As an Auburn equestrian Western rider finishes her reining pattern and exits the show arena at the Baylor versus Auburn match on Saturday, Oct. 21, her teammates help her unzip and remove her fringed chaps before she dismounts from her horse. Her teammates all wear the same outfit, per
The teams compete in Western and Hunt seat classes, which call for
Hunt seat team members wear a white show shirt, dark show jacket, helmet, tan breeches, tall field boots, belt and riding gloves. Western wear is a solid-colored shirt, blue for the NCEA and black for the IHSA, dark jeans with chaps, cowboy boots, cowboy hat,
Claire Reach, member of the IHSA team and senior in animal sciences pre-vet, said it is crucial to look one’s best when competing.
“The bigger and flashier the better,” for the belt buckle worn in western classes, Reach said.
The NCEA team is a women-only sport, and there are just a couple men on the IHSA team. One of them is James Roth, sophomore in mechanical engineering, who has ridden in English disciplines for many years and began learning Western upon coming to Auburn. Roth said the male and female equestrian fashion is the same except that, “It’s more proper for a gentleman to wear a tie.”
Like any area of fashion, equestrian wear is influenced by trends. In Western
“I know that the glitzy, really sequined tops for Western are completely out of style right now,” said Reach. “That came up last year, they kind of went out, whereas the year before they were in.”
Reach said that riders will pick up on style changes from other competitors and from media such as magazines.
“You kind of start seeing it from each other,” she said. “Especially if you know that you’re interested in that kind of stuff, you’ll watch shows, you’ll go to shows, so you see that fashion being influenced.”
Hardiman thinks that more affluent showers influence what’s currently in or out.
“I would think about your higher-end Quarter Horse people, maybe the people in Texas that can afford a new outfit each show. That’s probably your trend setters,” she said.
Reach said that show fashion influences her personal, casual style, “All the time. I wear jeans and cowboy boots and big belt buckles all the time.”