The Intercollegiate Horse Show Association held its 2015 National Championships in Massachusetts this year which gave guest writer Terise Cole the perfect chance to take the drive and spy on some equestrian fashion trends in the show ring. From helmets to boots, the riders all looked professional, traditional, and uniform, except for a few style-setters who stepped out of the box.
Helmets: The French are taking over! Well, the Samshield is anyway. Just about everywhere you looked you could find spot a ShadowMatt or Alcantara going by. This is because Samshield is a new sponsor to the IHSA and provided helmets to the winners of each regional finals class. Alongside the “Sammys” were the traditional mix of Charles Owen GR8 and AYR8s plus the GPA Speed Airs and First Ladies. A brown Charles Owen and an SP8 added a little to the mix as did an incredibly shiny Speed Air Chrome.
Jackets: A nice mix of black and blue technical fabrics or traditional coats were seen in the ring, but the main thing I noticed was the fit. The majority of the coats were perfectly tailored to the rider’s body and slightly shorter than the normal wool hunt coat. There was one brown coat and one green coat at the show which added a bit of flash to the wearers.
Shirts: While hard to notice in the show ring, most of the shirts were the new ¼ button style with wild patterns and colors on the collar and sleeves.
Breeches: There wasn’t much variety here: Tan Euroseats everywhere. A few of the green-beige breeches made an appearance, just enough to change up the uniformity in the ring.
Boots: Many off-the-rack brands were spotted and most fit like a pair of customs. Speaking of customs, F.lli Fabbri boots were set up in the vendor area for custom fittings as were La Mundial and Der Dau. The winner of the flat phase of the USHJA/Cacchione Cup won his or her choice of custom La Mundial tall boots, and the winners of a few classes won a pair of Der Dau boots. Customs seem to be the way to go.
While there weren’t any new ground-breaking trends spotted at the 2015 IHSA National Championships, those who pushed the limits of the classic equitation attire drew attention to themselves in a positive way. For all those worried about pushing the limits, don’t be.. maybe you’ll make a new statement! And for those who wish to stay traditional, wear it proudly. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to tradition and remaining conservative. Plus, Mr. Morris would approve.