If you are setting foot into the show pen, then presentation matters. As they say, “First impressions are everything.” However, it takes some trial and error to get your personal favorite looks for in the show pen.
K’Lynn Jackson might be one of the most stylish girls in the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s show pen. She shows in the very competitive Non-Pro Limited classes. This is a class where standing out and looking your best is important, given all the great riders and horses. “My personal style has developed… I have bought and sold several shirts, blankets, and chaps until I have gotten it right,” says Jackson.
Her color schemes tend to be natural earth tones with, or without, accent color. “I stay away from pink and purples because I am a very petite woman, and feel like those colors makes me look like a youth rider,” she explains. “If I am picking a fun color, I like to stick with colors that are mature. I prefer an overall appearance to that is closer to ranchy than fancy.”
Show pads are a make or break for an outfit. It depends on what association you are showing in for what style of pads you use. In the National Reining Horse Association they tend to use more textile pattered pads that have large accent colors. While in the Reined-Cow Horse and Cutting Horse shows they tend to use more subdued small detail pads. “Personally, I think that brown tones look good on red heads and red roans. While black looks great on bays, buckskins, bay/blue roans, and palominos,” Jackson says.
Can’t forget your leggings! According to Jackson, “Having a custom pair of chaps that fit well makes a huge difference! I like my hat and chaps to coordinate, but depending on colors you can mix and match.” Style and color of chaps says a lot about you as a rider. “Black Chaps hold much more of a classic Reiner vibe, while brown and rust color give a much more working look. Which is great for the ranch riding and the cattle classes.”
To get inspiration, don’t hesitate opening up the magazines and see what other girls are doing that you do or don’t love. “I use a collage app to compare shirts with saddle blankets and even include a photo of my horse into the collage to see if I like the pairing or not.” Jackson says. Another great way to plan out your outfit is by bringing your pad, shirt, leggings, and hat home. Lay them out on a clean floor to make sure they all blend together before you hit the show scene. Jackson advises, “Try swapping out the shirts or hat to see how it changes the look.”
There is never an event where it is not acceptable to look your best. Recently, CR Ranch came out with their stretch shirts in order to enable lady ropers to have the fit that they want in the waist while being able to have full range of motion in their shoulder. Whatever your event is, look your best so you can feel your best.
You will quickly get the hang of pairing outfits and soon you won’t have to think twice about looking jaw dropping at an event. “I have five blankets that can mix and match with eight shirts for endless amounts of looks,” says Jackson. If you are showing on a budget, don’t be afraid to buy one saddle pad and two to three coordinating shirts to have a few options.