Shopping for the show

So I told you I was working towards doing a dressage test in a little show at our stables in May or June… and I told you that 99% of the riders in the last show were all dressed up … so I had to go shopping.

I had some horsey catalogues at home that include rider wear so I flicked through to see how much it was going to cost. Too much. Much too much! So it was time to see if I could do it on a budget. I went onto eBay and saw some jackets. I put some small bids on but they all finished at over £30 which I thought was too much for a second-hand jacket that might not even fit me when it arrived. I did win a cheap shirt with a stock collar, although I’ve not yet acquired a stock to wear with it. Or a stock pin.

I had to make a trip to my local tack shop for spare hoof picks, anti-fly ear-covers (for the horse’s ears, not mine – I’ll post a picture when I remember to take one) and some other little bits and pieces, so while I was there I asked the owner if there was any show wear in the sale. She managed to find me a nice jacket in my size for £30 – cheaper than the 2nd hand ones I’d looked at. She also pulled out some generously sized kids show jodhpurs which did the same job for £15 less than the adult ones even though they’re about the same size. She showed me lots of reduced long boots, but unfortunately none of them fitted, so I got a new pair of half-price half-chaps to wear with my short boots (which will need a MEGA cleaning.)


When my husband saw the jacket and jodhpurs he offered me an old white shirt he doesn’t wear and a variety of ties he doesn’t wear, so I might wear those rather than buying a stock and stock-pin to go with my e-bay shirt. Although the shirt from my husband is not intended for riding it has plenty of space for movement. The eBay shirt hasn’t arrived yet, so I’ll see what it’s like before I make a decision.

I also got a hairnet and some plaiting bands. I’m not worried about putting his hair up – I’ve plaited to lay a mane before and although I’ve not put the plaits up into knots I’m sure I’ll be OK as long as I have a practice session first. I’ve been pulling it a bit to keep it thin and not too long, so while it could use a tidy up it won’t be a massive job. I’ve been playing with plaiting his tail for a while (must post a picture of that too one day…) and while the results are not that neat I have to accept that’s the deal if you have a hairy horse and don’t want to pull his tail.

But putting my hair up is a different story. After much, much, oh so much trial and error, youtube-ing and asking long-haired girls on the yard, I think I’ve figured a way to get my hair into a hair-nettable bun that can be worn under a helmet and will stay up despite being subject to physical activity.

Aside from the pending shirt decisions and, if needed, getting a stock and stock pin, the only thing left to worry about regarding our appearance will be giving him a bath. I’m hoping the weather will get warm enough for a hose bath. Otherwise I’ll have to find out how much it costs to hire the wash box… further undermining my attempts to do this on a budget. Or could I bucket wash him in warm water thus avoiding paying and avoiding the cold? Not sure. All advice on horse washing will gratefully accepted…

So then all we’ll have to do is get it all together on the same day and learn and ride the test!


12 thoughts on “Shopping for the show

  1. thecasualphilosopher says:

    LOL! “For the horse’s ears, not mine.” On a serious note, your show attire looks awesome! GREAT job on finding bargains. I have no idea what I’ll do when that moment comes, if it comes. You are going to look so much the part, it’s exciting — bun net and all. I’ve never braided a horse’s tail or knotted the mane, so best of luck doing this. Looking forward to more entries!

    • Sparrowgrass says:

      Thanks 🙂 Yes it is exciting and I’ll try to remembering that on the days it feels worrying/scary!

      • thecasualphilosopher says:

        As it was in skating performances and tests for me, remember you’ve done all you can beforehand. Try your best not to hold your breath, and do be in the moment and enjoy the experience as much as possible (ha ha, yes, I did try to take my own advice)!

      • Sparrowgrass says:

        Yes that’s a really good point to remember to enjoy the experience. I’m looking forward to looking like a rider, and I’m going to try to enjoy looking like a rider even if the riding itself doesn’t go that well!

  2. Good luck! Best advice I can give (and that I have received) – remember to breathe! Too bad we don’t live close by or I’d get you one of the many extra stock pins that I have tucked away.

  3. Wow, you did well, looking so smart without blowing your budget. My sister once said having a horse was like digging a giant hole in her croft and throwing money into it every week.
    We used to bucket wash warm with the shampoo, then usually a final rinse with hose then walk them if they seemed like they might get chilly. But that was usually in the more summery months.

    • Sparrowgrass says:

      Your sister is wise indeed! I’ve made enquiries about the wash box pricing and I’ve decided I’ll treat him to a proper shower in there (with the heat lamps for after) for the first time I wash him and then bucket wash like you describe for any subsequent little competitions we do over the summer. I’m getting the feeling he’s not that fond of water so hopefully it won’t be too challenging! I’ll just plan LOTS of time so that first wash can take as long as it needs!

      • I’d never heard of a wash box before… That was one of the main changes I noticed when I re-visited my old stables haunt in the Borders last summer (a quarter century after I used to spend all my weekends there – gulp!) – so much fancy gear for horses and people that just didn’t exist ‘back in my day’. I was astonished. Some great innovations, but at a price!

      • Sparrowgrass says:

        The wash box is like a big stable plumbed for hot and cold water with a shower attachment and a drain in the corner. Much like a very basic human shower but with a longer hose on the shower. The heat lamps are a bit fancier but we’re quite a big livery yard (as well as the riding school) so I’m sure it’s paid for itself time and time again from the owner’s point of view.

  4. Showrider says:

    Outfit looks great! That’s a really lovely jacket. I’m looking forward to hearing about how your day goes!

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