Styles, Trends and Observations at WEF 2013

Styles, Trends and Observations at WEF 2013

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.

Navy Braids
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?

31 thoughts on “Styles, Trends and Observations at WEF 2013

  1. Wow. I’m so out of date. I didn’t even know “softshell” was a jacket option! Love the photos. That dappled bay is absolutely gorgeous. I thought at first that he was under shade, but then realized that his rider’s leg was still relatively monochromatic. Great job on all the details!

    1. Soft shell jackets are @$#%#@# expensive. Thanks for the photography compliments, that dappled horse is Timber Ridge and he’s a freak of nature. I’ll share more pictures as I finish uploading them all to flickr.

  2. Stunning photos and so much class. Love the different trends and ADORE the dapples on that one horse. The braids are stunning, thought I’m disappointed in the lack of real tails. Good to see pads and girths like the ones I use at home 🙂 Practical over expensive, just how I like it.

    1. I used a fake tail on my QH for years, and loved the look of it. Yeah it’s not 100% genuine, but it’s a lot less offensive than some of the things we do for horses in the sake of style!

  3. Love this. The whole navy things started a while back, I remember the braider using it when I was down in 2011. And I’m so happy that its only the minimalistic saddle pads. I used to hate it when it was the thick pads, or even the half pads. I’m such a hunter snob.

    I’ve actually been in contact with the Voltaire rep lately about trading in my Butet for a Voltaire, but mostly because Libbys sires owner told me they were able to fit a saddle well to him, and Libby is built very much like her papa.

    Looking forward to more photos!!

    1. I’m definitely the pro navy thing. Next time I braid Simon definitely going to go for navy! If you get a Voltaire, I’ll squeal with jealousy haha.

  4. Not going to lie, I LOVE the colored yarn in the braids!! I think it looks really classy, even with the colors, as long as its not hot pink or anything. Beautiful. Hunter braids are so gorgeous! And your photography is amazing, this was a great post.

  5. What gorgeous photos!!!!! I went to watch WEF last year, and the one thing that really shocked me was the amount of riders using draw reins in the jumper warm-ups. I saw maybe ONE rider who was NOT using draw reins. I’m glad it looks like that trend has changed-that was 3 horses with ear bonnets and no draw reins in these photos!
    It looks like you had a blast! The one thing I miss of not living in South FL anymore was not being able to go watch WEF again this year!

    1. There were definitely some draw reins, but not many overall. I only saw one rider who I really felt like was abusing them… and then I took a picture of her, haha.

  6. More fab photos, they are all gorgeous. It’s really interesting to see the fashion trends in horses, have to say I like the soft shell jackets – am not up on anything showing related but I think they look nice and if they are weatherproof – BONUS! 😀

  7. Wow, you’ve blown some of my hunter perceptions out of the water. Coloured yarn? No sheepskin??
    I remember when Mum came to watch a show with me and a friend and she was amazed by all the beautiful tails…. and we had to break it to her that they were all falsies. It was like seeing Dorothy seeing the real wizard of Oz behind the curtain.

    1. My groom friend thinks the colored yarn is so they don’t have to switch colors when braiding a zillion horses – that makes sense to me. LOL @ Oz behind the curtain!

  8. Very interesting!!!!!!! While I show regularly, I haven’t been able to see any “trends” in the dressage court. Part of it is because we aren’t all hanging around the arena at the same time nor are we all even on the show grounds at the same time! And part of it is probably because I am oblivious to what most people are “doing.” I am going to have to do some more looking while I am at my next two-day show (in a week).

    Your photos are stunning! They look just like they came out of a magazine.

    1. I bet since dressage is 100% individual and in hunters and equitation you have to stand out in the hack, that there may be less emphasis on trends? Thanks for you comment on my photography!

      1. I bet you’re right. We aren’t being judged in a group. I hadn’t thought of that … And your photos really are brilliant. The ones from today are just are lovely.

  9. Oooh, LOVE all your beautiful pics! Fantastic! And your writeup was very informative too, especially for us non-hunter people, lol.

    That dappled bay is amazing. In a weirdly gorgeous kind of way.

    I have to admit, I had a hard time looking at some of the fashions because I couldn’t get over the hardware on some of those horses. Do you really need a pelham on a figure-8 bridle with a running martingale AND draw reins? For realz? The horses and tack and riders may be gorgeous, but pictures like that make me wonder how they got to that state of gorgeous. Yikes.

    1. This is not a universal truth, but most of the horses with a lot of hardware actually needed it – and I didn’t see any riders abuse it. Especially in the lower level jumpers things tended to be much more simple. That being said, I’m sure not everyone plays by those rules ha.

  10. Sometimes you scare me with your posts because we are SO alike. I think if I ever got to WEF I would spend 3/4 of my time drooling over horses at the rest analyzing/drooling over all their appointments! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Oh how I love this post! I love to “shop” in all the magazines/websites and dream of all the things I would like to buy. If only…

    Seriously I want to take an equestrian vaca- aka go to a big horse show and soak it all in like you did!!

  12. I cannot stop drooling over these photos! I wasn’t previous aware I even *had* an inner hunter snob, but those braids! The tails! The bonnets! Your photos totally wooed this Western convert 😉 Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos.

  13. I LOVE THIS!! So glad I finally got around to reading it. I love ear bonnets, I love the color navy, I love the idea of putting navy yarn in my mare’s mane. And she is definitely going to need tail extensions unless I can miracle-gro her tail! We will probably end up in the hunter ring, but I will be sad not to have the opportunity to use the pretty ear bonnets on her at shows. We’ll see, I guess. 🙂

  14. I just came onto your post and found it quite interesting. I am also associated with Head collars ,Lead ropes,Haynets,BOOTS AND BANDAGES,Sheepskin girth sleeves ,Gp saddlecloths,Fly masks,Dressage saddle cloths,HORSE WEAR and love to enjoy the stuff on the same as its rarely found on internet. Thanks again for writing such a good post.

  15. Just found this post. <3
    Girl after my own heart. Mental note taking of what everyone is wearing and how well everything fits. It's actually my favorite part of going to big shows. 🙂

  16. Good news!!!!! Other companies are making less expensive soft shells!!!! But Grand Prix still rules (from my understanding via selling them at The Farm House!) Hoping as the trend goes towards washable soft shells some of the less expensive ones will start to look as sharp as the GP ones 🙂 I know Equine Countoure, RJ, Kerrits, and probably some other companies have the washable soft shells for less 🙂

    LOVE the Navy braids and fly bonnets! Not a fan of the fake tails, but eh, as you said earlier could be worse- like draw reins! HATE draw reins! (I think they’re a cop out for teaching your horse how to correctly use his body) This is also coming from someone who is having to re-train a horse that won’t accept contact/the bit and over bends like crazy b/c he was ridden in draw reins!!!! So my anti draw reins emotions are running particularly high right now hahaha!

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