fashion forward or backward

Promoting beauty and style in the horse world and is fashion replacing horsemanship?

It seems as though beauty and fashion have taken a severe upstage to actual horsemanship. I have no idea how this happened, but I am assuming it is because of a capitalist market, and loads of money is to be made in the industry. People love to sell crap. So the so called ‘role models’ we have created in the show horse world are dressed to the nines now. What kind of message is this sending to the rest of the world?  I feel like in a couple years, some rider from Untacked is going to fly down to the in-gate and shove a recorder into the winners face, and go “OMG you look amazing, can you tell the fans what you are wearing today and why??”

This obsession over the right kind of boot to wear is unreal. It is a boot. A boot that covers your leg from the knee down. It is black. a black boot. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to move fashion in the hunter world forward and evolve (kind of in slow motion), because it is fun, (and I am old, I want a chance to wear my sparkly coat!)  but are young riders actually thinking that the clothes they wear will give them an advantage in the ring, particularly in the Eq ring? I really think they are. Like some sort of mind wash, beauty sells, not picking out feet and learning how to bandage a horse (don’t even think about poultice landing on horse show clothing). Menial tasks are so boring apparently, and don’t sell. Well, not until you are 21 and you know about Noble Horse, because the hoof pick actually comes with a corkscrew or bottle opener at the other end (GENIUS!!!). Is Noble Horse trying to bring back horsemanship?? I never thought of that before now, those models. That corkscrew….

The more expensive, swanky saddle you buy, the more you will win, it is almost a guarantee! The more you pay for your boots, the more judges will notice you!! It is the only acceptable way! Being the cynic I am I would naturally think these people are crazy, just learn how to ride, it seems all so hilarious to me, however I absolutely cannot  deny the fact that I bought my first French saddle PURELY based on the hotness of the salesman Greg. OMG, Antares, thank you. And thank the lord you actually made a good product, because my horses would have been so screwed. THAT was a good sales team. (I since have switched to CWD for personally believing it is better for my horses)

What do trainers care if you show up with a fancy crazy expensive saddle? Good for you, now go tack up  – oh wait, go to the mounting block and your horse will be brought to you in four seconds.

Actual true horse people ignore this fashion frenzy most of the time, think it is funny, and when I wanted to wear a cute jacket with a sparkly collar in Kentucky, I was for-warned this would not be acceptable. Ok, take the fun out of it, no problem, but that was it, it was just fun for me. Moderation, I get it. like not eating too many french fries. Fashion should actually not have such an enormous role in the horse world, but it does, we can not escape it. I think people entering the sport ACTUALLY believe they are only allowed to wear one kind of riding pant. or boot. or shirt, or helmet. So they maybe get the wrong impression, because they are hearing other girls say other things –  “OMG you are still wearing that old thing? I totally got better results when I switched to my GPA Speed air evolution revolution silver gold yada yada yada.”  Jeepers. Thanks for making my job that much harder. I didn’t think we had enough self-esteem issues flying around. What is one more?

Hearing any discussion about fashion detracts from the actual horsemanship angle I really can’t let go of. The only valuable Equitation Final I have ever witnessed takes place in Virginia and it is not a fashion show. It is the VHSA Junior Medal, and ingenious on every level. A written test, practicum (hands on knowledge of your horse test), flat class and jumping class all calculated into your final score. The rider is largely responsible for his or her own score, and loads of effort is placed into every aspect possible at that level. It is a really, really big deal. Personally I want to see it in the children’s and pony level as well, since only a small percentage get a 3’6” horse, and you never know if those future kids will implement it into their own horse shows 20 years down the road.

I hope beyond hope it happens across the country in various other states, but I haven’t had time to research that. What I do know, is that it doesn’t happen at indoors. Fashion arguments happen at indoors. Somebody obviously felt the need for a little explanation (or damage control) and I found this break down of fall finals online. You tell me how it compares to the VHSA Final. And by the way that little shout out to the founding father of horsemanship is the most insulting thing I have EVER heard. I believe Horsemanship and forward seat riding started WAY EARLIER THAN THIS MILLENNIUM with people like V.S. Littauer in 1912 and the Russian Cavalry. Never in my life have I wanted to throw the book at someone more than when reading that statement. I wish I could sue for stupidity. But I can’t. Do your homework for Pete’s Sake. Bert De Nemethy,  Gordon Wright, HELLO???? ANYONE?? BEUHLLER??

Our priorities are completely out of whack.

Real Talent:

100% Respect:


Russian Cavalry implementing forward seat riding


For real reading


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