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Bling backlash, anyone?

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  • Bling backlash, anyone?

    Does anyone out there who shows western do it in conservative tack and attire?

    I've been kicking around the idea of trying the local western circuit, but unfortunately it is extremely competetive because it is the playground for all the people who do the rated shows. I can't afford all custom bling, and I wouldn't want to put out that kind of money just to try something.

    The men can get away with a button-down shirt and one of those neck scarves and chaps. Would a woman in the same attire be frowned upon?

    What about tack that isn't dripping in silver? I recently acquired an e-bay gem, circa 1982 simco with very little silver, but it has stainless steel lacing around the edges. I've found a headstall and reins that also has the stainless lacing that I think would look really sharp with the saddle. Could I pull of a "retro cowgirl" look or would I be horribly out of place?

    Don't get me wrong, I love to look at that book with all the glamour shots and self-promoting ads, and I drool over those rhinestone encrusted tops and would love to own one. I just can't swing the cost, and even if I could I think it would be hard to justify.

  • #2
    I can not attest for how it would be received in the ring but I say go for it. I have an older circle y and it doesn't have a ton of silver on it either. I have a couple of jackets that I had made for $100 bucks that I am jeweling myself, with fabric glue and crystals. As long as you are neat and tidy I would give it a shot. Also, keep a look out on eBay for tops/jackets. You can find some good deals on there.

    Comment


    • #3
      The "minimalist" is actually becoming quite popular. Even at the biggest shows in the country (i.e. the AQHA and APHA World Show, and other majors) it's quite stylish to see women showing in plain, well-fit long-sleeve shirts. I have even seen a move toward minimal or silver-less tack at the majors, though that's a little less common. Several winners and top placers at the World Shows in the last few years have been in minimalist outfits/tack, though a higher percentage probably still are in "bling." But with results on that stage, you can't really argue that the outfits make that much of a difference. I've always maintained that judges have bigger things to look at before they start critiquing your outfit to help place classes.

      At local/regional shows, you should have no problem showing without "bling." I see it all the time in my neck of the woods, which is the heart of Texas horse country and home to some of the top Western riders in the nation.

      Comment


      • #4
        I say go for it, proudly, and about time this gets some traction. It shows wonderful confidence to go into the show pen (I hate that term, btw--what happened to arena?) and shine for your horse's quality and training. One of my friends shows in QH breed and color shows. She has to borrow her trainer's saddle and clothing, because $15,000 for a saddle and over a $1000 for this year's outfit is too much.

        Bling is fun, it has it's place, but I want to channel George Morris here and say the beauty of the horse should be the star of the show.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I'm using google images to find some old show win pics. I think if I do this properly, I can put together a "vintage" look that with any luck will conjure up images of the "good ol' days" and hopefully win me some nosalgia votes.

          I have found some recent win pix from larger shows with women wearing a solid colored button down shirt with a solid black vest and chaps, which I think is far more flattering that a belt that cuts the rider in half.

          I also like the look in some of the old photos I've found of a plaid shirt, black chaps and black scarf around the neck. I don't care much for some of the saddle pads I've seen in the older photos....I'm thinking a simple solid color is best there.

          This is all very much in the "maybe" stage. Of course the biggest thing is my helmet. After prior concussions I just can't bring myself to show without it. So if I'm going to be a total sore thumb I have to make sure that the horse and my equitation are spot-on. That could take some time.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you will go all out with the rest of it, meaning a gorgeous tail, a banded mane, a really good hat and well fitting chaps, paired with a well fitting shirt, you'll be fine. The laced cantle screams 1980 but that's ok- if it's a well made saddle

            A few yrs back a youth team at the QH Youth World wore dark jeans, black long sleeve shirts, black hats, and used all black saddle pads, IIRC. They did great, and won/placed just fine in their very conservative attire.

            Comment


            • #7
              Meaty, you rock! Anyone who cares more about their own head, than what other people might think, is a hero in my book!

              I briefly owned one of the early generation straw hats-with-helmet inside, but it was really comically large. I ended up shipping it to England and the lady was thrilled to get it.

              Now it looks like the Troxel Western Hat helmet is not available anymore. Apparently, that one was silly looking also. Showing in your helmet is not only really, really smart, you'll be setting such a wonderful example for others. I hope you have a blast and much success!

              Comment


              • #8
                My daughter has a friend who shows on a very limited budget. She does the vintage/classic look and I love it. The bling is just a little too much for me and I honestly think anyone who has the nerve to break from the norm deserves a second look fron the judges.......Go for it!!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have been dabbling in the western world this past year also. Having fun.....BUT.....

                  I wore my helmet in a riding class, had a perfect ride and was low in the ribbons. People made comments and I was the only one with a helmet on. Oh well. People will notice and the judges will notice, but who cares (I value my brain).

