There is no doubt about it. Equestrians LOVE bling. Sure. We may look sedate and monochromatic in the ring sometimes. Black coat. White shirt. Tan breeches. Brown tack. But when it comes to Eventing, one of things I love most is finding ways to indulge my inner fashionista.
If you're anything like me, you're pinching pennies as you try to accessorize. It just doesn't make any sense to buy a different helmet to match every favorite color. You can't have an expensive browband for each show on the schedule. And you're probably not going to pay a saddle fitter to swap out that custom piping once a quarter.
So. How do you have fun on a budget?
It's easy to get caught up in the bright beauty of a dozen rainbows of colorful possibilities. (Yeah, that was wordy on purpose. Get me?) But choose a modest number of colors. Don't just pick your ultimate favorite and tell yourself "I'm going FULL PURPLE this year!" Think contrast and don't forget that these colors have to look good against your horse's coat too. After all, painting your horse probably isn't the answer here.
Once you have your palette, think about these things:
The saddle blanket-
The real investment should be in your saddle and your half pad. They need to fit your horse. This way, you're free to swap out the bottom layer to match your fave show shirt. Don't think expensive. Just make sure it fits your saddle. If you're soaking saddle blankets during
training, that's awesome! So get yourself a really nice saddle pad to use for practice and make the show ones fun. You could even splurge a little and purchase a multi colored AP pad at State Line Tack that potentially has all of your go to favorite shades in one blanket.
No. Do NOT go and buy a shiny patterned or multi colored helmet for each show this season. Get yourself a nice, black helmet that fits you properly. Then, get on Amazon and explore the possibility of Oracal Vinyl Striping Tape. This stuff comes in multiple colors to fit every whim. Choose your shade and voila!
You can go from this lovely (and super comfy) classic black helmet to...
Notice I cut the vinyl tape to follow the already existing markings on my helmet. It's likely that yours will have some kind of pattern you can follow. Or, if you wanted to get fancy, you could use a couple of craft punches to make yourself some stars or hearts or whatever lucky charms you think you need to make you feel like a million bucks when you and your horse step onto that XC field.
Now, you could totally spend about twenty-five bucks a pop and get yourself a few pairs of wildly colored Compositi stirrups by Shires. Here's the thing though. The only thing that's multi colored on those is the spot where your foot should be. To me, that suggests the only time people can really tell your stirrups match your shirt is when that shirt is on the ground.
Yup. Vetrap. Remember the stretchy stuff that comes in every color of the rainbow? Wrap your favorite pair of stirrups in some Vetrap and look flashy on a tight budget. You can get a whole package of that stuff for the price of one set of new stirrups.
Now, this can be fun. Ever wonder how all of those Facebook tack sellers can offer dozens upon dozens of bling covered browbands in every color of the rainbow for what seems like pennies compared to the ones you see for sale on Dover Saddlery? Well, that's because they buy a browband with an empty channel and then use some cheap beads or crystals purchased from their favorite craft store. Yes. Delfina makes a whole line of browbands just ready for you to customize them to your heart's desire. You can buy brown or black, which means you can have a wild one for XC, a bold one for stadium, and a nice conservatively elegant one for dressage. Check out the browbands on Amazon here. You might even get inspired and start making them for holiday gifts for your favorite horsey friends. You know, when you run out of tack to clean!