To be honest, I typed and deleted this first sentence about three or four times before deciding to just go ahead and say it: your appearance at the barn matters.
Call me rude, snobby, stuck-up, whatever adjective that comes to mind. I firmly believe the way you dress and look at the barn is a representation of not only yourself, but your riding, your horses, and the farm/trainer that you may be working for. I guarantee if you saw someone dressed professionally, you would be more comfortable having them taking care of your horses or training as opposed to someone who looks like they just rolled out of bed.
I grew up with a trainer who refused to teach me if I showed up to a lesson in shorts. I went to a college that had a strict dress code of polo shirts. Our hair had to be secured in a ponytail, bun or braid. Because of this, you will never catch me at the barn with my hair down or my shirt untucked. And God forbid I do not have a belt, because I will almost refuse to sit on a horse without one.
“I want to look presentable at the barn because I respect myself and my appearance, but I also respect those I work for and represent.”
I do not care how hot it is – I will be wearing either breeches or jeans that look appropriate, along with a pair of muck boots, paddock boots, or my faithful Dankso clogs. If it’s cold, I will admit I wear coveralls, but that’s only because I don’t want to die of frostbite (I’m only half-joking).
Yes, I realize I sound a little dramatic, but I am a firm believer in the mantra of “look good, feel good.” Because guess what? When you feel good and look good, you ride even better. Even if you end up having a terrible ride, at least you looked good doing it.
I really don’t understand why we shame people for looking presentable at the barn. I have seriously gotten negative comments for wearing a matching outfit, for wearing makeup and having my hair looking nice.
I want to look presentable at the barn because I respect myself and my appearance, but I also respect those I work for and represent. So on the off chance Boyd Martin or Charlotte Dujardin decide to walk through the barn door, I certainly won’t be caught off guard.
You never know who you will meet and when, so it’s important to bring our best selves to the barn every single day.