I'd love to know what stereotypes of an equestrian you seem to have battled both in and out of the horse world.
I am feeling a bit like an outcast in the horse world in my area. I am very much a girly girl, and enjoy things such as shopping and pampering myself that tends to carry over into my love for horses and riding.
I saw a post on here earlier (in all good fun) that had stated being around horses make a girl want to not wear makeup. I felt like this was stereotyping riders, yet most people agreed that that was so them.
This soft spot may be me being self conscious. As a kid, I took riding lessons with a small group of girls, and we got along great until middle school. While we were in middle school these girls started ganging up against me, saying my equitation sucks (like other 13 year old girls are to talk...lol) and would turn the electric fence on while I was out in the paddock. Anyway, I eventually quit riding in high school cause I didn't want to deal with these mean girls anymore. Looking back now, I am aware that is the age that girls are developing, and appearance starts to matter in their minds, and (not to sound conceited) I was a pretty girl and it was intimidating.
But here I am, at 23 years old, riding again, and again feel as if I am being judged for being girly. I LOVE to shop, so when I found a great deal on a new CO helmet I was so excited to share this great deal with a girl I ride with, and she seemed also excited to hear where to get a good deal, but mentioned that appearance doesn't get you ribbons. I don't think this was meant to be condescending at all. (she is a very supportive and friendly person) but made me nervous that I would stick out for being a bit too stylish in a world that stereotypically doesn't care about fashion or beauty. (I also bought the coolest breaches, shirt, and gloves you could find... I can't resist..lol)
I believe that stereotypes run high in this lifestyle, and have met many people who have pushed me away from the sport, because I am too girly so I must not like horses as much as they do.
Anyway, I would enjoy hearing other stereotypes people have overcome in the horse world- or find frustrations with. I mean, it would be a boring life if all horse people were the same, lol
Horses are very stylish. I know people who spend hundreds on just show clothes. When I showed as a kid, I was always scoffed at because I didn't have the $300 rhinestone shirt or the $2000 show saddle with silver accents. I had a button down shirt and a used abeta saddle. It literally soured the showing experience for me and though I've shown through the following years, I'm not a big fan of it like I was when I was a kid.
Everyone wants to look fancy (western) or proper (english) and I just wanted to show me and my horse's skills. Even so, its sometimes required in the show "rules". I never had the money to get "proper" show attire and I never understood the need to have the most sparkles in the ring.
This is me at a jumping show. You can tell my jacket isn't the typical equestrian jacket. It was a blue blazer. But it got the job done. At higher rated shows, I understand you need to dress appropriately as the guidelines state.
So, I'm not real sure where you're coming from when you say that equestrians aren't stylish. Everyone I know wants their horse is the prettiest tack and will save up for months just to buy that piece of tack. Same for show clothes and boots and even fancy brushes.
True, sparkles shouldn't get you ribbons. Shouldn't. But people use them anyways and politics are usually involved, so what should get you a ribbon and what shouldn't doesn't always apply.
I think it is all about attitude. If you act (and I'm not saying you as in you personally, i'm using it generically) like you are a stuck up little princess, aka one hair out of place, a chipped nail, a little smudge of dirt-your entire day is absolutely ruined, then yes, I think people will judge you and be upset with how you act based on looks. But if you like to look nice at the barn, so what? As long as you do things properly. What I mean is there was a lady I met at my barn only a few days ago who had this perfectly curled hair, expensive Prada sunglasses and was wearing flip flops! I'm sorry, but I'm going to judge you on that because that is a frikken STUPID thing to do. I don't care if you are riding or not, you do.not. Wear flip flops around horses, ever. On top of it, instead of asking me what I show in, she asked me, "Do you show?" I replied, "Yes I do." That would have been an appropriate place to ask what-dressage, jumping, flat, what. But no. The next question out of her mouth was "How did you place." That says ALOT about a person, imo. About status and riches and money. That is not the type of person that I want to be around.
But I know that I LOVE to shop for horse stuff too. I think you are great for wanting to look good while riding. Just don't act stuck up. ANd YAY for good deals!!!!! I love good deals on horse stuff...and clothes... and anything, lol.
Oh gosh I have multiple expensive helmets, brand name designer riding clothes only, a brand new couture show jacket, etc... with my coaches group it is like a competition who can be most fashionable. I wear my couture riding clothes to restaurants and don't look out of place! But my "normal" clothes suffer for sure haha I have actually 2 pairs of jeans 2 dress pants and 5 sweaters (M,T,W,Th,F).
Being fashionable and playing with colours is really "cool" in dressage right now. I am in the process of pricing out some tan dress boots.
And CO is not even on the tip of the iceberg for cool riding gear. Check out Samshield, KEP, Uvex, Casco for helmets. Asmar, Arista, Pikeur, Euro Star, Cavallo, IW, Spooks, Animo etc for clothes and Casa de Las Botas, Rectiligne, and others for cool boots.
The sky really is the limit. Right now I show in a brown jacket, black helmet with brown piping and for FEI a cream colored helmet with black tails and cream accents.
In dressage it is all about the scores and fashion won't get you scores but wow. The fashion right now is great to watch! Loving Shannon Peters, Edward Gal, Carl Hester, etc.. right now. Posted via Mobile Device
I'm kind of a mix, but my work fits that. I may be in insulated coveralls to feed or check cows and have to change into a suit and flats for several hours of other work.
I prefer to be a good 60 miles from the nearest small town and only go in once every month or two, but I often have to go to metro areas, and can have fun while there. Shop? Oh, yeah. Like to shop for friends and family as much as myself.
I like to build fence and work on and drive really old tractors. But I also like to do really geeky things associated with the regulations for my jobs.
I think I have the best of both!
Some of my friends can dress up "western chic." Others wear some high end urban stuff. Still others can put together fantastic outfits from second hand stores. For the latter it is like winning a race, or being talented on an instrument. They really get into it.
Hopefully you meet people with wider interests than you may have in the past.
I have an F in fashion taste. I couldn't tell you what brand my clothes are without having to look at the tag. I think my helmet is a Charles Owen but I didn't buy it for the name. It was the only thing the local tack shop had available that would comfortably fit my big ol fro. My show clothes are second hand. I can't even tell if my hunt coat is black or dark blue but its ambiguous enough to work for both dressage and jumping. I don't wear jewelry since I have a pretty serious allergy to most metals. I used to show up to the barn in my work clothes which was usually a labcoat and scrubs. I'd just pop on my boots and helmet and ride. Once I showed up to a schooling show wearing pajamas and competed that way. I didn't really care but my trainer was livid.
I've had people call me tasteless. I don't care. As long as its comfortable and fits its all good to me.
A stereotype I've come across is that black men and women don't ride horses, and if they do they abuse them. Absolutely untrue - some of the best horsemen I know are black and the best cared for, most loved horse I know of has a black owner.
I wear old jeans when I work around the horses. I either ride in jeans or in breeches. But I do like to dress up as well. You don't have to be a total redneck or uncultured and I don't think most of us on this forum are. We have musicians and artists and lawyers and doctors as well as rednecks and a whole lot of stuff in between. Lots of types of people love horses. Be who you are.