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Western show clothing and tack

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  • Western show clothing and tack

    I have just started to work with my horse to go western. We are purchasing a saddle (light colored), and that's about all I have. I am trying to get things together for show season (just doing a local show, but it's fairly competitive).

    I need: A nice show halter and lead
    Show bridle (already have a bit)
    Show saddle pad
    Show shirt (do I need a vest? I'm doing showmanship as well)
    Girth (huntseat he is a 48, what size would I get)
    Chaps- I'd like the light color (sand I think it is). He's a chestnut, so was thinking of doing light blue/green for a shirt.

    Any advice on where to look and what to get?

  • #2
    First, work with a good show trainer that goes with clients to shows.
    They will show you all the little tricks that make life so much easier, plus your horse will shine best when you know exactly what to do when and why.

    For show clothes, you may browse thru Rod's:


    In most areas, there are a few people that make the show clothes for the exhibitors and your trainer will know who they are.

    Showing western is not about the clothes or saddle, but they help you look and ride the best.
    It is a show, after all.


    • #3

      Hobby Horse has LOVELY Western clothing, and a whole section on choosing the right colors and styles for you and your horse,


      • #4
        If you don't mind it being used go to The Bits and Barter Board. I have gotten a lot of my show things from there. If you want PM me and I'll even give you names and emails of certain people on there that were great to work with!! Good luck!!!
        Proud Owner of Acertifiable Sonny 1996 AQHA Sorrel Gelding
        -- I loff my QH Clique


        • #5
          Originally posted by HenryisBlaisin' View Post

          Hobby Horse has LOVELY Western clothing, and a whole section on choosing the right colors and styles for you and your horse,
          That is who I meant, was not remembering right.
          I get all those catalogs and they seem to run into each other.


          • #6
            www.horsegroomingsupplies.com in classifieds section.


            • #7
              Welcome to the western side of things! Here are a few suggestions and places that I got my show gear.

              For you, a blouse or tunic top without a vest looks great. I got most of mine at Hobby Horse. As far as chaps, decide what you want your base color to be and go from there. I started with black, so I got black chaps and a black hat, but found a great pair of sand ultrasuede chaps at a local tack store so now I have a sand color base as well. I try to get blouses or tunic tops that will go well with both base colors so I can mix and match. Vests are not very popular right now. I have a loud sorrel overo and most of my outfits are the light blue/ sand combination that you were thinking of. Boots tend to match your chaps. As far as pants, I would show locally in either black or tan jeans, but now have switched to hobby horse showmanship pants- they just present a more polished picture. A nice hat really tops off your outfit, so don't be afraid to spend some more money for a nice hat. I got my hat at Rods, go with a felt hat not straw. Again, color to match your base color.

              As far as your horse, look on ebay or tack trader. For a show halter there are two different cuts, regular and congress. Congress cut is a little 'chunkier' on the cheeks and nose, regular cut is just like your everyday halters. I chose a regular cut for my horse because she has more of a block head. For a headstall, double ears are currently in style, otherwise go with a single ear. My starter show headstall was a $30 special from Schneiders tack. They also have inexpensive halters. Reins should be split- make sure they are long enough or they will look funny- 7 feet is usually a good length. For pads, I use a solid Mayatex pad. You can usually find them at Smith Bros for $29.99 on sale. If in doubt of a color, choose black. This wool pad goes over your everyday pad. My horse also wears a 48" english girth, so I went with a 30" cinch, I like the neoprene ones from Professionals Choice.

              Good luck and remember to have fun. Feel free to PM me if you have any more questions!


              • #8
                Steer clear of vests - not in style anymore.

                My mother makes custom show clothes for surprisingly affordable prices - and most of what she makes is unique - you're not going to spend $400 on an outfit (if you were to purchase new from Hobby Horse, etc - her prices are lower!) and then end up wearing the same thing in a class.

                Feel free to PM me if you are interested and I will give you her contact information.
                A Fat Girl & A Fat Horse: A Blog For Plus Sized Riders


                • #9
                  If you are trying to do this on a budget, get a show shirt that can be worn untucked for a tunic look for showmanship, and tucked in for your riding classes. Try Rods, Schneiders, and even eBay.

                  Also, try to get your boots to match your chaps, so you won't draw attention to your feet in the saddle. (meaning, black chaps and boots, or tan chaps and boots, etc.).

                  There is a whole section on the Hobby Horse website about choosing color, and other pointers on how to put together an outfit.
                  There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                  • #10
                    Oh, forgot to add, try to get a saddle blanket/pad that co-ordinates with the colors in your show shirt.
                    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                    • #11
                      Hobby Horse has their clearance sale of last year's clothes going on now. Also, tacktrader.com has a section for show clothes.

