This is an exciting week for the long suffering horse audience who reads this blog (with its total lack of horse content for quite some time). I met bloggers! I went to a FEI World Cup event! My horse is on his way to California! We’ll talk about all of this soon, but today there are more pressing matters.

Y’all – we need to talk about this coat.

Karl Cook. He’s a jumper rider.

He’s a foodie.

He’s dating celeb equestrian Kaley Cuoco.

What is it called when a walrus photo bombs a cute moment. Tank you’re just a precious perfect gem.

A post shared by Karl Cook (@mrtankcook) on

And what’s most important, he has a track record of showing up to jump in big classes wearing perfectly normal attire.

See? Perfectly normal.

But when I headed to Del Mar last weekend to watch the Longines FEI World Cup, he started the course walk in this monstrosity.

Karl! Karl, no! Karl, what is this?

As best as I can tell, it’s a 5 button jacket with mixed materials of brown technical fabric we see from normal hunt coats, but with leather sleeves. There are military style buckles crossing over the front and back, and it’s longer than traditional coats.

For the walk, he paired it with what looked like a matching brown hat but when he was riding he wore a black (shudder… dude match your boots bro!) helmet.

I just have so many feelings about this coat.

If I try to give it a positive spin, I’d say it has a nod to the military background of the sport… although that’s often more for dressage than jumpers. At least it’s a conservative color? Maybe those leather buckles help keep your shoulders back for an equitation round? Maybe they’ll start making coats with leather corsets so I can finally achieve the perfect hourglass figure in my own jumper round?

I want to like the coat, but I can’t. I saw him galloping across the grass field towards an oxer and expected him to yell, BRAVEHEART! or something when he cut across the diagonal.

I felt a little bit like I was a costume party.

Let’s be clear with something — Karl is more fashionable, more famous and more talented than I will ever be… but I still can’t with the coat. Maybe someone else loves it out there. Blogland – what do you think? Is he an icon of style or a nominee for the equestrian version of What Not to Wear?

41 COMMENTS

  1. I agree with, I’ll probably never be famous (not even partial famous.. just absolutely total unfamous) I’ll also probably only reach a semi-comfortable middle class lifestyle in my life and if I’m being absolutely realistic – I’ll probably always be an amateur who dreams of winning big and fancy classes at big and fancy horse shows (aka I’m nowhere near orbit of Karl cook and I don’t pretend I ever will be).

    But uh that coat has got to go.

  2. The fuzzy noseband on the horse really makes the outfit that much more interesting. LOTS of brown. I don’t mind the coat, but it is definitely a “style” choice. Maybe he got paid to wear it from some weird brand trying to make horse showing high fashion or something. hahaha.

  3. Lol, I shuddered too at the black helmet with all of the brown… why?! And re: the corset coat, I laughed in the middle of lecture. Sign me up when those come out! lol

  4. From the side photos it looks like he is wearing a cropped jacket. Just no. I saw an equally hideous pin stripe with large white piping at Tryon in the grand prix last weekend too. Looked like a 1920s mobster. Why?!

  5. First of all, who made him this coat so I can never recommend them to work’s purchaser? I remember a Noelle Floyd piece about him where it was mentioned he designed coats with a label he helped co-found but can’t recall what label it was. My guess is one of the weird European ones (the Italians are always doing some avant-garde shit).

    Second of all, this coat is far too long. It’s practically down to mid-thigh when he’s standing, and I’ll bet he’d be sitting on it every time he posted if he wasn’t busy galloping around in two-point.

    While I appreciate innovative design and forward-thinking style, especially in the world of equestrian sports, this coat is a monstrosity.

  6. Oh Gawd. That coat. Hideous. While no one could ever confuse me with being fashion forward, I don’t see this coat catching on. He looks like he’s a French military officer, circa 1860s. And, and, is it me or does he strikingly resemble a modern day Macaulay Culkin? :O

  7. I saw someone who rode in something similar. But one shoulder. But it was, theoretically, to help his shoulder. …I wasn’t really convinced then.

