Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fashion statement

Before I fell to the dark side and decided to pursue eventing, I was firmly entrenched in the land of hunters and jumpers. I grew up riding hunters, plopping around quite happily and practicing how to show well in a hack. After college, I got back into riding and got a real look at what the hunter ring costs as an adult. As one friend's boyfriend said, "Why don't you all just stand in a ring and throw money at each other? Whoever has the most money wins."

This led to me moving to jumpers and equitation. In some ways it was freedom. Showing the jumpers meant no braids, no jackets (unless you were in a classic), and spiffy open front boots. On equitation days I still had to braid and dress up, but that was the exception rather than the norm. Playing on the h/j circuit with a big barn meant that I had quite the collection of equipment. We had requirements for blankets and equipment for away shows, and everything had to match. When I switched disciplines, a lot of that old training and equipment came with me.

At first glance, we definitely look like eventers. There's the armband, the vest, the number on her bridle. No pinny, since it's a schooling show, but you know what we're doing. If nothing else, there's no sign of a ring. But look closer.

She's braided. I'm perfectly comfortable jumping with braids, I grew up grabbing on to braids for dear life while naughty ponies made sure I rode every step. I actually broke two of her braids on cross country from using them. I hate taking them out after dressage, since I want her to look spiffy in all three phases. My trainer humors me, since I'm just in the baby divisions. You can't see it in the picture, but there's fancy stitching on her bridle. I was in the tack room a couple days ago and realized I had the only fancy stitch bridle. Then there's her boots. Leather open front jumping boots. Believe me, no one else in the barn has a set like those. I did get some Trizone boots for when she's introduced to water, but I don't school in them.

Yes, my breeches are Tailored Sportsman. I paid $200 for the stupid things, you better believe I'm still showing in them. Ditto on my hunt coat. It's very dark, it looks fine for dressage. My jump saddle is a flat little Passier Precision. Hardly a thing to keep me on, but I love it. It's fabulously comfortable and it fits us both well. I school in a baby pad and sheepskin pad to keep down on my laundry.

I don't think any of this is going to change any time soon. My trainer has had luck fixing some of my eq habits that could get me killed cross country, but the fashion sense is here to stay. And my moments of rebellion. I got a new browband, courtesy of Simple Change Browbands. I have a mare, I'm an eventer now, so I am having a blingy browband, dang it! I must make up for my ill spent youth with white shaped saddle pads and plain brown bridles!

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