Show Outfitting

Frankie and I are pretty un-fussy when it comes to our show outfits. We’ve built them up over time to become a setup that works for us and our job, but none of it is that different from when we started. Here’s a breakdown of what both of us wear to shows:

PC: A. Frye

The Human

Breeches: my go to are TS Trophy Hunters in white for classics and tan for everything else. I’ll sub in my old-model RJs or my Ghodos if I need to, but the TS are by far my favorite breech to ride and spend a long show day in.

Shirt: since I mainly show in the summer, my fave is my Ariat short sleeve show shirt. Super breathable and light under a jacket (and yes, I almost always wear a jacket, even in the jumpers). I have an Essex Coolmax that’s not bad for a long-sleeve, and a thicker RJ for winter shows.

Jacket: I now have two that I love! My AA Motionlite coat in Aviation Blue is an absolute dream for hot days- it’s literally mesh. And I think the color looks so pretty on Francis. For formal days or when it’s cooler out, I have my Grand Prix softshell in hunter green. It’s definitely cut more conservatively- I would be comfortable taking this in the hunter or equitation ring. I also love how this looks next to Frankie’s dark coat. I just think everything looks pretty on him #handsome.

Boots: For now, my Mountain Horse Sovereigns. I love love love these boots. My brown versions that I school in are pretty but not as high quality, but the black ones have held up wonderfully and fit like they’re custom. Fairly soon though, I’ll likely retire these to schooling status and splurge on a new pair of show boots. Any recommendations? (I know you all have recommendations on this haha)

Miscellaneous: Samshield gloves. I got a monogrammed pair as a gift several birthdays ago and they’ve held up remarkably well to frequent schooling and shows! CO GR8 helmet. It’ll likely need replacing next year but I’m not in a hurry. One-knot hairnets, because I’m old school and haven’t figured out the shmancy hairnets yet. Hunt Club belt because I like the colors and just-right stretchiness. Snarky socks. No-name rolly spurs with plain black spur straps (yawn). No-name crop a Barn Mom gifted to me when I lost my beloved black and navy crop at a show #RIP.

PC: K. Borden

The Horse

Saddle: ….the same one as always. Antares Unicorn saddle that fits my giraffe legs and tiny butt, and was re-panelled to fit Francis.

Saddle pad: teeny non-slip pad underneath, then a navy AP pad with my barn’s name and logo on it. No half-pad- see note about saddle being fitted to Francis.

Girth: Showmark plain girth, size 52″. After more than a year of constant hard use, the elastic is just starting to fray. This will become my schooling girth, and I’ll probably get exactly the same kind as a new show girth. Why mess with what works?

Breastplate: Nunn Finer 3-point with elastic. I like having the security of this helping everything stay in place as the jumps go up. No martingale attachment, because Francis.

Bridle: Vespucci fancy stitch. This was my birthday present last year and I love it! It only gets used for shows so it will remain gorgeous for a very long time. It’s technically a hunter style bridle, but I like that it’s versatile and I think it looks nice on Frankie’s sweet face. Maybe eventually I’ll get a figure-8 to fit in with the jumper crowd, but again- why mess with what works?

Bit: Full cheek slow twist single-jointed snaffle. We school in a plain full cheek at home and I like having a little more bit at shows- and Frankie doesn’t seem to care one way or another. I didn’t actually love this bit at our last show, so I may want to experiment a little with him.

Boots: Equifit tab-close open fronts. These are also only for show use and so are holding up well.

Bonnet: I use my trainer’s bonnet with the farm logo on it. Sometimes she probably regrets that I’m representing her due to my potato-riding, but TOO LATE IT’S ON.

Your turn! What’s your show get-up? (Not gonna lie, hoping some eventers pick up on this because y’all have waaay more fun outfits)

Tack Breakdown

I’ve mentioned our tack setup in passing a couple times, but here’s a more detailed breakdown of what Frankie and I use on a regular basis. It’s the same at home and at shows, we’ll just swap out our boots and use an official saddle pad.

Saddle: used buffalo Antares, 17.5 5A

Before we got it re-paneled

The one and only saddle I tried when I started saddle shopping. The fitter had been told that I have stupidly long legs and had prepared by bringing several saddles with longer flaps, but she took one look at me and just handed me this one. The seat is a leeeettle bit big- I could probably use a 17 instead of a 17.5- but that 5A flap is SO hard to find in my price range. For those unfamiliar with Antares saddle sizing: the number (in this case 5) refers to the length of the flap, ranging from 00 (itty bitty pony/child size) to 5 (giraffe legs) with most “normal” adult saddles being around a 2 or 3, and the letter (in this case A) refers to the positioning of the flap- the options are N for normal, A for forward, and AA for super forward. Apparently there are other options but you’ll have to figure those out for yourself because that’s the extent of my knowledge. Back to my own saddle: the 5A means that it’s a forward flap and literally the longest non-custom one they have. It’s pretty much as close as I can afford to custom-it puts me just in the right spot and is super duper comfy. Buffalo for the win, that stuff is soft and sticky and wonderful. We recently had it re-paneled to fit Frankie, so now we have a like-custom saddle for a fraction of the price! I love my saddle rep, she is literally the coolest.

