Let’s Discuss: What’s your Horse Show Style?

New hat, same old natty sweatpants and 'Ugly Boots'

New hat, same old natty sweatpants and ‘Ugly Boots’

Over the years, I have started being a little more aware of what my appearance is in between rides. Not like I dress up by any means, but at least now I don’t wear sweatpants with holes in them anymore. Also, I have more-or-less retired my Camoflauge Cookout hat. (go ahead, judge me!)


One of my main take-aways from our trip to Hunterland last year was just how ‘done’-up’ everyone looked, even when relaxing ring-side. I saw trainers (owners? riders?) in pearls, elegant visor-wearers, and more collared shirts than a frat house could hold. The fashion on display was pretty impressive, and definitely made an impression on me. Fashion sense and horse sense were quite the combination!

Everyone dresses like a SmartPak model

Everyone dresses like a SmartPak model

On the other end of the spectrum, I can remember one rather eventful season in Intercollegiate dressage when we as a team decided we were going to up our standards with one simple rule: Thou shall not wear pajamas to shows.

Not that the No Pajamas rule would stop me from looking like a hobo

Not that the No Pajamas rule would stop me from looking like a hobo (I don’t dress like this anymore, by the way, at least most of the time..)

These days, in between classes/events my typical horse show outfit is as follows: jeans, my Mango Bay belt, the waterproof shoes I fondly call my “Ugly Boots”, ideally a collared sun shirt and some sort of small stud earrings. I may not quite fit in with the fashion pros, but I’m not entirely embarrassing (I don’t think?). One of these days I would love to upgrade my Ugly Boots to Dublin or Dubarry River Boots, but for now, they’ll have to do.

We is goobers.

We is goobers.

What do you guys wear to hang out in at horse shows? Are you of the all-breeches-all-the-time club? Diamonds and pearls? Or are you a horse show trend-setter?

12 thoughts on “Let’s Discuss: What’s your Horse Show Style?

  1. Omg your no pajama rule made me laugh and miss IHSA! I remember Jess H would wear the LOUDEST fleece print pants over her breeches and I’m sure she was not the only one.

    As for me, I pretty much wear my show clothes all day. Breeches with fun socks, boat shoes, my show shirt, a belt and a ball cap. That’s pretty much the norm for someone showing the day of a hunter/jumper show, while trainers and spectators totally look like SmartPak models.

  2. I would be for just wearing my breeches all day if white and I had a better relationship. If my classes are close enough together I don’t bother changing, but if they aren’t, it’s jeans and Dublins with a cap. I usually leave my show shirts on just because they are horrible to button. I probably need to update those…

  3. I wear my breeches all day and just don’t eat/drink anything colored to avoid stains! I have a pair of coverup pants I wear if I need to, and usually my shows have a couple of classes pretty close together so there’s no need to get changed. I would probably cry if I had to get in and out of my sweaty breeches all the time!

  4. I usually stick with my breeches, but will change out of my tall boots if I know I have time. I hate changing, and the hurry up-wait culture makes me nervous so I try to stay in as much show garb as possible (i.e. show shirt, socks).

  5. If it is before my class or between classes, I dress like any styling dressage rider who has a doctor in the family: In my show shirt and breeches with a set of scrub pants over the white breeches. Scrubs are the best. It’s like wearing pajamas, but pajamas that tell everyone someone nearby can save their life (note: not me), and pajamas that you can take back to the hospital and make someone else wash. Also pajamas that may have MRSA on them. So … you know … handle with care.

    Otherwise I wear jeans and a polo. Or schooling breeches and a polo. Or shorts and a polo. Pretty much always with the polo.

  6. I like to be comfortable. And spend all my money on my horse not clothes. Therefore I am a hobo….still lol. If I am taking a lesson or in a clinic or something I will look nice, but most of the time I am in sweat pants because I don’t ride haha. Maybe that will change one day….

  7. I typically wear jeans and a t-shirt… so I’m kinda close to the hobo range. But I can’t keep clothes clean to save my life so, there’s that.

  8. depending on the temperature I’ll be in my breeches all day b/c I don’t want to try and slide them up on my sticky, sweaty, gross legs and then sweat more b/c I’m panicking that I can’t get them on b/c they’re stuck to my legs and not budging…. eek! Getting the hebbie geebies just thinking about it!!!!! But if it’s cool enough or I think I have a small chance of not sweating to much I’ll wear a nicer looking pair of barn jeans since my barn khaki’s don’t fit right now…. working on fixing that 😉

    as for my shirt- SUN SHIRTS!!!!!!! Sun Shirts all the time!!!!! I totally LOVE not looking like a crispy critter at the end of the day now 🙂 I feel like sun shirts are similar to polos as far as looking a bit more clean cut and nicer than just a ratty t-shrit and holey jeans

    and always a hat and sunglasses! The hat totally depends on which one I feel like wearing at the moment (also which one I can find!) and if I’m feeling colorful- and if it’ll totally clash with my shirt- if not- all hat options are on 😉

  9. I stay in my breeches and show shirt… Adding a jacket/vest and hat if needed. 🙂 normally I only get one day of showing out of each outfit too.

  10. I take it that I am representing my trainer, and to represent her well I should look put together. So I attempt that. But, in 99+ degree events, I do bring out the shorts and technical fabric shirts quite frequently… it’s just, so hot.

    Other than that, breeches or jeans, nice barn boots, collared shirt (whether technical fabric or standard polo) and a nice cap do the trick. [Eventers don’t have to worry about staying in show clothes as much as hunters because we know exactly when we show!]

  11. if it’s not too warm i might pull sweatpants over my breeches… but more likely i’m just sticking with the breeches and a change of shoes and shirt. our barn recently started offering some pretty nice logo gear – from sleeveless to polos to windbreakers. so i usually switch to something in that vein…

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