Accessorising for a show

Theresa McCaffrey

Getting ready for a big show is of course about practice and having the right skills, but if you want to succeed you need to feel confident up on your horse.

One way to do this is through your western riding outfit and using it to showcase not only your fantastic sense of style but also a cheeky glimpse of your personality.

To inject a bit of character into your look it’s all about the finishing touches, the accessories, the final additions.

Men can rely on their western hats, belt buckles and scarves to liven up their outfits – coordinating colour schemes and introducing a bit of bling.

Women on the other hand have even more opportunities to shine through their accessories when it comes to a show. Earrings, hair accessories, brooches, pendants, scarves and of course the obligatory cowboy hats are just some of the fun additions you can make.

A good western hat will have a band of the same material and colour and will have good quality buckle for an elegant finish.  In certain classes you can have some fun with the design of your hat including rhinestones and leather overlays but be sure to talk to an expert hat maker or hat retailer to avoid any show ring faux pas!

Earrings can be used to frame your face but when it comes to riding it’s best to choose smaller designs and studs that won’t dangle around distracting and annoying you.

Necklaces and pendants bring a little sparkle to your ensemble but don’t pick chains which are too long and make sure that they don’t disrupt your riding. Pins are a popular choice for dressing up shirts and shouldn’t get in the way of your competition.

If you have long hair then this is a great excuse to dress up your look. Plaits are a classic riding choice, whether you want to try French styles or side fishtails, create a signature look and add in pretty clips or tie ribbons in bows over your hairbands.

Finish with a spritz of hairspray to control fly-aways and ensure your hair stays in place no matter how fast you’re riding.