This thing is my baby. It isn’t even healthy how much love I have for this inanimate object.

Girth: Showmark Performance girth, size 52

(see below picture)

I grabbed this from Dover 2 days before Loudoun when I abruptly realized that I probably shouldn’t show in the ratty hand-me-down fleecy girth I’d been using (and still use sometimes). A wonderful case of procrastination and panic gone right! I’m very very happy with this girth. The leather is good quality, soft, and easy to clean, and the elastic is nice and stiff so I’m not tempted to just keep tightening. Frankie doesn’t seem to really care which girth I use so I can’t talk much about how happy it makes my horse…but it doesn’t make him UNhappy so that has to count for something? I guess?

Down the line I’d like to save up for an anatomically shaped one or even a belly guard, but that’s just me wanting to play dress up with my horse. You’ve all seen pics of Frankie jumping. He clearly doesn’t need a belly guard.

Breastplate: Nunn Finer 3-point w/ elastic

Girth kinda visible? I love the navy elastic because I love all things navy.

This is the newest addition to the family and I’m thrilled with it. Getting my saddle re-paneled helped immensely with saddle slippage, but I’m still worried about it when the jumps go up and he starts actually trying (which has happened roughly twice since I bought him). So I asked my trainer, “3 point or 5? Elastic or leather? Any good brands? Any terrible ones? I NEED GUIDANCE.” And she casually said, “Nunn Finer makes a nice elastic 3-point.” And this is why I love her. Short, to the point, and the next day I had my new breastplate in hand! (I know a lot of people are not big Dover fans, but I placed the order at 2pm and it was waiting at my door the very next day, and shipping was like $5. I was pretty darn happy with it).

So far this has been great- it’s very adjustable size-wise, the leather is really good quality and has softened up very quickly, and it fits Frankie nicely. I was a little intimidated by all the buckles at first, mostly because I’m clueless when it comes to anything besides a plain saddle and bridle, but now I really appreciate all those buckles- I was able to adjust each piece to the right length to fit Frankie just right. The neoprene shoulder discs do make Frankie sweat but don’t seem to be causing any rubs. Further updates as we get more use out of this thing.

Bridle: Smartpak Plymouth snaffle

Bridle, bit, and EquiFits all present and accounted for

A fantastic schooling bridle! I’ve used this almost every day since bringing Frankie home and it has held up fantastically. The leather softened almost immediately (I did use neatsfoot oil to hurry the process) and with regular saddle soap and conditioner it still looks good. Not to mention, Frankie looks super handsome in it. He looks handsome all the time forever, but that’s beside the point.

I’m planning to splurge on a Vespucci sometime in the not-too-distant future (drool) so we can have a schooling bridle and a show bridle, but this one has been serving as both so far. I don’t think it’ll last forever- mostly because it gets used so heavily- but I’ll likely replace it with the same when it does eventually kick the bucket.

Bit: Full cheek plain snaffle

(see above picture)

Frankie was in a plain full cheek when we tried him out and he seemed fine, so I grabbed one to continue using when we brought him home. He wears the same one at home and at shows, though I’ll likely pop a Pelham in his mouth when we start doing the eq. Is this the absolute best bit we could possibly have for him? Not sure- we haven’t really done any experimenting. But he’s healthy and happy and responsive to it and I’d rather not mess with something that ain’t broken!

Boots: Eskadron open-fronts OR EquiFit open-fronts (tab closure, discontinued model)

The white boots look sharp on those dark legs!

(see above picture for EquiFits)

We school in the Eskadrons and I’m mostly glad to have them because of the hinds. Homeboy interferes in the back pretty regularly and I like having a little something to help protect him. Not much to say about these- we all know Eskadron. These replaced the first pair of open-fronts I had for Frankie and I like these soooo much better- they hug his leg without pinching or gapping.

We show in the EquiFits- love these. I was worried at first because they seemed SUPER small, but after a short break-in period they fit him like a glove. I’m glad to have something a little more substantial on his legs when we show since the jumps tend to be higher and we’re jumping more often. They clean up nicely and look great on him!


I’m not planning on adding anything else to the tack family any time soon. Maybe a bonnet in my barn colors? I’m lucky that he’s pretty easy-going about tack and easy to fit so we’ll keep things basic and straightforward. I haven’t had to make any hard decisions on what to use with him, but we’ll take it one day at a time!

Do you have any specific tack choices you’ve made? Why?