Some people live in the shadows, happy to blend in and terrified to stand out. These people should probably not enter the show ring. After the go round, you anxiously walk around with the others, subtly staring down the judge in the hope that you have stood out and get called in. But when did this need to stand out go away from being the best in the ring and become about breaking with tradition?The pink tweed jacket, the brown long boots, the grey hat, the eventing style hat….. Why? What’s it all about?
I remember the first time I saw someone in a 14hh class with long boots on – I presumed at the time she was riding in another ring and didn’t have time to change but no, it was a choice. Long boots are “a right of passage” when you move onto horses – why does someone feel the need to break that tradition? On the other hand, is it really that important? Where do we draw the line?
Robert Parker-Jones put it brilliantly when he said “Boundaries are pushed to the extreme where conventional showing attire is concerned in an attempt to get noticed. However, a well presented horse/pony ridden by someone wearing a traditional, well fitted outfit is more likely to get noticed for the right reasons.” Adding in true RPJ style – “So many look as if they are going to an equestrian themed fancy dress party!”
Penny Hollings added “The only way to stand out is to get your horse or pony looking and going better than the rest. Making yourself stand out will only distract the judge from judging your animal.”
Samantha Darlington said “I really don’t like show riders wearing shiny plastic show jumping hats. I can’t think why anyone would want to wear anything other than a traditional velvet hat. I’m certainly not a fan if this is a new trend.”
So, why are we seeing it more and more? Who’s job is it to stop/monitor this? What do you think?