Whoever thought white was a good color to choose for breeches in jumper classics and dressage tests… (and let’s be honest, even tan for everything else) obviously didn’t realize how messy equestrians are. I mean come on, how can you expect us to keep a piece of snow-white clothing clean all day when we basically just look at a horse for a minute and somehow end up with a stain somewhere?? I am a stickler for being properly turned out when I head into the ring so read on to learn all my secrets for staying clean at horse shows!
Obviously, the easiest way to stay clean is to avoid putting on your show clothes until the last minute, but that’s not always a realistic option for riders. Sometimes the day is just too busy… or if you’re like me, you can’t stand the nearly impossible task of trying to wrangle yourself into breeches once you’re already hot and sweaty! But not to fear, there are still a few ways to stay clean while wearing your show pants at the same time!
The real “secret” to staying clean is being proactive, this means planning for the inevitability of getting dirty, and I’ve found that the simplest way is to keep an extra layer over your show clothes. This is no big deal for fall and winter shows… just throw a pair of sweatpants over your breeches, a sweater on top, and you're ready to go for the day. But no one, myself included, wants to risk heat stroke with that type of layering in the summer. So in the summer, I opt for scrub pants! Yes, you heard right, as in medical scrubs! They do a great job protecting you from slobber, purple shampoo, manure, etc. while being super lightweight and not overheating you as quickly. Plus, you get the bonus of pretending you’re in Grey’s Anatomy! Then when it’s time to show, you just peel them off and BOOM, your whites are still looking pristine, and you’re ready to SLAY in your class!
And if you’re looking for an even quicker and more convenient option, Michelle swears by snap off track pants! You can have your breeches and boots all ready underneath, and then right before you get on, just rip the pants straight off #genius!
Another tip that I can not stress enough is DO NOT polish your boots while wearing them! Even if you are the master of polishing boots, the likelihood of you ending up with polish somewhere on you is high (trust me, I have first-hand experience in this department). Instead, get into the habit of polishing your boots every night after you’re done showing. You may feel exhausted and say “oh I’ll just do it in the morning”, but if you get into the habit, it will become second nature, and your boots will always be freshly polished for the next day of showing!
Even with all the preventive measures in the world, you will most likely end up with a stain at some point during the day. But don’t worry, most stains will come out if you act fast enough. Those little stain remover pens do a good job, so I always keep a few in my show trunk or ringside backpack. Also, be wary of pre-class cuddles with your horse as they are slobber and hair machines! But if you’re like me and can’t resist a little pep talk between you and your steed, have a damp rag handy… they are great for brushing off any dirt/hair/slobber that may have transferred onto your show coat.
These are just a few simple tips you can use to stay a little cleaner at your next horse show, hopefully! If you have any other “secrets”, “tips and tricks”, or “hacks” for keeping those whites clean, let us know in the comments below!
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