You know that old-school Muggle fashion rule that after you’re fully dressed, you should take one accessory or item off, and then you’ll be good to go? Yeah, the horse world likes to ignore that. Especially me.
Gone are the days of totally stuffy riding attire, tack and accessories, for the most part. Want a purple crop? You got it. Sparkles all over your dressage jacket? Go ahead. Want your helmet to shine like a field of diamonds dipped in ShowSheen? Yeah, girl.
How do you know when you’re actually reflecting more light than class? Sometimes it’s hard to tell when to dial it back a bit because there’s too much sparkle, color, or zippers. If you are starting to look like a Pantone chart or people are averting their eyes because damn, girl in a bad way, it’s time to start removing the bling from your outfit or tack.
When I moved from hunters to eventing, I was at first elated by the overwhelming possibilities of matchy-matchy-ness. EVERYTHING CAN BE BLUE! Saddle pads, halters, sheets, bonnets, shirts, breeches, safety vests….Everything. It was like Candyland. But, I kept it in small enough doses that it was classy. Or at least “Classy Lite”.
Then I made the ill-advised purchase of a bridle lined with turquoise. And it had sparkles. Suddenly, I had traveled a bridge too far, and I can remember the look of abject horror on my trainer’s face. I decided to retire the bridle, but not before punking my trainer at my next lesson with my horse wearing both that bridle and a giant, sparkly turquoise bow tied onto the base of his tail.
That wasn’t the first time, though, that I purposefully dipped my toes into Klassyland. My best friend Sarah and I had long joked that we were going to go to an A-rated jumper show and do our own take on stall decorations. Instead of a ficus tree, a nice area rug and drapes, we’d bring a Bud Light tree, a zebra-print rug and hang up lights that look like chili peppers, or something like that.
We never made it to that jumper show, sadly. But when I found out I was moving to Texas, we decided to go to a schooling horse trial together and go out with a bang. We found the tackiest, most child-like helmet covers in blue and pink patterns. We wore camouflage shirts (with collars!) for cross-country. In front of our stalls was a fuzzy purple rug, and hanging up were fleece zebra-print blankets and rainbow boas fastened in a loop.
And to top it all off, we had chips and a mini margarita machine going rather than cheese and wine. Klassy to the end. If there is a definitive line somewhere between classy and tacky, we obliterated it and rode about 500 miles past it. We were half-and-half on people being horrified or laughing along with us.
These days, I like to keep my color and adornment in small and muted doses, mainly, keeping it classy for the sake of those around me. But, let’s face it, I’m often a bit more court jester than princess in more ways than one.
Sometimes that Klassy Siren calls, and it’s hard to resist. Remember, sparkle accents are like a gateway drug. You won’t be able to stop. If you find yourself out of control, say “George Morris” three times, and a hand will reach out and glove slap your cheek out of nowhere.
Or, just go Western. I hear they like sparkles too.