Horse Showing Tip: Matching Your Outfit to Your Horse

Your show-ring apparel can make or break your score, so make sure you are complementing your horse.

Whether consciously or subconsciously, judges are influenced by your “whole image,” which includes your color, fabric and design choices. If your show outfit clashes with your horse, you’re probably putting your total image at a big disadvantage.

While no outfit or color combination will compensate for a lack of preparation and practice, a perfectly planned outfit gives you the extra edge you need in difficult competition.

So you’ve got the clothes. Now what? Learn all about the class in AQHA's “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” DVD.

Consider what you want your outfit to convey to the judge. The more bold a color, the more aggressive you will look.The color’s intensity also should be considered. Intense or strong colors look best on people with a darker complexion, while those with a fair complexion tend to look better in less intense colors.

Here are guidelines for colors to wear based on the color of your horse:

Go with: Blue, blue-green, deep purple with blue undertones, light sand, dark green, black or white. Rust can work if it has a significantly red undertone and matches closely with your horse’s red undertones.

Go with: Black, dark green, teal green and some rusts.

Red and Blue Roan
Go with: Rust red for red roans and blues for blue roans. Be careful to meticulously match your horse’s undertone or your outfit will clash.

Dun and Brown
Go with: Deep blue, purple, blue-green, black or bone on most duns.

Go with: Royal blue, dark green, emerald green and black.

Go with: Dusty rose, mint green, green, cornflower blue or pale purple with light gray horses. Choose red, royal blue and purple with dark gray horses.

Bay and Black
Go with: Red, royal blue and purple.

Go with: Sage green, royal blue, chocolate, rust, most pastels and cream.

Be in-the-know when you watch AQHA’s “Showing to Win: Western Pleasure” DVD. It’s packed full of great tips on how to succeed in western pleasure as an exhibitor, trainer or judge.

Once you know your own ideal colors, choose one you have in common with your horse, and voila! You’ve got your perfect outfit color. Can’t find a color that looks fantastic on both you and your horse? Go with blue. Blue looks good with many different horse colors, and you can create a great match when you choose just the right shade.

More Tips:

    • The brightest and most contrasting areas of your outfit will draw the greatest attention.
    • Darker colors hide or diminish; lighter colors attract or emphasize.
    • Using the same color top and chaps makes you appear taller and thinner, as well as more noticeable from a distance.
    • Select an attractive color to wear near your face, to bring out your face from beneath your hat. Wear makeup tailored toward your personal coloring.
    • Use your hat color somewhere within the outfit so it appears to be part of the outfit, not just an afterthought.
    • Boots should match or blend with your outfit. Never draw attention to your feet, so stick with plain boots whenever possible.