Kennewick equestrian takes a Smooth Stride into the apparel business

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Désirée Johnson, of Kennewick, was an early bloomer when it came to competing in the equestrian arena.

She started riding when she was 6, and within a year was in the show arena. When she was 18, she was selected to be part of the U.S. team that competed at the first three-day Eventing World Championship to be held in the U.S.

That was in 1978 in Lexington, Ken.

Désirée Johnson, of Kennewick, is the owner of Smooth Stride, a company that manufactures and sells riding jeans. Johnson, shown with her Thoroughbred, Ibarro, is also a world-class three day event rider, trainer and coach.
Désirée Johnson, of Kennewick, is the owner of Smooth Stride, a company that manufactures and sells riding jeans. Johnson, shown with her Thoroughbred, Ibarro, is also a world-class three day event rider, trainer and coach.

She’s an accomplished world-class event competitor, trainer and instructor.

And she’s applying everything she’s learned into her new role as an entrepreneur.

Johnson is the owner of Smooth Stride, an online company that manufactures and sells jeans without inseams for equestrians.

The business stemmed out of a search for the perfect pair of riding jeans.

Eventing is akin to an equestrian triathlon. The first day riders compete in dressage, followed by an cross-country endurance course on the second day. The final day is show jumping.

As a coach, Johnson, who grew up on the East Coast, struggled to find attire that was comfortable for riding, but still allowed her to work. Jodhpurs were good for riding, but little else. They are hot and prone to snagging.

“I couldn’t set my jumps in the English riding breeches and had to change into jeans,” Johnson said.

She headed out to Ranch & Home on a quest to find good riding jeans that were durable and comfortable enough that you can ride all day in them.

She was disappointed, and a little surprised. Even the most popular and expensive brands she saw were not what she would classify as riding jeans.

She knew from experience that riding all day in a pair of jeans with inseams that created a lump at the crotch where the seams met would not be comfortable.

So she decided to make her own.

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Mary Coffman

Mary Coffman

Mary Coffman has been a reporter for more than two decades, winning numerous journalism awards throughout her career. She was the editor at Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business for 8 years.

View all posts by Mary Coffman