There can be a very thin line between what’s acceptable and what’s not when you enter the show ring. Its always been that way and always will. I had the pleasure of interviewing, Grace Wiedner, an up and coming top young rider who helped me breakdown the ambiguity of what to wear in the show ring. Her full interview will follow in the coming weeks!
New riders to the Hunter & Equitation Show Ring really need to consider these things when converting over and looking for the right show apparel. What you wear does matter to some extent.
Now, when you are first starting out, there are some good basic items that you want to look for, then as you start to specialize in this area of horse competition, there are some special brands that you considered trendy and in.
But like all disciplines- the classics never go out of style and are classics for a reason. Something to remember, and this applies to almost every discipline, whether it’s apparel or riding gear- ***If you go cheap- the fit most likely won’t be right, the quality is absolutely not there, and you will probably end up wasting your money because once you start using the item- the fit & quality isn’t there, and to make things worse, trying to resell this slighty or never used item- no one wants it! So always ask for advice from a reputable source and weigh in budget and level of competition. There are always tricks and shortcuts in each discipline that you can save and places that it’s just not worth trying to get something less expensive.
A breakdown of what to wear in the Hunter Show Ring:
Helmet: Best value is to go for a classic velvet helmet. Something that fits you well and looks good on you, a low profile helmet tends to look best. A classic velvet helmet will cover Hunter, Equitation, and Jumpers. The Microsuede material is acceptable, but could change as to what’s in or out.
GPA or Charles Owen is the brands to consider.
Hairnet- Always hair up and neat with a hairnet that matches your hair color. There are great new ones from RWR that many people like. A bit easier than the classic.
Earrings- You can get away with a little bigger pearl or diamond earring. But nothing crazy. Keep it simple.
Shirt: Always wear white. You can’t go wrong with white for many years. There are trends of colored shirts and patterns, etc… But if you are buying something that is a guaranteed classic- go with a white shirt. Long or short sleeve is fine- you might want to have both if you plan to show in the cooler weather and need more layers. I think most people go for the short sleeve version.
Monogrammed collars- are out. Pins are out. Grace mentioned that there maybe be some old fashion riders in the show ring that can pull it off, but just go for a plain collar at the moment with nothing on it- its’ the classic standard.
Jacket: Always plain black or dark navy. There are patterns within the coats, but really plain is better for the long term value.
* Dark green has been trying to make a comeback, but as Grace said – “you have to be perfect to pull that off.” Make sure the arms are long enough and it fits right. You can never ever go wrong with a classic good fitting coat.
Brands to look for: Starting out- really whatever fits you best within your budget, is the best choice. But RJ Classics is a big show ring brand and Ariat is making it’s way into the inner circle.
Gloves- Plain Black- whatever fits & is comfortable. This is where you could go cheaper.
Breeches: Plain tan. Tailored Sportsman is the classic classic brand that will always been accepted in the show ring. They are also a good investment piece if you decide that the show ring isn’t for you- they hold their value for consignment. Ariat is also acceptable, but again go for the classics.
Belt- Plain belt, you can get away with a horsey buckle as long as its not too big.
Boots: Lots of brands to choose from. A Field boot only- no dress boots. Keep your eye out for the consignment area. To start out, Ariat or TredStep seem to be the best fitting, best value, most acceptable brands.
But Grace hit the nail on the head- “It really doesn’t matter what the brand is:
As long as it hurts to put on- you’re good!”