What are your tips for a jog outfit?
The veterinary inspection at a three-day event is a little bit about presenting your horse to the ground jury to make sure it’s fit and sound for the competition, and a little bit of a fashion show. Especially at the big events like the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, a lot of the magazines and websites feature photo galleries of riders dressed in their best, the horses with their coats gleaming and manes braided, all strutting their stuff on the runway.
For sponsored riders, the jog can be an opportunity to model some of your sponsored apparel. For everyone, the jog is an opportunity to show your individual style. If you’re on a team — whether you’re representing your country or paired up with a few friends — you might have a uniform or outfit that coordinates with your team members.
I used to throw on whatever wrinkled khaki pants, sport coat and scuffed loafers I could find in the back of my closet or the floor of my horse trailer’s tack compartment; these days, I look to my wife, Silva’s, fashion expertise for guidance.
There are a few “do’s and don’ts” for the jog, and I’ll share a few of them here:
DO wear something that’s comfortable and flattering. While it’s fine to make a bold fashion statement, you don’t want to distract from your horse. Certain color combinations complement different colored horses — you can try a few things on and ask a stylish friend what looks best.
DO wear shoes that you can jog in. Men can stick to classic dress shoes, and the ladies should steer clear of sandals and wobbly high heels. Boots are fine, but running shoes are a bit casual.
DO dress for the season. Wear something appropriate for the weather, and something that fits the setting. I love all the tweed at Fair Hill in the autumn: It looks classy and it keeps out the chill when it gets cold and windy. But if you wore your beautiful tweed coat to a summer event, you’d be likely to pass out from heat exhaustion. Consider that if you’re comfortable and dressed for the weather, you’re better able to present your horse well.
DON’T wear clothing that flaps around, is too short or revealing, or that you might trip over. You don’t want anything spooking your horse as you’re jogging down the strip, and ladies should be mindful about their length of dress. While it might be tempting to try to distract the judges’ attention from your horse’s questionable soundness, remember those photographers lined up at the end of the runway are just waiting for a wardrobe malfunction!
What are your fashion tips for the dressage?
I’d say the most important fashion accessory in any discipline is a well-fitting helmet. Our family is acutely aware of the importance of helmet safety after Silva had a traumatic brain injury while schooling a young horse in Florida. Without her helmet, she wouldn’t be with us anymore. We’re fortunate to be sponsored by Charles Owen, and they offer a professional fitting service.
I would encourage anyone to try on a variety of helmets to find the brand and style that fits you best, is comfortable and is in your budget. There are a number of affordable schooling helmets on the market for kids and adults, so there’s really no excuse to not protect your noggin. If you’ve got a little more money to spend, you can coordinate your helmet with your boots, add some bling and have a little fun with the fashion side of things: There are velvet-covered helmets, leather-covered helmets, blue, brown, black or pink helmets, and sporty jockey skulls with a variety of covers available in custom colors.
My good mate Dom Schramm and his wife, Jimmie, started a social media campaign called #mindyourmelon to promote helmet awareness. I encourage everyone to join the fun and post a photo of yourself wearing your helmet to promote this important fashion trend.
Photo by Amber Heintzberger