The heat this weekend at the Olympic Selection Trials really got me thinking: Is it time to modify what we wear in the show ring?
I mean, it was 98 degrees on Saturday, and just before going into the ring, the riders, athletes who have trained for their sport at the highest level, were required to put on a black wool jacket. The mere thought of it makes me thirsty. Is this the best attire for optimal performance?
Now, in my self-appointed role as Aesthetic Police, I happen to like the look of a shadbelly and top hat. There is nothing more elegant in the world. But when the temperature reaches a certain level, there ought to be an option. Right now, the only choice — and it’s not a very beautiful one — it to simply take off the jacket and stock tie. But that leaves a rider all in white from knees to neck. I don’t know about you, but all-white, form-fitting clothing just doesn’t do a lot for my body type. And at international shows, there is no option. It’s a tailcoat. Period.
So here’s my recommendation: Start with what we’ve already got: those white breeches and white shirt. Take the black coat off if it’s too hot. Replace it with a vest of a conservative color or canary. That vest would complete the summer look and keep things taylored. It would also give riders the option to wear a cooling vest if they so choose.
Fortunately it’s supposed to be cooler this weekend for Week 2 of the Selection Trials – I’ll be posting as I get the chance.
What are your thoughts on dressage attire?