As I have grown up in horses I have noticed something which I think gets by many riders. It combines functionality with human nature and it’s something I have grown to take as gospel but few others speak about.
In whatever barn I have been there have been those riders who have “THE LOOK” and then there are those who don’t. The same goes for shows – just walking into the show grounds some riders cause me competitive concern while others do not raise any alarms for me at all.
The riders who have gotten my attention all have one common denominator. They dress for success. They look the part. They are attentive to their appearance and seem to be outfitted in the latest fashion and although they are often amateurs they have a polished, professional look to them. When a rider is outfitted in such a way they give me, and everyone else, the impression of great skill. Their clothing is appropriate for the discipline they ride and for the place they are riding at.
So a long time ago after I realized this phenomenon I began to dress and look the part as well. Yes, it did mean spending some money, but I found that by buying good quality clothing I’d get years more of usage from them.
So I have since become a clothing connoisseur of sorts, especially when it came to breeches. I wouldn’t shove my fat butt (in actuality I have a lovely butt) in a pair of $50 breeches for all the carrots in the kingdom.
For one, $50 breech look like…. Well….. $50 breeches. Secondly, they break down quickly from wear and tear and I’m one of those people who must wash their breeches after every use. I’m rather fond of a short toss in the dryer as well.
I would much rather spend $200 on a pair of Pikeurs which will last six, seven years that buy a $50 breech that will last for one year. Plus the Pikeurs say “Pikeur” on the side and in the horse world that translates from some European language to “I take my horse crap seriously”. Kind of like pulling into the country club in a BMW instead of a Chevy.
When you show others that you take your horse crap seriously they immediately believe that you are leaning more to the accomplished side of things whether or not that is the case.
That’s the best advertising any ammie can ask for especially in a showing situation.
I find myself simply addicted to breeches with deer skin seats. But this is NOT due to the coolness factor. You see I discovered something else about dressing to impress along the way. The reason why riders buy all these clothes is because in wearing them, I think you actually ride better. Like a construction worker having the best quality tools for their job.
Here are some of my reasons why I prefer higher end equipment and clothing:< br>
I’ve tried a $50 bridle and in a year the white is black and the black is ick. My Steuben has been going strong for four years now and still looks magnificent.
Deer skin breeches really hold you in the saddle yet are thin enough to provide great feel
Deer skin gloves somehow refine your hand and now I cannot ride without gloves, even if its two thousand degrees outside which nowadays it often is
When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good about looking good you sit up taller and prouder, you focus better. You’re da bomb.
Much of riding is mental. Being in the whole training/riding mindset helps focus on the job better. I find it harder to mentally focus if I look like a schlep.< br>
Even putting polos on (white is always cool looking) makes your horses movement easier to see in the mirrors and I think also adds to “looking the part”. You feel all fancy schmancy and I find my riding follows suit.
In a showing environment having clothes that look and fit better also influences the judge. Were two riders equal in their performance while showing, certainly the one dressed with more pinache is more likely to be placed or score higher.
That’s just the way it is.
Now I know that many of us don’t have the money to go out and spend, spend, spend. I don’t either. In fact I haven’t gotten a new pair of breeches in two or three years now. Dressage Extensions is very sad and they keep sending me prettier and prettier catalogs in a quest to lure me back. But because those breeches I bought over three years ago are still in prime condition I am doing fine with my 5 breech supply. So if you want a nice set of breeches treat yourself to one a year, or use it as your birthday or anniversary gift for loved ones to get you. It truly makes all the difference.
When it comes to shirts I’m not as insistant other than it be cool in the summer and when a tanktop, provides adequate boob coverage. One requirement I do have in shirts is that they be tailored long enough to reach to mid hip so they’re not riding up into heaven with my horse.
For boots I went with a brand known for being high and stiff, much like my ex-husband. Unlike my ex-husband they are a pleasure to wear and never make me sore. Good fitting and good looking boots are without a doubt the way to go for the proper look.
The last thing I’ll mention is hair. I’ll say this: I am not a fan of long hair sticking out from under a helmet unless it is in a bun. I never do ride with my hair flying about even though it always looks good riding bareback with blonde hair swirling on all those tampon commercials. Ick and ICK is all I will say on that topic.