Life Before I Became a Hunter Snob

Life Before I Became a Hunter Snob

I believe I’ve mentioned before, but I ride at a pretty no thrills kind of barn.  Meaning, we see a lot of white plastic schooling helmets, nylon halters decorated with glitter puff paint, and my personal favorite – a fitted zebra fleece english pad. Fitted zebra people… fitted!

Really I’m fine with all this, because the ugly white helmets are safe and the tye dye polka dot polo wraps are done correctly… so who cares?  I don’t care but I guess my gasps at shocking outfits and tack choices have earned me a barn reputation of being a bit of a hunter tack snob.  A nice hunter tack snob, but a snob all the same.

Simon's Schooling Outfit
Simon’s Schooling Outfit

But friends – it didn’t used to be that way.

There was a very distinct turning point in my path to hunter princess land, and it had to do with when I showed up to try out for the NCSU Huntseat IHSA team… in rubber boots.

See, I grew up fox hunting – not showing.  For fox hunting, I had a conservative but clean turnout and no one cared how ugly my braids were.


When I did start showing (after the whole County 4H incident…) I only showed at a local open schooling show series, AKA anything goes turnout wise.


My short sleeve shirt and too-short (rubber) boots were a-okay.


Stand up braids?  Crazy hair that’s not even in a ponytail or a bun and definitely not in a hair net?  Come on down!


You don’t even have to neaten up your chin strap in order to snag a ribbon!  Riding tights also preferred… breeches are too expensive anyway.

After joining the equestrian team, there was a brief transitional period where I did manage to get proper fitting boots, but still couldn’t braid worth a damn and apparently couldn’t tuck my shirt in either.


But eventually, I did get my act together.


And I realized that no matter what level of showing you do…


You should always put your best foot forward regarding turnout with whatever your budget allows!

15 thoughts on “Life Before I Became a Hunter Snob

  1. haha don’t come to my house! 😛 I can’t remember the last time I put on a pair of breeches…haha. I just ride in jeans these days. *sigh* But I remember when I first started on the IHSA team, too – I had never seen people ride in such “fancy” attire before! lol. It took me a while to conform. 😛

    1. I used to ride in jeans and half chaps ALL the time, especially at Pepperwood, but now it’s uncomfortable to me. If I don’t ride in breeches, I feel weird and restricted.

  2. Haha I went through these same phases…! I have to say, I’m a bit of a tack snob now, as well. I guess I was fairly well-put together for 4H because I also did AQHA which had some higher standards, but I was still low-man on the totem pole as far as looks. But then I started doing the Hunter circuit and realized I better step up my game! And then joined the IHSA for my University and they demanded taylor sportsman breeches, ariat tall boots, and IRH helmets. Luckily I was working at a tack shop right before then and got everything 50% off, and have kept the tidiness since then, even into eventing. Although I wish I had more money- then I’d always be the best dressed at the barn! 🙂

    1. IHSA always reins everyone in! I agree though, AQHA has very high standards of turn out… they’re just different from hunter/jumper standards.

  3. My mom always made me match my clothes when I was little and so I’ve naturally been the kind of person who tries to match my clothes and have some stylish stuff (not 100% of the time). When I first started riding, I went to a animal lover resell kind of store and bought a used black velvet helmet for $40. It was very nice and pony club approved, but instead of being taken seriously, my instructor at the time said “Fancy now…” And that kind of hurt my feelings like she was thinking I don’t deserve to look good? I am the kind of person that I dress for the occasion and if people try to be as appropriate as they can be, then shouldn’t they be taken more seriously? But now that I’m more experienced, black velvet helmet could be a overkill for lessons but it was such a good deal and fit me well. People might see me as a snob sometimes but the way I see it, why not spend an extra $10 for the cool looking stuff that will last just as long? lol

    1. How rude of that instructor! That would have made me feel embarrassed too. I also rode in a black velvet helmet all the time for years. It faded to a beautiful brown from so much use, I wish that look was still fashionable sometimes.

  4. That was so me. And it still is to an extent (bright orange saddle pad anyone?) but I’ve definitely gotten more into the finer things. In fact, I just bought my first pair of leather tall boots. I’ve made do with synthetic and half chaps my entire life until now.

  5. Love this post! Just discovered this and I soon realized that we’re both from North Carolina. Well I mean, I still live here but I got a kick out of all your showing pictures from the exact shows I do now! I’ve done the 4H shows as well and almost showed at the Johnston County Livestock Arena. Just thought it was a funny coincidence 🙂

    1. OH fun! I remember that JCHSS ring fondly. I showed there for years and then did the photography for them for a few seasons, fun times 🙂

  6. That sounds like my barn. My barn owner just excitedly showed me the pink with zebra print wet wrap she just bought, and all the kids but me ride in sweatpants. But frankly, I’m not much better, although I’ve managed to up my barn style a bit more than that. At our barn, money isn’t exactly rampant, and those kids can really ride! Which at the end of the day matters most, I suppose. Luckily they pull it together for shows

  7. The stable I’m currently with is the first one that has really set a standard of clothing and tack. The past ones have all been “it if fits, it works!” Not quite the same! My trainer nearly had a heart attack last winter when a girl bought and put on a neon pink polka dotted blanket for her GELDING. No one has seen the blanket since that whole thing went down!

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