Active outdoor footwear and apparel company Ariat International is expanding its partnership with the Fisher family - the founders of the Gap brand - after being sold by its private equity owners.

The deal will see the Fisher family, which was already a shareholder in the business, and the company's management team up to drive long-term global growth in the riding boot, equestrian apparel and accessories specialist.

"For almost 20 years, we have been partners with Beth and her management team as they built Ariat into a world-class company and brand," said John Fisher, who will serve on the Ariat board.

"We are excited to continue that partnership and support the next phase of Ariat's global growth plans."

The company has already expanded its business into key international markets, and is said to be the fastest-growing equestrian brand in Europe, the UK and Australia.

Beth Cross, CEO and co-founder of Ariat, added that the Fisher family's "deep experience as business leaders will provide a strong strategic foundation for the company's long term growth opportunities."

Private equity firms LNK Partners and Brentwood Associates, who first invested in Ariat in November 2006, led the sale. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.