A Decade of Change: My Re-Entry into the Horse Show World

For those of you who have read my bio, you know that I grew up with horses and rode competitively as a junior, but college and then the “real world” had me put horses on the back burner for a long time. Adulting is hard. Since I left my job in marketing and now work in real estate with my family, I have the ability to create a place for riding in my now grownup life. It’s hands down the best “adult” decision I’ve made so far. Now, I know it wasn’t THAT long ago, but when I dove back into reading COTH and stopped by my local tack shop and started learning about technical stretchy-fabric show coats, these so-thin-they’re-barely-there leather show boots, the ice-fil schooling shirts, and the wrap around snap collar show shirts… I felt like a dinosaur. A prehistoric fossil fuddy-duddy in my side zip higher-than-necessary TS breeches, 2008 GPA (a brand that I haven’t seen around much at all recently!), and ancient Sprenger jointed stirrups, which ok I admit, should really have been replaced a while ago.


USET Finals 2005


WEF? I actually have no clue where I am in this photo.

I was in awe. I was going to be broke. I guess I should have expected changes after sitting out from the show world for over a decade.Oh, did I mention how they make hairnets now without the awful metal piece that would give you the worst forehead indentation/screaming headache if you didn’t have it on *just right*? It was a battle the first time I tried to use one of the new kinds where I ended up looking like I was about to rob a bank with a pair of fishnet stockings on my head, but once I got the hang of it I couldn’t help but wonder “why the hell didn’t they think of this sooner?”

Sidebar: I’m a big fan of the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” – so yes, my nice circa-2000s show coats and pull on Vogel’s could definitely still fit the bill, but the new level of comfort and performance offered by these stretchier, moisture wicking, better fitting breeches, shirts and coats had me thinking, OK – I get it. Good job, horse industry, it was about time.

So did I go out and blow my life savings on these new amazing, life-changing, guaranteed blue ribbon (ok, I’m exaggerating) things? Luckily, I have a little bit of common sense and being a grownup has taught me #responsibility so I allowed myself to splurge on a couple of things, but the others I added to my birthday and Christmas wish list. Maybe one day I’ll be the stylish show girl I once thought I was, but until then I’m ok with working with what I’ve got.


Saratoga 2005


CHJA Finals 2003 – yes, with a lavender show shirt complete with embroidered ice cream cone on the collar. Why? I mean I still love ice cream so why not?

For laughs, here are some thoughts I had while “learning” about the new ways of the riding world:
“Weird, this show coat is stretchy.” *Squats in front of mirror and mimics a release* “OMG is this what freedom feels like?”“Holy sh!t, the world has gone crazy and there are people spending over a thousand dollars on a riding helmet bedazzled with Swarovski crystals. Do the crystals offer additional impact support? Will they replace the crystals if you fall and crack your head on a jump? Or maybe the crystals give you magic power.”

“Thank the LORD I don’t have to worry about losing my show collars anymore.”

“These crazy people are riding in the 90 degree heat in long sleeve zip up tops. Aren’t they dying?” *Buys one of the shirts and rides in 85 degree day. Understands.* “What is this sorcery?”

“I really need a pair of zip up tall boots. I’m too old to be pulling these damn things on and off and falling over from getting a leg cramp.”

“They make front zip LOW RISE breeches now? Are these like the slutty version of riding pants? Or am I ok here?” *tries on* “Ok, this is so much more civilized. My bellybutton finally exists.”

Instagram profiles: SPONSORED BY BLING BLING TACK, PARTNERED WITH PROTECT YA NECK HELMETS, ETC ETC ETC… OK. I get it, I was in marketing and social influence is huge for brands and wasn’t around when I was a junior. So if you’re one of the lucky ones getting free stuff, I’m jealous and you’re awesome. 

So that just about sums up my re-entry into the equestrian world. I’m so happy to be back, and will continue to share my ups and downs of horse-mom life with Donovan, dorky breeches and all.

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