                  I have been to quite a few of the BIG breed shows this year and there were NO riders without massive bling, custom shirts and jackets, etc. There was not one single saddle that was not light colored and covered in silver.

                  I wish it could be more minimalistic, but it seems to be going the other direction. Looked at some of the "used" shirts the vendors had that ran between $1500.00 to $7500.00.

                  Have a friend who has one of the best pleasure horses around, but she is minimalist. Only shows in dress shirts, well fitted chaps and a dark oil saddle. She hardly ever places well.

                  But you should go for fun...that's what I'm doing for now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    When I showed an older reiner locally and occasionally a number of years back, I wore pretty but not garish Western shirts that offset my saddle blanket and black chaps. Think red and black in traditional patterns, saddling a grey. The saddle was very high quality (Dale Chavez) but w/o silver.

                    Coming to this from the English riding world, where we were taught to dress conservatively, almost to the point of disappearing so THE HORSE would be the one noticed, I'm allergic to the current Western showing fad of "bling."

                    One old cowboy described overly-decorated saddles as being covered with "hammered tunafish cans," an indeleble image that always makes me smile when I see one.

                    But what I really dislike, and would refuse to ever wear, are the "slinky" clothes made out of polyester, with paste rhinestones and loud, tarty makeup on riders. That image is Hollywood campy out of the 1950's, and has nothing to do with showing a workmanlike horse in ranching tradition.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Just was at a very large Paint show and there were several women, and teenage girls, wearing the plain oxford type shirts. The most flattering looks were still monochromatic, not color-blocked...all black, all grey, all blue. It's a look that really works best if you're slim, though. The jackets that you wear outside, not tucked in, are way more flattering for ladies with a little more meat on their bones.

                      There were several of those that were still pretty plain in terms of bling. The fabrics were bright and busy, with only a little bling on the collars.

                      From what I observed, anything goes right now. I saw plain saddles, saddles with a touch of silver, and of course the mega-silvered-out show saddles that cost $$$$. Retro scarves tied at an angle with flowing ends as well as scarves tightly tied at the neck with ends tucked. Hats that were super tacos, as well as hats with bling on the edges, and several decked out straw hats with wild patterns.

                      It was pretty fun to see the individuality expressed by the riders.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
                        What about tack that isn't dripping in silver? I recentlysteel lacing around the edges. I've found a headstall and reins that also has the stainless lacing that I think would look really sharp with the saddle. Could I pull of a "retro cowgirl" look or would I be horribly out of place?
                        Sounds like the used saddle and one-ear (gasp) headstall I bought for local showing 5 years ago, except mine is stamped 1994...maybe retro at the time. Anyhoo, don't be intimidated by the breed-showers-in-their-bling set, there's something to be said for understated style. In my experience with local showing, it's still about the well-shown horse and not so much politics...although, I could be wrong.

                        As far as retro goes, I've been seeing buck-stitched saddles in my tack catalogues...knew I should have hung onto the Hereford I got rid of 20 years ago...because I felt it was out of style at the time. I wouldn't be surprised if the silver lacing sees a revival. What comes around, goes around...sort of like clothing fashion.
                        Is it me or do 99.9% of cowboys just look better with their hats on?
                        <><

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by horseshrink View Post
                          I wore my helmet in a riding class, had a perfect ride and was low in the ribbons. People made comments and I was the only one with a helmet on. Oh well. People will notice and the judges will notice, but who cares (I value my brain).

                          But you should go for fun...that's what I'm doing for now.
                          Thanks for that, and good on you for wearing your helmet. I WILL wear a helmet because:
                          1. I've had multiple concussions and I make a living off my brain, not my looks .
                          2. I'm bringing my niece and daughter up the ranks and I want to be the best example for them that I can.
                          3. A helmet is a lot cheaper than a quality western hat, and it doesn't require steaming and shaping.

                          I'm OK with getting the gate. Classes are $7, and I think there may be a $5 office fee or something. I've paid way more than that and been out of the ribbons (and even eliminated! ) so I figure it's a small price to pay to try something new.

                          I know there are plenty of close-minded judges out there, but there just as likely may be a judge who is also over the blinged-out high $ look that would love to pin a good workman-like pair. With any luck I'll run into that one. Maybe the silver laced saddle will remind him/her of a horse they had back in the 80s. If I can pull all this together in time for the June 24th show I'll be sure to post pictures.

