in Dressage. The combination of my professional marketing career and my education with horses, led me to wanting to own and manage an equine facility in California.
Maria: From the moment you drive onto the property, you realize that this isn’t a typical equine facility. It looks like you consciously have done some things differently and really spent a lot of thought on the design. You may have even broken a few “rules”. Can you tell us about these and what you are trying to achieve?
Jen: Hahaha! Yes, I have broken some rules. I think first and foremost, my facility is off grid. The water, the electricity, everything is produced on the property. The other thing is the stall set up. The stalls are completely open air and as large as typical paddocks. The horses have access to each other to groom and manage social hierarchy. All of them are on dirt; dirt releases serotonin and keeps humans and horses happy- google it. And, we try to make it as natural and safe as possible.
Wild stallions adorn Lavender Fields' walls.
Maria: Being an artist, I’m fascinated by your concept of incorporating art into the design of the stables and I love seeing wild horse photography as a part of it. What inspired you to come up with this idea, and how have you carried it out in designing Lavender Fields?
Jen: Art is my “day job” and so important to me. It is inspiring to have it all around us. So I have art throughout the property; from a metal sculpture of a horse just inside the gate, to large hanging wild horse images in the wash rack area. Horses are such incredible creatures; why shouldn’t we celebrate them as much as possible? Their strength, stamina, ability to really know what is important in the world. Art celebrates that.
Maria: You publish a monthly magazine, also called Lavender Fields, about the Western lifestyle - with an emphasis on the “style”. It has all kinds of interesting information about equestrian life, art, wine, design, recipes; I think there was even a recipe for a lavender latte in the last issue. What is your concept for the magazine, and how do pull together such interesting content each month?
Jen: The concept for the magazine is to celebrate the equestrian lifestyle and all that it encompasses. As equestrians, adult amateurs, professionals, we all have lives outside of the ring. The purpose of the magazine is to celebrate all we do in a day, and to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures, like food, art, and of course, horses.
The content for the magazine comes from my daily life in California. When I am working at Lavender Fields, I take notes on topics that I think might be helpful or interesting to someone. I try to make it relevant for the reader, to evoke thought, and inspire.
Maria: So, you run Lavender Fields, put out a monthly magazine, represent a number of brands and merchandise, compete on your beautiful horse, Fara. Do you ever sleep?
Jen: Hahahaha! Yes. I will not compromise on food or sleep and manage to block out time for myself. I do work 7 days a week. But, I treat myself to naps, great food, and quality time with Fara.
Maria: Just for fun, what are your favorite book and your favorite movie?
Jen: Fun! My favorite book is The Bronze Horseman. Favorite movie - depends on my mood. Generally, I like adventure, heroes, romance, and comedy. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Live Die Repeat, Pride and Prejudice, you get the idea.
Jennifer Azevedo has built out a facility that is welcoming and very pleasant to spend time at - especially for those of us who believe there is never sufficient time to hang out with our equine friends. I’m honored to have my wild horse art incorporated into the stable design and encourage you to learn more at Lavenderfields.co and subscribe to Jen’s monthly digital magazine, which you will really enjoy!
An equestrian for most of her life, award winning photographer Maria Marriott combines her passion for horses with her art and the desire to bring public awareness to the American mustangs and the healing power of horses. Maria Marriott Photography is a proud supporter of non-profit organizations that tirelessly work to ensure the well-being of the American wild horses and promote healing through equine therapy.
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