Sunday, March 6, 2016

What Is Equus Wearing?!

When a unicorn goes out, he usually wants to look his best.  That said, I'm frequently asked what I'm wearing.  So let's break it down.  I've got a number of different outfits that you might have seen, each of them has an origin and purpose.

 First, the formal attire:

My coat is called a shadbelly.  This type of riding coat is worn in a couple of different situations but is most often seen in higher level dressage competitions.  Around my neck is a white ascot.  An ascot is much like a your hewman ties...just...classier.

Around my waist, a loincloth because...why would a unicorn wear pants?  (Well, there are a few reasons, we'll come to those).  The loincloth was handmade by my hewman handler, AgMane, and consists of red cloth, gold piping and white satin backing.  He did a fine job with it despite this being his first major sewing project (though I'm told he had help patterning it from a friend).

And in my hand?  A dressage whip.  Both AgMane and I are practitioners of the art of dressage.  A long whip like this is traditionally used in dressage as it allows usage without taking ones hands off the reins.  While I refrain from using it whenever possible, it is, as I said, traditional to carry one, and also serves as a motivator just being in my hand.  Chase most assuredly knows what it is.

Now, when I choose to go for a ride or just feel like mixing it up, I'll go for a bit of a different look. First of all, Let me just say, I've heard people refer to me as a "jockey."  I am most definitely not a jockey.  A jockey will generally wear strange, non-traditional colored tops and much looser pants.  Furthermore,  racing is...beneath me

We'll start with the boot.  It has laces on the front of the ankle that ensure flexibility of the ankle as I move.  Traditionally this type of boot is more of a jumping boot, due to it's increased flexibility in the heel.  Dressage (or dress) boots do not have laces.  I have a pair of those but prefer the field boot I have right now for actual riding because it is far more comfortable.  The top of the boot is interesting as well.  One will notice that the outside of the boot is higher than the inside.  This is what's known as a Spanish top.  It's a purely stylistic note, but I think it looks quite good.  Moving on up past the boot is a pair of white britches or 'habits.'  These tight pants offer me greater contact with the horse/saddle, allowing me to better feel what's going on underneath me.

Finally, the top.  Traditionally when one is in a dressage ring (as I was a few moments before this picture), a blue or black blazer (or shadbelly as mentioned above) is preferred.  If you are in the military, you may wear your military uniform.  The red top is an approximate reproduction of a 19th century British cavalry uniform and thus suitable to be worn. Of course, in the equestrian world, a red blazer is more often associated with a fox hunt and I do love a good fox hunt!  However, the real reason I chose a red blazer because is one of my favorite colors and it goes well with my horse's fine dark coat.

That will be all for now.  In a future post I will talk about equine tack elements and their purposes.