My Story

Annie and Fella having a moment


My name is Annie – and my story is probably very similar to yours.  Ever since I can remember, I have loved horses.  As a little kid, I knew there was something magical about them.  I feel fortunate that my dad gave in to my pestering and let me take horseback riding lessons at a small facility in Moorpark, CA – Ben Martin Stables.  That led to eventually convincing my dad to buy me my very own horse – a cute and petite mare named Sundance.  It was my dream come true!  She taught me so much…

My journey shifted a bit – due to an accident with her, my dad decided horseback riding was not safe for his little girl.  Daddy was obviously not a horse person; he was just a dad who loved his little girl and wanted to make sure she was safe.

Flash forward DECADES…I ended up finding my way back to having horses in my life.  I think that experience when I was a little girl really impacted me – for the rest of my wild and precious life I will always have horses in it.  No matter what.

Now my life is all about my horses, two beautiful and very different geldings!  I have a retired Quarter Horse, Fella and a Dutch Warmblood, Kingsley.

The Gilded Paddock product line is the result of my passion and love for them and my desire to give them the best possible care. It was during the application of a product to Kingsley’s muzzle that I discovered (to my surprise) that it was a petroleum-based product! It smelled like coconut and fooled me!  Of course, the label did not list the ingredients – I had to hunt down the full ingredient list!  That is when I found out that the FDA does not regulate ‘Pet Grooming’ supplies – it could say it is Natural and still have unsafe, synthetic or chemical ingredients - even known carcinogens!

After that I was determined to create something better for all Equestrians and their Equine Partners, leading to taking cosmetic and organic haircare formulation classes, and then to creating my carefully formulated products with ingredients that are safe and effective with TRANSPARENCY for every ingredient used.

Developing effective, natural, naturally derived, botanical-based equestrian and equine products with an amazing scent was my goal.  Each final product we release is the culmination of testing by a select group – trainers, amateur riders, professional riders, DVMs.  I have taken time to carefully modify our formulations based on our test group feedback to ensure optimal performance, a beautiful fragrance profile, with each product tailored to address equine issues and balanced for their specific skin PH.

Beyond my focus on effectiveness and scent, my top priority was the environment. I research and then select high quality cosmetic-grade, biodegradable and sustainable ingredients.  I planned from the beginning that our products would be available in refills – reimagining equine grooming products.  As a result, many of the products are available in eco-friendly refill pouches - reducing single-use plastic bottles. 

Through my mission and commitment to excellence, sustainability, and transparency, I am elevating the standards of equine grooming products.  My dedication to equine wellness and safety means I will always list every ingredient in our product line, and ensure each product abides by the USEF/FEI Drug & Medication rules (no banned substances) and my strict ingredient selection criteria means I will always say NO to the following ingredients:  Sulfates, Parabens, Phthalates, Silicones, PEGs, 1,4 Dioxane, Synthetic Fragrances, Artificial Colors, Formaldehyde, and anything Petroleum-based (see our "NO" List for more information).

Welcome to The Gilded Paddock.  Let's redefine what it means to care for our horses and ourselves while treading gently on this earth.

Enjoy the ride - 

Annie Kurz-Haugland

Founder/Owner, The Gilded Paddock

MBA, California Lutheran University

BA, Liberal Studies, California State University Northridge



  • Kingsley

    Gold Coast Show @ Hansen Dam

  • Fella

    My sweet retired Quarter Horse

  • Hank (Hunk-a-bear)

    My Love & TGP Mascot