The Dark Horse range is a runaway success…


Jewellery designer and horsewoman Jennifer Boyle started out as a photographer, but then she saw the light, and created Dark Horse jewellery…

“I love photography but photographing large events was extremely time consuming,” explains Boyle, who lives on a property not far from Casino.  “If I’d kept going I would never have had the time for my own horses. So the decision to become a designer was partly based on lifestyle because  I really wanted something more flexible that I could work from home with. But having photographic skills helped me immensely with Dark Horse Studio, as I’ve been able to do all my own product and press images.”

Boyle, who has owned horses most of her life, has always been an animal person.  “I’ve also always been very creative,” she says, “and I’ve been able to blend the two.  I thought of the name because I’ve always loved blacked horses – although funnily enough I own several different coloured horses, and none of them are black.”

Dark Horse has been going for five years, and while Boyle has been carefully building her business, she’s also attracted a mass of media attention because of a curious friendship between two of her four-legged friends.  “I’ve got a horse called Champy, and a cat called Morris, and for some reason they made friends,” she says.  “One day Morris simply hopped on Champy’s back, and Champy didn’t mind at all, and since then it’s become a regular occurence.  They’ve been in newspapers and magazines and even on television.”

Morris goes for his daily walk on Champy.

Morris goes for his daily walk on Champy.

Boyle’s found the antics of her two animal friends a relief to the difficulties of learning to build a business.  “It was hard in the early days,” she says, ” because I was doing everything myself, and it really used to make my head spin. I had to be the photographer, graphic designer, jewellery designer, sales person, book-keeper and website builder – and sometimes I had to be all those things in one day!”  These days she says – “I’ve just got really good at juggling!”

Creating the business has in large part meant working out the market for her unique jewellery.  “I think it’s one of the most fundamental things to work out the best place to market your goods,” she says. “Sometimes places you think will work really well don’t and other places turn out to be wonderful surprises.” In the early days of the business Boyle sold equestrian related items directly to customers at horse events  but nowadays days she’s handling more and more wholesale orders.

“It was always part of the long term plan to be able to mainly sell wholesale,” she says, “and I’m really pleased that the Australian range, and also the merchandise for events and organisations have really started to take off. I’ve progressed into different ranges as well, I still have the equestrian range, but also a Champy & Morris range, Australian animals, farm animals and some dog breeds and I’m always adding more.  I’d like to get to a point where I can donate some of the Australian animal range in particular to help native animal charities on an ongoing basis. It would be great to know that these products have helped animals in some small way.”

"I couldn't live without my animals," says Jewellery designer Jennifer Boyle.

“I couldn’t live without my animals,” says Jewellery designer Jennifer Boyle.

A recent growth in the business has been the poularity of her Australian animal range.  “I’ve had a great response to the them,” says the 42-year-old, who was born in Newcastle, but has lived in the Northern Rivers for over a decade.  “There’s really nothing like it, and it means people can buy something small, light, attractive and Australian for overseas gifts as well.”

But no matter how well the jewellery does, and how much she enjoys the process, it’s her animals that are her inspiration.  “It’s my horses and my other animals that get me out of bed each day,” says Boyle.  “I couldn’t live without them.”


For information on Jennifer Boyle go to:




Leave a Reply