There is just something about the middle of January that leaves us all feeling a little blue. The holidays are over, winter weather has set in, and like most equestrians, we are just counting down the days until Spring. Spring means longer days and warmer weather! And hopefully a little bit less excited horses. This time of year also signals the start of getting prepared for the coming show season. At least for us here, that begins about March or April for the recognized shows to begin. If you’re lucky enough to be a part of those traveling down I-5 to Southern California, show season has already begun!
Now is about the time to start planning out a tentative year. If that means getting a group together to go trail riding, finding a local clinician to work with, or mapping out a plan for the year, both horse and rider start focusing on looking good for the year ahead. I know I’ve had to motivate myself with an extra cup of coffee most mornings to get out to the barn to ride, especially when it’s 25 degrees outside and stormy. That and spend a little extra time at the gym after weeks of holiday fun.
One of my favorite ways to get motivated for the year ahead is to flip through all of the spring catalogs to see what everyone is going to be wearing for the new year. I regularly compete in the Dressage ring, and am continuously surprised at what people are wearing. When I started competing years ago, everything seemed formal and traditional; white shirts and breeches, black boots and a black jacket. Maybe, if you were feeling inspired, a sparkly stock tie pin.
Now it seems like navy blue and brown are the new black. And the rhinestones! I myself and a huge sparkle fan, but even I am bemused at the (overuse?) of these lax regulations. Assuming the base color is neutral, I don’t see any rules against having brown and dark blue coats, helmets, and even boots! Everything that is everything has sparkle on it; boots, spur straps, spurs, belts, gloves, stock ties, jackets, and even helmets! I guess trying to blind the judge is always an option if your horses chooses to have a misbehaving moment.
I work at a tack store and both fortunately and unfortunately I spend my days surrounded
by so many cool, new and fun tack and apparel for the horse and rider. My “Go-To” for the show season in the Dressage ring is Ariat Dress Boots, ROMFH breeches, ROMFH chill factor show shirts, ROMFH quiet bling belts, ROMFH stock ties (with a blingy or colorful pin of my choosing!), Pikeur show jacket, Neumann tackified summer riding gloves, and my favorite helmet by Charles Owen! Waldhausen USA is my favorite for stylish tack and attire for my horse; a little European style, a bit of bling, and at an affordable price.
I love the traditional black and white, but I also enjoy seeing what great color palettes will be in the show ring this year. Gearing up for the season ahead gives me motivation to make it out to the barn for those early, cold, winter morning. Lessons and clinics are a good way to also get you and your horse prepped for the season ahead. Hey, maybe the more we start getting organized now, the faster the fun of the spring season will come upon us!