Well, in reference to your horse, yes, I think we can all agree that is most likely true.
But do you take their opinion when it comes to the way you “suit up” in the show arena?
To be honest, I totally ask my trainer, Joel Kiesner, what fabric swatch he likes better for a horse when I am picking out a new suit. And, evennn if I don’t always go with his preference, I still always take his opinion into consideration, and it can have an influence on my final choice. Because, even if they don’t all totally know best when it comes to fashion, they know best when it comes to your overall look in the show arena.
Which is why we wanted to hear from them!
Get the inside scoop on what these trainers reallyyyy think about today’s riders fashion sense in the show arena, and how they think we should all be presenting ourselves to the judges.
You never know – you might learn a thing or two!
Show Season: How would you describe today’s riders fashion sense in the show arena?
Christine Curtin Ryan: Today’s look is very modern, and crisp. I also think our fabrics have a very elegant feel.
John Golladay: Probably trend driven.
Vicki Humphrey: Tradition is the word that comes to mind when thinking of show ring fashion. It has a long history of sophistication, taste and class. As style change, those are the key words to remember.
Jonathan Ramsay: I think today’s riders each have their own unique fashion senses in the ring. I think for the most part everyone still has a very classic and professional look.
Ashton Kiesner: I think today’s riders fashion sense in the show arena is really fantastic. I really like all the different colors and fabrics that are coming out. I think the bling is more tasteful and there are greater risks with the suits, but it seems more conservative risks, if that makes sense.
SS: Is there a certain way you hope for your rider’s to present themselves in the show arena?
Christine Curtin Ryan: Number one for me is fit. I like my riders in a suit that fits. You’re not fooling anyone when you cram yourself into a suit that is 2 sizes too small. I also like a color that compliments the horse, or at the very least, doesn’t detract from the look.
John Golladay: I think a finished picture is the ideal look. From horse to rider every detail is important.
Vicki Humphrey: A perfect custom fit is paramount; no matter the expense of the material. And CONSERVATIVE colors that let the horse stand out.
Jonathan Ramsay: I prefer that my riders have a clean cut and classic look that makes the whole picture of the horse and rider look classic and elegant.
Ashton Kiesner: I think putting a suit together is a fun way for riders to express their individual personality though fabrics, ties, lapel pins, etc. Riders need to remember when putting together a suit, suitability to horse, the class they are showing, and the time of day/evening they are showing. I don’t understand when there are 20 country riders in a class and everyone has on a brown or navy suit. It is the little things that set each other apart. And I believe this goes for all the disciplines. Ringmanship and polished riding skills will set you apart, but so does your look. Also, although I love the traditional look, recently I have seen more day coats and I think they are fun on the right rider/horse combo. Some riders are going with a lighter color suit and again, with the right horse and rider combo, it can all work great.
SS: What do you think a polished and cohesive look does for the whole picture?
Christine Curtin Ryan: For me, a well turned out rider is to the horse, as a frame is to a painting. The focus should be on the horse (painting). The rider (frame) should accentuate, but not compete with the horse.
Jonathan Ramsay: I think overall it makes the big picture much nicer. I think it adds to the natural beauty of the horse instead of having a messy look take away from the overall appearance.
Ashton Kiesner: I think it is really important to have a polished and cohesive look from head to toe. And don’t forget the hair – neat and tidy. That is super important too. Bling or no bling, a polished look will show the judges that you are a serious competitor who has taken the time to be dressed appropriately; so, you must have the best horse too, right???
SS: How would you describe your own fashion sense?
Christine Curtin Ryan: I’m rather conservative in my own fashion sense. I do like very pretty ties though.
John Golladay: I’ll be honest most of my suits my wife, Leah Beth, puts together. So, in that case, fantastic.
Johnathan Ramsay: I prefer to keep my outfits clean cut, classic, and sharp. I don’t like anything wild or too bold that takes away from the horse or overall picture.
Ashton Kiesner: I believe my personal English Pleasure style would lean more on the conservative side. I am a professional rider, so I think the professionals should be more conservative; it is not about us, but the horses we are riding. Professionals need to look professional. That being said, I do love beautiful rich fabrics, like browns, blacks and navys; usually a tone on tone.
SS: What is your take on “bling” in the ring?
Christine Curtin Ryan: My take on bling? If that’s your style – go for it! The best way to be comfortable in the ring is to be comfortable in your clothes.
John Golladay: A small amount goes a long way. Let your horse be the one shining in your class.
Vicki Humphrey: Bling is great, when done tastefully in small areas, like on a vest. All riders want to be different and stand out. A sparkly vest, a dynamic tie, or a lapel pin that sparkles are all great, when they are done within the guidelines of class and taste.
Jonathan Ramsay: I think “bling” is okay in moderation, but I am not a fan of excessive “bling” that takes away from the overall appearance of the horse and rider.
Ashton Kiesner: I personally am not a huge fan of major bling. I believe if you are a very good/confident rider with a great horse, tasteful bling is great. Tasteful bling makes a statement that you are here and you want to get noticed, you just need to back it up with a fun attitude. If you are a timid rider or a newer show ring rider and you don’t quite have the confidence yet, then I think your outfit should match who you are. Bling for the sake of just trying to be noticed, without the well fitting, thought-out outfit, is over doing it for me.
SS: In your opinion, what does a piece of clothing need to have to really pop?
Christine Curtin Ryan: The attitude to pull it off.
John Golladay: A great horse underneath it.
Jonathan Ramsay: I don’t think it has to be anything wild to make an outfit stick out. I think a nice splash of color with a tie works wonders!
Ashton Kiesner: I love ties!!! I believe this is where you can go wild!! You can do an entire outfit around a cool tie. Don’t skimp on the tie, it is just as important as the rest of the suit!!