  8. Actually Karl has a history of unique show coats. He was part of Renard et Cheval for a while, where he rolled out looks like this https://i.pinimg.com/236x/bb/d1/48/bbd1483b52bd98ac3ea9849a11e01189.jpg and this https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BvC8aGMCIAI66cH.jpg. Noelle Floyd did an article about him last year, talking about his unique style at the end: http://www.noellefloyd.com/karl-cook-horse-show-jumping-rider/ . I don’t love all the jackets he wears, but I like that he’s willing to take a risk and do something different. I get so bored of the world when everyone is in navy/white and too afraid of looking different to even bother taking the risk. As far as the one in these pics… I must not hate it that much, because my first thought was that I don’t like the black helmet with the all the other brown. LOL

  9. The label that he works with is Renard et Cheval. I remember a couple years ago at Thermal he had to get special permission to wear one of his coats in a FEI class. At Sac International he was actually pretty tame, so I thought he wasn’t trying to do the high fashion thing anymore, but guess I was wrong!

    • Oh, and on a fun note I totally took a selfie with him like three years ago and despite his fashion choices, he is a super nice guy in person LOL.

  10. Okay, so I’m as shocked as you all will be…but I kind of like it! I tend to like the military style jackets in real life, so maybe this is just translating over? I would never recommend it, and that black helmet (and black boots on le pony) is not good…but I kind of weirdly like it on him.

  11. Definitely in the minority but I think it’s great and bold and fun and he’s good enough and good looking enough to rock it. Then again, I’m an eventer so…

  12. As someone who unapologetically thinks coats are about as dumb a piece of sporting gear that it’s possible to come up with, I love seeing people do “other” things with them, if only because it horrifies the crowd into questioning their own beliefs.

    Yes, the coat looks ridiculous, but is it truly any dumber than wool and 100f temps?

    Nah. It’s all the same piece of a very entitled pie.

  13. At first glance, I thought it was a cropped jacket lol! So it’s definitely better than my first impression. I hear the Braveheart reference though lol

  14. Oh my! I actually kinda dig the idea of it… with all the drama in the horse world, I find harmless drama like this kinda fun. But the black helmet! It almost makes it look like he couldn’t fully commit to ~the look~ which any fashionista knows you’ve got to do!

  15. My best friend the showjumping super groom says he has had thaf coat for two years and designed it himself.

    Am I the only one who now wonders what a flambeed onion tastes like?

  16. Now that I think of it…at the first LA Masters there was a rider buzzing around in the warm up wearing a pastel sweater and an equally pastelly neckerchief. It must have been him. I’m sure George Morris is somewhere having a fit right now. Maybe he’s trying out his Halloween costume early? I think it means he’s so rich he can wear whatever the heck he wants–screw tradition.

  17. I am not a fan of that coat as a show coat but to be honest I may have worn something very much like it (but that was the 80’s and I was going to a dance club so it’s all fine, right?).

    I hate the idea of wearing jackets in a horse sport. I think that it’s time to modernize the sport. I have never heard of this guy but I love that he’s not afraid to express himself.

  18. Not a huge fan of the leather and all the buckles. I love the brown coordination (especially if he also had a brown helmet) on the chestnut. I also loved the gray coat. Too many buckles for sure. Though maybe in 20 years we’ll all be sporting buckles.

  19. I’m not into it. I think maybe Kaley wasn’t consulted on this choice. I’m all for being a little different and having fun with clothes, but this jacket was a miss for me. Still like Karl though. Keep doing you sir!

  20. Ooooohh… bleck. Bleck to the coat, black hat with it, and facial hair. Just a bit too ahead of the curve for old-fashioned stick in the mud me, I guess. I know H/J can be boring as crap, and I’ve handled some innovations just fine (though I’ll never like the sausagey-look in tech coats) but this weirdness is just weird.

    BUT, the dude can ride, I think he treats his horses well and he seems to be treating our girl Kaley fine, too (which is more than I can say about her last husband). So I’ll cut him some slack. Good for him shaking things up if that’s what he enjoys!

    (I also cannot do a flambeed onion, much less eating one for dinner. Lovely to look at but that’s not sufficient food!)

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