The Youth "Look"
Put the right outfit together for the youth arena.
August 23, 2011
From The American Quarter Horse Journal
Youth riders can be a tough. They are constantly growing, and the styles and designs older riders wear can sometimes be too much for young competitors. Keep in mind these few tips when dressing for youth classes:
- Youth can get away with brighter and bolder colors than adults. Popular colors for youth are teal and metallic leathers.
- Custom-dyed boots for showmanship, as well as riding classes, have made their way to the small-fry scene. These are must-haves at AQHA shows.
- Jackets and rail shirts are being worn longer for slimmer silhouettes. Youth should wear a more delicate and proportioned design that fits them while still offering the appropriate “pop” for the arena. Good tailoring and fit are a must.
You don’t want to miss the second DVD in the Showing to Win series. “Showing to Win: Trail” is an in-depth look at one of the most popular western show classes. The DVD is geared for all trail exhibitors, trainers and judges.
Smaller boys and girls can usually wear a shirt from a western store. Just remember to buy one that fits or be sure to taper it tofit appropriately. Boys should wear shirts that coordinate with their saddle blanket. Girls should wear an age-appropriate version of what older girls wear.
Vest and Jackets
Vest and jackets tend to bunch up on smaller-framed children. They can look misshapen, so start with a basic shirt, blouse or slinky top. If you choose a rail shirt alone, be sure any contrasting pieces match to pull the outfit together. Boys should wear a small scarf to finish the collar, and make sure it coordinates to match.
“Showing to Win: Trail” illustrates the standards and provides information exhibitors need to successfully navigate a trail pattern and the judge’s score card. Using unique graphics and video technology, “Showing to Win: Trail” defines the trail scoring system and what the judges are looking for in a trail pattern.
Don’t make the mistake of buying a pair of chaps too big thinking your child will grow into them. Chaps are one of the most important pieces of a show outfit. They should fit snugly off the waist, and cover some or all of belt when you are mounted. They should fit smoothly through the thigh and hip. Chaps should be fitted to the knee but not so much that they prevent movement. They should be long enough to cover your boot heel when you are seated in the saddle.
Chaps are sometimes not needed at local shows for youth. Nicely fitted jeans will work, but you can make them lay smoother by sewing a short length of heavy elastic under the instep to keep the pants snug under the rider’s boot.
Keep makeup clean, simple and fresh. Don’t overdo it to the point where it is a distraction. Get a hat that is proportional to the size of the youth rider and does not overpower the face or look too big for the body. Many hat-makers now offer youth sizes with shorter brims.