The first look is the look I was aiming toward that seems to have it's origin in the western show ring for classes like trail and pleasure. A colorful top, possibly with sequins and/or a vest, paired with chaps over snug fitting pants. A nice belt. A colorful saddle blanket that coordinates with the top. Lots of silver on the tack and a horse that looks very shiny and perfect with a banded mane and extensions in the tail unless they're mi papi who needs no additions to his tail. A visit to hobbyhorseinc.com pretty much covers the topic.
I wear a helmet, but otherwise, that's the look I had in mind when I started putting together my western dressage outfit. Not too many sequins, I'm not exactly svelte, but very polished. Royal blue shirt, black pants, black boots, white and rhinestone belt, matching saddle pad for papi. I really wish we got photos at our last show, we got a lot of compliments on the blue.
At my outings, I see that sleek show look but I also see this other look.
This look appears to come from the world of ranch classes and working equitation. It's also common in cowboy dressage, which is similar but totally different than western dressage. Confused yet? Me too. This look features jeans, chinks (those leather things that are like chaps but shorter), a button down work style shirt, and workmanlike tack. There's frequently a bandana.
The bling queen in me automatically rejected the workmanlike look, but then I saw what else was going on with this look. You don't have to wear jeans under those chinks, black pants are fine. And boots that go over the pants are fine. You know what happens when you have English riders in western gear with those options? I saw two riders in black full seat Pipers with cowboy boots and chinks. You couldn't tell at all when they were in the saddle. I was so mystified by them walking around in full seats, cowboy boots, and English style spurs until they put the chinks on. Boom, western look nailed.
This outfit means I can get double duty out of my breeches. It also means I can use my English spurs because I won't have long pants or chaps in the way. The longer, western style spurs mean I have to change my leg position in order to hit the same buttons. And workmanlike doesn't have to be boring.
Note the pink topped cowboy boots being worn over the pants. Also the adorable bandana that matches the saddle pad and the boots. And then there's this outfit that I love.
But dang it all, I can't stop staring at this silhouette even if I have to wear full chaps and can't wear my little English spurs because they're covered. I also hate fringe.
So that's my dilemma. Do I go shopping for tight, scalloped edge chaps and hunt for more silver for my tack, or do I order up some chinks and cowboy boots. I'm leaning toward the workmanlike look because it's easier (and I don't have to learn two leg positions) but I can't let go of the bling!