Chapter 18

Chapter 18


Now that we have looked at western fashion head-to-toe, considering all the elements that make up your western show wardrobe, it’s time for a quick review. You’ll recall that this series was composed of the following sections:

If you missed any section, just check back to find hints and tips for creating a winning western wardrobe, referencing the area you have questions about. Remember, too, that I will be happy to answer your e-mail questions. Please send them to me at

As you plan a new western show wardrobe, or think about revamping what you already own, consider the following:

  • You are paying the judge to give an opinion on how you look. If you don’t look your best, you are cheating yourself.
  • It’s called a horse show for a reason: your presentation must show up from a distance, and show off the special skills of you and your horse. If you look average, you’ll get an average look from the judge.
  • Invest in the best within your budget. As with show tack, your apparel will last for years and still have good resale value if you plan, choose, and buy with long-term quality and durability in mind.
  • Don’t complain about ‘politics’ in the show ring if you don’t win. Politics is often mistaken for preparation: the time and effort that winners take to look and perform their very best in the show ring.
  • Use color and silhouette to create an impression of confidence and elegance in the show ring. Make sure that you and your horse look like a coordinated team, with one base color and one accent color to carry your look across the arena.
  • Take care of your show clothes. Don’t stuff them in the trailer and expect them to last or look good next time you show—careful maintenance will lengthen the life of your quality apparel by years.
  • Plan ahead. Shop in advance for show equipment so you don’t make yourself crazy with last-minute details as the show approaches. Show time is for mental focus and concentration, not worrying about a delivery to your hotel from FedEx.
  • Stage a dress rehearsal. Before you show, get all your tack and clothing together and make sure everything fits you and your horse. Have a friend take snapshots or video of you to be sure the impression you create is exactly what you’re after.
  • Enjoy yourself. Years after the shows have ended, it’s the friendships and outside-the-arena adventures you’ll remember more than any award or judge.
  • Appreciate your horse. He’d much rather be standing in a field with a pal swishing flies than trooping around in pointless circles. Humans have egos and horses have a great sense of humor—so don’t forget patience and kindness as your horse helps you fulfill your dreams.

You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression, so be sure that you and your horse create the best possible impression each and every time you step into the show arena. Best of Luck!