Founded by Amy Mackenzie in 2008, Hinterland is now in it's second decade. Born from a simple mission to provide quality equestrian products that offered solutions for rider's without compromising on aesthetics or ethics. A competitive marketing strategy was employed by Hinterland, and well received by riders, where the cost was kept affordable to the average rider and quality was not compromised.
Hinterland’s story starts well before the company’s inception, with a long family history of involvement in equestrian. The family has farmed in the South Island of New Zealand for many generations, always employing horses to tackle the rugged mountain and river terrain, moving sheep and cattle. High quality tack was always extremely important to earlier generations, and the importance of fit and comfort was not lost on them. This ethos was passed to younger generations, and when Amy started pony club in New Zealand as a young girl, an understanding of quality tack and fit was emphasised. Amy rose to National level as a young rider, finding success in Eventing throughout the South Island and travelling as far as Auckland from Southland for National Championship placings. Training as a signwriter in the 1990’s enabled Amy to learn digital design, a skill which she feels very privileged to have been able to develop and integrate when designing Hinterland products. When Amy started Hinterland, a friend remarked on the unique set of skills Amy possessed, which meant all aspects of the start-up came naturally to her. It is said you never work a day when you are doing something you love, and that's certainly true when it comes to Amy's work with Hinterland.
The name Hinterland came about after Amy spent a couple of years in Switzerland. The literal translation being “back country” and that also being Amy’s home in Central Otago, New Zealand. In the early days of the business, Amy travelled around New Zealand, riding and competing with her daughter, Indi. Early morning starts would involve preparing the horses and ponies, loading what little stock they had into the car and travelling to ride and promote the products. It was during this time that the first Hinterland Bridle was born, the Fancy That Bridle. Amy wanted to combine both practical solutions with traditional and timeless styling. She sought to create a product that was soft, supple and ready to put straight on the horse, whilst also having signature design details, like an anatomically shaped headpiece that removed fiddly straps as well as a 100% removable flash with no unsightly tab hanging down. The product also needed to be of impeccable quality, but be accessible. After an extremely positive reaction from the New Zealand equestrian community, Amy continued innovating, onboarding brand ambassadors to assist with market research and product development. Wherever there was a gap in the market for a new idea, whether it be time-saving clips, ethics for the horses - like padding across pressure points, or training solutions - like gag reins or adjustable Pelham rounders; Amy and her team were right there developing them. Hinterland rapidly became the must-have brand in the New Zealand equine industry, particularly among Show Jumpers. The growth was organic, formed through word of mouth and a true belief in the quality, style and effectiveness of the products.
Another huge part of what brought success to Hinterland was how many local riders got behind the brand. They were excited abut the products, with design and quality not being normally available to New Zealander’s at an affordable price. There are a huge number of riders who took on the brand wholeheartedly from it’s inception and several of these riders are listed today as brand ambassadors. Rose Alfeld and John Cottle must get a special mention here. They have been with us from the beginning and are certainly champions championing our brand! They love to promote Hinterland as a brand they know and trust. Pip and Pedro Wylaars were also a massive support with a great deal of encouragement and business advice, which continues to date. Great friends who believe in you are certainly a huge help when you may doubt yourself at times! We at Hinterland are extremely grateful to all of New Zealand who got on board with us early on. This later extended into Australia and we have made many great friends through our Hinterland sales trips Horse of the Year, to Oz and further abroad.
Today, Hinterland's products are used around the world by some of the most prestigious professionals in the industry. Amy and Indi continue to work as a mother-daughter team to promote the brand, which is still totally individualised, with Amy checking, packing and sending the orders out daily from our New Zealand warehouse. Indi is all grown up, having recently taken the leap across the ditch to Australia, assisting as our marketing and social media whiz, while Amy's focus is on product development and ensuring smooth running of the business day-to-day.
Since expanding into equine textiles, clothing, and dog accessories, the Hinterland offering includes casual wear, saddle pads, dog collars and much much more. Proudly, all of the designs are still conceived by Amy and Indi, along with a lot of input from our ambassadors and riding friends, with recent developments on a core casual wear collection as well as other stable accessories, and even homewares - watch this space!
Dreaming big, it is Indi and Amy's goal that Hinterland will continue to grow in the international market, loved by both professionals and enthusiastic aspiring riders. The mission has never been to be the most prominent or flashy brand, but rather a brand that offers solutions and makes a difference to the horses and riders. A brand that stands the test of time in style and quality, that riders come back to time and time again.