                          I noticed one manufacturer is giving a nod to the minimalist trend, but at $139 for a plain shirt I think they're missing the point!
                          http://www.showdivadesigns.com/Shirts/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wow! Love it. Finally back to classy after years of flash and trash.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
                              Thanks for that, and good on you for wearing your helmet. I WILL wear a helmet because:
                              1. I've had multiple concussions and I make a living off my brain, not my looks .
                              2. I'm bringing my niece and daughter up the ranks and I want to be the best example for them that I can.
                              3. A helmet is a lot cheaper than a quality western hat, and it doesn't require steaming and shaping.
                              I say those are some EXCELLENT reasons to wear a helmet.

                              Yes, there are MANY closed-minded judges and I seem to run into them most weekends. I sure wish some of the western could change and go back to how it used to be.

                              Yes, when you mentioned silver-laced cantle, it did remind me of my super cute little QH I had in the 80's.

                              GO and HAVE FUN and take lots of pictures to post. Can't wait to see. Good Luck.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Ozzerati View Post
                                The "minimalist" is actually becoming quite popular. Even at the biggest shows in the country (i.e. the AQHA and APHA World Show, and other majors) it's quite stylish to see women showing in plain, well-fit long-sleeve shirts. I have even seen a move toward minimal or silver-less tack at the majors, though that's a little less common. Several winners and top placers at the World Shows in the last few years have been in minimalist outfits/tack, though a higher percentage probably still are in "bling." But with results on that stage, you can't really argue that the outfits make that much of a difference. I've always maintained that judges have bigger things to look at before they start critiquing your outfit to help place classes.

                                At local/regional shows, you should have no problem showing without "bling." I see it all the time in my neck of the woods, which is the heart of Texas horse country and home to some of the top Western riders in the nation.

                                I don't see the minimalist trend becoming popular in the 4+ APHA/AQHA shows. I know tons of people still buying the $1500 used blindingly bright jackets/vests/shirts, nevermind the new custom made one they get every year finishing over $4000. It's a terrible stigma about the tack needing silver and the shirts needing rhinestones, but that's what's fashionable atm. Most of the 'trends' factor around scalloped vs. fringe chaps and whether or not to get their boots colored to match their outfit . This is why I stuck to english lol.

                                But if you're just showing local, there is absolutely no problem with a clean, non-sparky look. Lots of people don't have a fortune to spend on clothes, and it's about the fun anyway. No judge in their right mind should ever penalize you for wearing a helmet.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  At our locals I see everything. The gamers enter the pleasure classes with minimal dressing up. Some of them have actually placed. I don't think it is the lack of silver but the some of the gaming horses haven't mastered the art of a lope. They are trying to find the first barrel, I think. The pleasure people definitely have show shirts on but they aren't that blingy.

                                  My get up has minimal silver and I, when I get enough guts to actually show, will wear a show shirt (bought for $17) that is reversable, solid black on one side and black and white on the other - no bling. I also have a set of plane jane (no silver) romels.

                                  I see a lot of kids in both pleasure and games now wearing helmets. Helmets aren't required but a good portion of them were wearing them rather than the cowboy hats.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    In 2010, Carey Nowacek won the AQHA Youth World title in Horsemanship wearing a simple black button-up shirt. No bling at all.

                                    Personally, I think it's a very classy look!
                                    My Blog: Fly On Over
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                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by HeyItsCharnae View Post
                                      I don't see the minimalist trend becoming popular in the 4+ APHA/AQHA shows. I know tons of people still buying the $1500 used blindingly bright jackets/vests/shirts, nevermind the new custom made one they get every year finishing over $4000. It's a terrible stigma about the tack needing silver and the shirts needing rhinestones, but that's what's fashionable atm. Most of the 'trends' factor around scalloped vs. fringe chaps and whether or not to get their boots colored to match their outfit . This is why I stuck to english lol.

                                      But if you're just showing local, there is absolutely no problem with a clean, non-sparky look. Lots of people don't have a fortune to spend on clothes, and it's about the fun anyway. No judge in their right mind should ever penalize you for wearing a helmet.
                                      Thanks HIC. Thought I was maybe attending the wrong shows. I'm not seeing much minimalistic clothes/tack either. In fact, some of the shirts/jackets may be getting more over-the-top, as well as some of the tack. My trainer hates that my shirt "only" cost less than $500. She states I "have" to have one that costs at least $1800 if I really want to win.

                                      I agree on the local show/open show. I sometimes use them for training or tune-up purposes. And, I do see what you see there and I'm glad for that.

                                      When I go to one of these shows, I use plain leather tack and wear a nice shirt with nice jeans.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        ebay is your friend, clean and well fitting is the name of the game at small local shows

                                        I personally don't care for the lacing on the reins and headstalls and would look for a set of matching color

                                        but I love the dark oil older big silver conchos headstalls with bit clips

                                        a good ride out places a bad ride, go and have fun

                                        Comment

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