I travel the roads every weekend throughout the states of Georgia and South Carolina. When I look in the rear-view mirror I see a navy-blue trailer with a white decal showing a variety of breeds and disciplines traversing from left to right. I am on my way to a pleasure show in upstate South Carolina! The roads are crazy narrow and winding and I absolutely love the views. I am preparing myself for an onslaught of tack-hungry horse people at this show and watching the emerald-green pastures full of ponies on my way is a great start.
I've found a great spot to park the trailer and notice I am right next to the food booth. That's a good draw for me! People gotta eat! While I am setting up my outdoor displays and taking all the travel restraints off my goodies inside, I get a chance to see what kind of rider and spectator I'll have today. The first group warming up are all younger kids and some of them look very green. I am fortunate to be able to stop and watch them for a few minutes. That is when I started seeing a bit of a trend that needs to be addressed.
Younger kids tend to be the recipients of hand-me-downs. It is a great way to get them started in the show ring without killing your wallet. Consignment stores are fairly abundant and on-line sources for good used show clothes are unending! I keep a good stock of shirts in the mobile unit but coats, boots and breeches are left to the stores with air conditioning and oodles more room. The biggest issue I have seen today is the hand-me-downs don't quite fit right on many of the riders. As a judge, I don't care who made it, where you bought it, or how many other riders wore it. But I do care that it is neat and tidy. Coats too big, baggy breeches or jods and floppy tall boots are the top three things that need a fixin'!
If you have to wear a coat that is too big and haven't got the time to cinch it in, use one of my favorite trainer hacks...duct tape. I turn the coat inside out and button the kiddo in. Then, use a stripe of duct tape across the back of the waist to give it some shape and use it on the cuffs to get the length right. Carefully turn it right-side-to and off you go. Remember, it's not how much you paid for it, its the end look that counts. If you aren't sure how you look, have your mom, dad or trainer video-tape your ride and critique yourself in your own mirror. Putting your best foot forward in the ring is a great start to the blues! Next time I will be off to a top-level dressage show, prepare for bling!