From so someone showing at the local circuit who’s had a progressing trend toward hunter snobbery, I spend a lot of time pouring over tack catalogs and equestrian style blogs. In those venues, there’s a lot of emphasis on higher priced goods being the best possible thing you can buy for the show ring. A lot of times that’s true, but I noticed a lot of trends at WEF that showed me that sometimes simple is better.
I’ve heard it can be appropriate for a bay to be braided in navy yarn for a less formal class, but navy yarn was all over WEF. I saw numerous chestnuts and bays braided with navy, and this was for everything from AO hunters to the hunter derby final itself. Also, Jen Alfano’s horses had a single sparkle braided in about 6-8 braids away from their poll. It was subtle, fun and classy.
Just Say No to Sheepskin
I didn’t see a single real sheepskin pad at the show, not a one. Everyone had synthetic, clean, well fitted fleece. Nothing special, and not brand new and fluffy either. My saddle pad budget appreciates this discovery.
Shoo Fly, I Gotta Bonnet
Nothing pleased me more than the amount of ear bonnets I saw in all levels of jumpers, because I ADORE ear bonnets! Some are simple, some have double piping. Some had a logo embroidered on them, and some were sparkly. They were almost all very conservative, with the occasional bright blue but mostly just a conservative color with bright piping.
A Girth is Just a Girth
Like saddle pads, I hardly saw any fancy leather girths with sheepskin lining. In fact, fancy stitch leather girths were in the minority too. Saw a ton of nylon girths with fleece lining and even a lot of the brown neoprene Professionals Choice girths.
Don’t Leave Home Without the Weave
I saw one hunter without a fake tail all weekend, and I didn’t think “oh how nice and natural” but really more like “eh, why is his tail so thin?” This trend is here in full force.
Wear Any Helmet, Just Wear One
The GPA Speed Air is still the #1 helmet I saw at the show, but the different choices in helmets seem to be increasing every year. Samshield? Absolutely. Anatres? Sure. IRH? Well okay, but mostly if you’re Liza Boyd. Charles Owen? Always a classic. So really, when you step out in the ring just pick a helmet that fits your head! I even saw gray and brown Samshields out there.
Soft Shell is King
I think majority of the junior riders and all pro riders were wearing soft shell jackets… sigh, they are so pretty and expensive. That’s not to say that I didn’t see traditional wool coats (I did, especially in the older AO’s) but I don’t think the soft shell trend is going away any time soon. Better start scraping my pennies.
Voltaire is the New Antares
They’re hip with the striped teal gullet under the saddle. Their branding is amazing, and they have an exchange program for young kids moving up in saddle sizes as they grow. I saw a bajillion Voltaire saddles at the show, and overhead several times “You need to go to the Voltaire booth.” Again, maybe I’ll win the lottery?
Hope this helped satisfy your inner hunter snob! Any trends you’re particularly excited (or not excited) about?