                      If you're just starting out, I think simpler is better. Western show fashions change faster than huntseat, and it takes a while to get a sense of what's considered classic, what's in right now and what's on its way out. If you stay with simple and elegant, you'll fit in with the other competitors and the focus will be on your ride and not some inadvertant fashion faux pas. Plus, classics don't have the problem of looking "so last season" a year from now.

                      I personally love the look of sand/tan on a chestnut, especially paired with green or blue. I've always thought that black can look too harsh on a chestnut. My old mare is a very orange colored sorrel, and we always competed in sand w/ forest green.

                      If you are at all "top heavy," don't forget a good sports bra. Western show blouses, especially the ones with a lot of shiney fabric or detailing, draw more attention to, errr, moving parts than a dark colored hunt coat would. I've been away from the western show world for a while and had no idea that vests were out of style. IMO, this is unfortunate. My sister, who wears a D cup, always showed with a black leather vest (similar to this one http://www.hobbyhorseinc.com/09_brok...48_zipme.shtml) over a slinky. She liked that it held her in and made for a more streamlined look.

                      Good luck with your show season.
                      Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
                      Crayola Posse: sea green
                      Mighty Rehabbers Clique


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jetandmegs4 View Post
                        I have just started to work with my horse to go western. We are purchasing a saddle (light colored), and that's about all I have. I am trying to get things together for show season (just doing a local show, but it's fairly competitive).

                        I need: A nice show halter and lead
                        Show bridle (already have a bit)
                        Show saddle pad
                        Show shirt (do I need a vest? I'm doing showmanship as well)
                        Girth (huntseat he is a 48, what size would I get)
                        Chaps- I'd like the light color (sand I think it is). He's a chestnut, so was thinking of doing light blue/green for a shirt.

                        Any advice on where to look and what to get?
                        Think Western, he's a "sorrel" now! Get a buncha Western catalogs--Jeffers, Rods, etc, and look at pics and you'll quickly figure out what looks nice on you and your horse and what hangs together. Then get used when you can if you're on a budget. Some Western tack is really nicely styled, utilitarian but still pretty, but some makes me want to run for the eye bleach. And there's as many changes of fashion and what's hot as anywhere, if not worse.


                        • #13
                          Go to the Hobby Horse website and look at their color wheel. It will help you figure out which colors will look best with your horse depending on if he is a chestnut or sorrel...they are two different colors in the western world!

                          Pick one base color to use for your pants/chaps/hat and pick a simple saddle pad that coordinates with your base color and the horse's color so that you can use it with many outfits. The current tread is an "all day jacket" that you can use for showmanship/halter and then ride it. They are a shorter length and worn untucked.

                          As to a headstall, you will need to figure out what style (one ear, two ear, browband) will look best on your horse. You can make a plain headed horse look much fancier with the right headstall. Stay away from any bling or silver on your reins...just draws more attention to any movement.

                          The most popular reins are a good pair of harness leather split reins. They come in different widths and lenghts, and several different methods of attachment to the bit. My personal favorite are 7' long, 5/8" wide extra heavy reins with water loop ends from Schultz Brothers... They run about $60, but last forever if you take care of them. Don't worry about matching your reins exactly with your headstall...the leather in most show headstalls is finished differently than the harness leather, so there will be some color difference. They will even out over time, and until that happens it won't matter.

                          Buy the best quality show halter that you can, even if it is used. The most important thing is that it fits your horse properly...again, nothing looks worse that a horse that the tack does not make the horse look its best. A poor fitting halter can make a nice headed horse look like a plug.

                          Feel free to PM me if you would like. I own a show clothing/equipment consignment business and keep up on the trends and how colors and fit are important to create the right image.
                          The best little horse show series around! www.WinningWeekends.com


                          • #14
                            I've found a lot on ebay! Definitely start with the chaps as they're generally the hardest thing to get fitting properly and build from there. Look for things that are going to flatter both your horses coloring and your build. I'm hearing that vests aren't in style anymore, but honestly I'd rather see a rider in a vest that matches her chaps and creates a more stream lined image than a rider wearing a rail shirt that doesn't flatter her at all. If you're not a smaller, trim person wearing chaps and a vest that are the same color creates a long line of color which makes you appear both taller and thinner (which, lets face it, always looks better on a horse) AND it also makes you appear more symmetrical which is going to help you in the horsemanship classes. The vest also gives you a little more varity in your show clothes, for instance...if you get a rail shirt that has a finished hem you can wear it for showmanship and halter classes, then tuck it in and add chaps for your horsemanship classes...then add the vest for your pleasure classes if you want to switch it up a little. If you go for a jacket or just a rail shirt make sure that your shirt has removeable cuffs and no asymmetrical designs so you can wear them for your Horsemanship class as well. Those big French cuffs draw a lot of attention to your hands and crazy designs on your shirt are going to make you look crooked in the saddle.