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pmcperformance — March 27, 2019

Oh No! What Will I Wear?!?!

The challenges of getting into the show ring are plenty. Starting with finding the best horse/person partnership then practice, practice, practice all year in all weather. The hauling of equipment, horses, sleeping quarters, the immense heat you must show in, the grounds conditions and let us not forget the cost of it all. But the most critical challenge of all…What Will I Wear?

First let’s talk about the purpose of those beautifully decorated show shirts. Although most show judges admit that they do not focus on the outfit, they do admit the rider must be well put together with clean, pressed well fitting attire. For the rider I believe putting on their beautiful outfits is the finishing touch to their confidence to strut their stuff and stand out to the judges as the best horse and rider combination in the ring. This could be vying for the judge’s attention with up to 40 other horse and rider combinations, no easy feat.

So where does one get all decked out in show clothes? Being from Northern Ontario this can be a challenge of availability and cost, especially if more than one member of your family shows. There are some exceptionally talented designers and seamstresses that custom make show clothes ranging in cost from $500-$3000 (see Facebook for contact & purchase). Some of these outfits are exquisite works or art with hundreds of crystals and gems hand sewn on them. Worth every penny you will pay, unfortunately, not within the budget for every rider. So, what does a budget conscience mom do? She starts sewing.

There are great online resources to teach a girl just about anything, but like anything in life it takes practice, practice and more practice. I’m on my third show shirt and feel like by the tenth one it just might be just right.

Here are some great resources for those of you who would like to try your hand at show clothes or buy show clothes within a budget:

Facebook Group – Creating Show Clothes on a Budget, High End Show Clothes, Sho-N-Off Show Clothing, Bargain Show Clothes, Just Peachy, Horse Show Clothing Bargains….

You will find experts that create patterns, provide advice, sell appliques, share resources, ideas, pics, gems and the list goes on.

I have not yet created the show stopping outfit, but I’ve learned a great deal this winter about the best fabrics and patterns to use and not to use. I can put a zipper in now with my eyes closed. And the warning to apply super glue in a well-ventilated area should be adhered to.

Written by Shawna Kirkwood, Competitor and Horse Show Mom

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