Back way back when, insta-shopping wasn’t even a myth and horse attire included baler twine for holding together years old hand-me downs, equestri-fashion hadn’t yet made an appearance.
Since the age of 9 I have been very lucky to have my own horses, of course like many other riders I started out in the local riding school aboard plodding retiree ponies, sporting four times to large rental helmet. At most tracksuit bottoms and a waterproof fleece was all anyone would be seen riding in, it was certainly a case of safety, comfort and warmth before any image conscience was even considered. Well, how over the years this has changed.
Back in 2006 I began competing in show-jumping all over the world, these were the days when chaps and jodhpur boots were the IT item, and French plating your horses tail was guaranteed to get you placed with a finalist’s rosette. Fast-forward to 2010, this is when the turn of convenience clothing grew rapidly into the use of deluxe fabrics, embellishment and the boom of Italian fashion houses turn their focus from saddlery to producing the finest show-jackets, breeches and riding boots on the market.
Every part of attending a horse show was no longer about performance and agility of your riding skills and your horse’s bloodline, but a showcase of wealth stature and personal expression through sponsored saddle pads, crystal adorned gloves and carbon fibre helmets, gradually equestrian trade fairs shows such as Olympia and BETA International started to put on twice yearly shows as its exhibitor and attendee list had reached capacity.
Enter, the new era of Equestrianism. Fashion shows are now taking place at shows, prevailing the latest in exquisite Italian tailoring, horse and rider matching attire are now a must-have, and horse lorries are being tailored made and designed by superyacht architects.
Self-proclaiming myself an equestri-fashion addict, I unfortunately have fallen duped into this image obsessed driving force, however looking back at such prevailing times of horsemanship I miss the close affiliation of neighbourly friendship at horse shows, which is has now become more of a fierce competition of wealth rivalry and family obstinacy.
Looking through the lens at equestri fashion in 2020 is somewhat of a visionary miracle, it has excelled leaps and bounds over the years, with price tags to follow…
Here are some of my in the saddle favourites.