Editor’s note: Please welcome new guest blogger, Ashley Matchett Woods, who owns and runs Equestrian Concierge, a full-service tack, apparel and equestrian custom service shop located at Sonoma Horse Park in Petaluma, CA. A former ad agency executive, corporate officer and independent consultant, Ashley left the corporate world in 2006 to pursue her dream of putting her myriad professional skills to work for her love of horses at Equestrian Concierge. Trainer Beverly Jovais utilizes Equestrian Concierge, and this year, Ashley is sponsoring assistant trainer John Wohr as one of her Outfitted by EQ Elite riders.
Equestrian apparel has always been about the elegant nod to tradition. And while it still is, our garments are now more like gear.
Let’s celebrate that we finally have technical performance options! I want to be sure you know about them, so here is EQ’s first post of a three-part series on innovations:
1. Showing – Performance and Style
2. Schooling – Functional Comfort
3. Horse wear – Relief and Well-Being
INNOVATION IN SHOW APPAREL – PERFORMANCE & STYLE
Most of the leading trainers and riders value tradition, but also take advantage of comfort fabrics, vented helmets and new materials for boots and equipment.
Take care while creating that modern look – you don’t want bold fashion choice detracting from the overall picture. Your apparel can be an advantage over another rider with a similar round.
Technology Meets Tradition
New Coat Fabrics: Microfiber, Softshell, Pro-Stretch, lighter stretch wools that mimic the techies. A few are even machine washable.
- In-Style: Three or four button, traditional two-vent or modern single-vent.
- Make a statement: Suede (easier to care for than velvet) collars and/or piping is more acceptable in all rings.
- EQ Favourite: Grand Prix’ tech-Lite fabric is lighter and stretchier than former softshell. Kingsland’s Technical is as just as light with beautifully crafted details: American Flag touches and brass buttons.
- You may miss: Tech coats don’t have colourful linings as an option.
- Breech Advancements:CoolMax, Schoeller, second-skin stretch.
- In-Style: Euroseat, frontzip, microfibers with back pockets.
- Make a statement: Always color in the jumper ring but more greys and shades of beige/tan/khaki in the other rings. Whites are trimmed in colors and carry lots of logos.
- EQ Favourite: Ariat Olympia is #1 seller with Pikeur Ciara is #1 quality for the Hunter/Eq crowd; GPA’s Skin breech with no thread and thermal bonded edges is the latest.
- You may miss: side-zip, flat-front – especially for your shad belly.
• Shirts Evolved:Techy and lighter (see the pattern?)
- In-Style: Long sleeves are still in, but so are short sleeves, and customers love that both are available with the new wrap collars.
- Make a Statement: Consider these options: colors work in any ring; the polo style covers up under a coat; the sleeveless options look more Euro; check out contrasting collars and cuffs.
- EQ Favourite: Tailored Sportsman for the more traditional with beautiful colours and patterns; GPA takes it again with its most-stretch Salma show shirt.
- You may miss: embroidery on your collar.
- Not-So-Hot Helmet Designs: They are now vented and washable.
- In-Style: Black is still the “it’ color, but vents are acceptable everywhere. Do keep the bling minimal and go for the removable/washable interior.
- Make a statement: Custom designs and different colors.
- EQ Favourite: Antares’ Casque is beautiful from its all-black ultrasuede Hunter to its custom Ostrich leather. The black/brown combo is our fave; we’ve even been known to apply a barn logo! Charles Owen Ayr8 is the most popular and now the SP8 (wider brim) is available for the sun-sensitive rider. We love the GPA First Lady for elegance and ultimate protection (but the price tag is steeper).
- You may miss: The traditional velvet “hunt cap” sleekness – but you won’t miss the concussions.
Stay-tuned for EQ’s next entry on innovations in schooling attire where Ashley will talk about boots!