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Saving Money on an English Riding Outfit
English Riding Apparel and Ways To Save $$
When you are showing your horse in the English discipline, there's proper riding apparel that you need or you can get disqualified but it can get expensive! We show in local shows in our area and these are the basics that you will need to get started and ideas on where to find them reasonably priced.
You don't need to spend a fortune on equestrian wear unless you have it. For those of us that don't, I suggest going to all the tack sales in your area that you can. That's where you can get the best deals. This is especially helpful if you have kids that are showing because they outgrow everything so fast. The next place to visit would be equine consignment stores. We have one in our city that sells new items and consignment items so it's always a fun place to shop! Websites like Ebay and Craigslist are great places to find great deals!
I always start from the bottom and work my way up. I don't know why I don't do it the other way. I guess this is the way that works for me.
2. Fun Socks
6. Button on collar if there's not one already on the blouse
8. Hair accessories
If I stick to this method, I usually don't forget anything.
Socks and Boots
English riding boots are tall boots that fit almost all the way up to the knee. They should be very snug fitting, therefore, they make some special thin and slippery socks that make putting your legs into the boots a little easier. Any color combination that you can imagine is available as they are as much for fun as they are for functionality.
There's different styles of boots. Some have a tie in the front ankle area while some are simply slip on. It's always best to have leather boots but if you are just starting out and this is your first year or they are for a child who will outgrow them quickly, you can get away with using a synthetic boot. You can usually find them for less than $50 brand new or under $20 at a tack sale or online store. We always buy our socks new for health reasons and those are normally around $15.00.
Good deals on Boots!
I hope Ebay brings up some good deals here! Boots are another item that you can spend a lot of money on but you don't have too. If everything listed is too high, try doing your own search and you're sure to find a deal! Sometimes you have to be patient before a good deal comes along.
These socks make putting on snug fitting boots a little easier. Not just for kids - adults can enjoy them too! I think all the different designs are awesome! You can wear them under your boots because they're fun or you can wear them because they will keep your boots from rubbing on your ankles and keep your feet warm.
Riding breeches are snug fitting pants that move with your body. The most common color is beige but they come in all different colors from white, tan, beige..all the way to black. They are fitted around your ankles so that you can easily tuck them into your boots. They have suede, or padding, in the areas with the most contact on the horse - knees and rear. You wear them with a belt. They're made this way so that they don't interfere with any part of the riding experience.
Picking Out Breeches
When purchasing your breeches for showing, make sure that the color matches the rest of your outfit and your horse.
They can be very expensive. A great place to find them is on online stores such as Amazon or Ebay.
Light tan (khaki) looks professional and goes with most other colors.
A Belt Gives You a Finished Look
With a long jacket on, the judge can't always see if you're wearing a belt or not. You should still have one on just in case the wind would blow the jacket open. We've even been at shows where the judge came around and checked to make sure everyone was wearing one. They aren't that expensive so the investment is worth the return. A belt finishes off the outfit.
Shirt and Jacket
It seems that all the outfits look the same but when you start to look at them a little closer, you realize that there really is a lot of variety in the outfits! You can find shirts in many different colors but they all must have a collar. Some judges prefer conventional colors such as white or powdered blues but other judges are more open to the newer color schemes. Some shirts come with a collar made right into the shirt so you don't have to worry about losing it while others come with a couple different collars that you button onto them. Different collars can yield different looks and it depends on the look you're going for at each show.
The jackets are pretty basic. Normally they are black or navy blue. The jackets can run you hundreds of dollars if you're shopping for one at an equine store. With a little searching, you can find one for much less. Tack sales are still the best place to get these but there are alternatives. One year for a child we used one that we found as part of a pant suit that we bought at a rummage sale at half price for $3.00. She was able to use it the whole season and it looked great.
English Riding Jackets
Check out all the different jackets you can find out there! If you don't have any luck finding one at a tack sale which can be hard sometimes because of the crowds, then spend some time looking online and find the perfect one. Make sure you know your measurements before you start looking.
You should wear riding gloves every time you are in the show ring. If the gloves match your jacket, any movements that your hands make will be less noticeable and that's something you want. You don't want the judge to see a lot of hand movements or he may pass you and your horse over and pick someone else.
Two very important pieces of riding apparel that shouldn't be overlooked are bobby pins and hair bands along with hairspray. Hair that is up very tightly without little pieces sticking out all over the place is very important in English riding. It's a very formal style of riding and everything should be very put together. A lot of riders use hair nets to help keep that crazy hair where it belongs - under that helmet.
The Winning Combination!
Last but not Least... The Helmet - (And definitely most important!)
Helmets are required when you are riding in 4-H shows. If you wear one right from the start, you won't even think about it. It's like wearing a seat belt and could save your life if you happen to fall off. Accidents do happen and they happen quickly so be prepared!
English riding helmets are usually black. They have a soft velvety feel on the outside and a ball like thing up on top. I have no idea what the purpose is but I can imagine that in the past, when the covering material was pulled up, it would bunch up on the top and make that ball. The helmet has kept that look but the ball is put there on purpose now. (Ok, I just made that up. If I ever find the true story, I will replace this with the facts.)
Helmets protect your head so here's a few deals. These might be better bought at a store where you can try them on and find the one that best fits your head but if you know the brand and size that you need, why not find a new one cheaper online?
Do You Wear a Helmet?
How often do you wear a helmet?
The Outfit During a Show
Kids Grow Fast!
Since growing children outgrow almost everything, every year, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to afford a whole new outfit this year. Thankfully, we made it to a few good tack sales and got this whole outfit for right around $50. If you are only showing at 4-H and local shows, the 4-H tack sales can't be beat. Since it's an organization for kids, there's lots of kids clothes there.
See the Outfits in Action
Check out this video to see some variations in colors and combinations. The outfits are all very similar but there are things you can do to make them a little bit different than everyone else's. You want to stand out but still meet the apparel requirements. Some judges prefer lots of bling and some like a simple look better so go with what fits your budget.