Show Ring Ready

Normally when I competed (now coming up on two years ago... oi) all I cared about was how my horse looked.

Braided, bathed, and all the blue shampoo.

I was meticulous about my bathing, braiding and grooming. And I was just doing schooling shows. Lexy, my last competition partner, had chrome for DAYS and I loved showing it off. Maybe I vainly hoped it would distract from our dressage...

I think this is the one time she wasn't braided.

As for the rest of it, I was a lazy piece of shit. The tack wasn't crusted with dried grass slime, but that's the best I can say about it. Brass was definitely not polished. And, um, forget about my saddles. I never touched them. I went to a schooling show at Plantation Field, on of the last of 2013, just after Boyd Martin had broken his leg and was out of commission for awhile. I had all the riding prep done, but my tack hadn't been touched in weeks. In my defense, I had just had a huge exam!! Of course I get to the show and realize that not only is Boyd dressage judging at the show but he was judging my ring. I flew into frantic preparations to try and clean off my grimy leather with a wet papertowel (I do not advise)*.

Plz to be ignoring my untucked shirt. And I did dressage in that helmet.
The biggest issue when I'm showing isn't the tack though. It's me.

My very first recognized horse show I was wearing a lavender polo (because I couldn't find white) and my navy Tipperary helmet which is a vented ugly as sin piece of headgear. My horse looked so much nicer than me the pictures were a little embarrassing. And we definitely did NOT score well.

Someone felt bad (or was horrified) by my turnout and gave me some hand me down show clothes,  so there was a small uptick in how I looked. At least I was wearing a white shirt with a belt, even if that white shirt was a too small. I never bothered wearing a coat because I didn't have one that fit, and my hair was too short to put in a hair net but too long to be left alone so I just had little pieces hanging out... I'm embarrassing myself.

While I had the right (or at least, more right than they were) clothes, I still had issues with keeping clean. I hate changing into breeches when its hot. I feel like I'm getting ductape stuck to everything and I'm constantly trying to peel it off. It's all very uncomfortable. I used to wear swishy warmup pants over them, but those got lost (or outgrown) so I just wore my breeches.

They definitely suffered.

By the time I went into the dressage ring I usually had been slimed at least once, spilled a jug of water on myself, gotten mud on my pants from trying to put in studs, and occasionally marked myself with boot polish. And chances are my shirt was full of hay from earlier in the morning. Walking disaster doesn't begin to cover it.

Technical fabric? We are truly in the future.
Now I want to look as nice as Runkle though. I don't want to be some stained slob on top of a perfect pony. I want us to match. I bought a showcoat (THAT FITS). I have tallboots that fit. I have a real show shirt and A TIE. I saw someone across the pond competing with a tie not a stock and I was so enamored with the idea I'm copying it and no one can stop me. F the stocks. I'll wear a tie like a real man.

I don't want to admit how long it took me to tie this.
I'll wear a hairnet. I'll be clean (ish). And we'll both be fabulous.

*I clean my tack once a week now. Honest. Sometimes more! So it is getting better.


  1. lolz i pretty much never clean my tack either (it's embarrassing, honestly...) and know exactly what you mean about changing breeches. it's a real struggle. taking the extra little bit of time to try to put together a clean presentation is worth it tho, even if for nothing more than the photos haha

    1. yeah i think i just need to be like "remember the pictures.... DO IT FOR THE PICTURES"

  2. I rarely clean tack so I'm with you there. I also always end up covered in dirt and slober. I think the only way not to is to have grooms. Even if you change right before your class, you walk up and you're horse will find some way to transfer some dirt to you.

    1. HAH that is a very good point. one time i successfully stayed clean ALL MORNING. when i went to mount.... my horse turned before I had my foot in the stirrup and slimed the length of my thigh.

      i think that's when i really gave up.

  3. You make this sound as though you are (were) a walking disaster! Which is hilarious because I have always considered you to the very put-together George Morris admirer. So what does this make me? Tbh, you are lucky I'm even wearing breeches (and you know this is true). This is more like you upped the ante from decent amateur to consummate professional.

    1. HAH yes. i guess so. i mean you were the one who inspired me wearing tallboots constantly ;)

  4. I am slowly getting better about looking presentable as well, and it is getting there. If I look fancy, maybe I will feel fancy and ride better?

    1. im crossing my fingers that thats the idea and the fanciness will transfer via osmosis right to our collective marks.


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