Suit Your Horse – Fabric Colors That Flatter Your Horse

It is going to take more than a decent turnout and an all-right ride to win the deep classes this year. Every aspect of your performance and presentation has to be perfect to create a winning impact in the show arena. But when dressing for success, you have to start at the basics: selecting show outfit colors that jibe well with your horse’s coat color.

Elementary as it may seem, your color choice plays an integral role in the impression you make in the show ring. A color scheme that is both unique, and compliments both you and your horse’s coloring, helps you two to look like a harmonized team. And by picking a color that is also on trend, you will look smart AND fashionable when you hit the arena.

But what are the “in-trend” colors? This season, designers color choices have tremendously addressed consumers’ longing for personal expression, balance, and necessity to re-energize. According to PANTONE (the global authority on color) the 10 “in trend” colors that have been constructed around these powerful needs are Emerald, Dusk Blue, Tender Shoots, Grayed Jade, Lemon Zest, African Violet, Linen, Monaco Blue, Poppy Red and Nectarine.

I personally love the mix of bright colors and neutrals found in this color palette. In choosing your show outfit they allow for practical yet fresh combinations, as well as self-expression, while at the same time, commanding attention and appreciation.

Use this guide to help you determine what (in-trend) colors look best with your horse:

Horses with red in their coats

Earth tone colors such as rust, sand, cream, peach and chocolate are all flattering base colors on these horses. This color palate spans to include the in-trend color Linen. As a warm neutral, the airy color is subtle, sweet and stunning when worn with Grayed Jade or Dusk Blue. A fabric in copper nude – another HOT color – is also a perfect color choice for horses with reds in their coats.

Bay, Black, Grey or White Horses

For riders with bay, black, gray or white horses, embrace a spectrum of bright, bold jewel tones. Such as this seasons bold and rich Monaco Blue. Pair Monaco Blue with other in-trend colors such as Poppy Red and Linen, or Emerald for a crisp and sophisticated look. Or, for a more subtle blue, go for a cool navy fabric (also in this season). I really like the contrast of a darker (albeit totally cool) color of blue paired with brighter warm-weather colors.teal on gray

African Violet on these horses is also a great statement color choice, and can be incorporated into many surprising yet stunning looks. For example, by coupling this intriguing color with the celebratory and lively shade Poppy Red.

Pale icy tones that sprung up this season would also look super chic on gray and white horses – such as muted grays and silver fabrics mixed with barely there accents or vests – creating a stylish coordination of color with your horse in the show arena.

If You Ride Horses In Both Color Groups

green suitIf you want a suit that can be worn on any color horse, go for shades of blue/green. Teal, deep greens, sage and Turquoise are flattering on almost any horse, and the popularity of green this year is indisputable. My favorite shades of green that have emerged this season? Kelly green, forest green, seafoam green, spearmint green, and a gorgeous warm-toned olive green.


If you are showing a pinto, choosing a suit color will take a little more effort. You should base it on your horses predominate coat color. If your horse is primarily white, you should go for the brighter jewel tone colors. But if your horse’s coat has less white than color, you should use the predominate coat color to establish what your options have.

Neutral Based Horses

Neutral based horses – such as a palomino – look great with any of the shades above (i.e., earth tones, jewel tones, blue/greens), depending on the horse’s markings and (of course) the rider’s preference.

And one can never go wrong with a black suit, as this go-with-everything shade looks good on any color horse. But count on a majority of your competition wearing black, so make sure yours is distinctive and special.

And don’t forget, a little bit of shine can go a long way – proven over and over on the Spring 2013 runways. So embrace this trend, for instance, with a metallic saddle seat vest, or chaps with metallic trim!
Don’t overlook the importance of the color you choose suiting you, as well! In the world of fashion in general, one has to be very careful how they select color. It is a basic rule of fashion that dark colors minimize and light colors emphasize, and horse show fashion is no different. To look taller or thinner, go for lighter colors, smaller patterns or vertical stripes. And to look shorter or broader, choose darker colors, larger patterns, and horizontal stripes.

But by and large, fashion is a means to express oneself. It’s about individuality, self-expression and choice. It’s something that you should have fun and play with. So whatever color you choose, it should be one that gives you the most confidence (while still complimenting your horse). It’s extremely important for you to own your look. And in order to own it, you have to be comfortable in not only how it looks, but also how it makes you feel.

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