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Showmanship outfit --color question and opinions, please!

I sew all my grand daughter’s showmanship outfits. She has a bay BSP, no papers, and the type of showing she does is local youth shows --no World, no Congress, nothing big. But she LOVES showing and going to shows --maybe more to see all the kids as much as showing her horse. Her best class is showmanship --and she is EXCELLENT --she works and works with her horse to perfect every movement until they look like two dancers in the ring --perfectly in sync. They win --not every time, but most of the time.

In the fall we plan her next year’s outfit based on what others are wearing, her horse’s beautiful dun color --always striving to make sure grand daughter stands out --it’s easy to be lost in the crowd when the horse is a small, quiet dun.

Usually, she chooses color well --white and red, teal, purple, and one year orange. Last year she went red --really a nice choice. This year is the problem.

I just finished her showmanship outfit as she wanted it --GREY! Yes, there is a white collar, but she wanted GREY with black applique and (shudder) black studs. No bling, no flash. To me it looks like a church outfit a preacher might wear --well, maybe not the black studs, but certainly the white collar, and black applique on a grey background. She’ll wear a white hat, although we do have a grey one --I’d hope she wouldn’t choose it.

I think the color is a huge mistake. I think she’s going to blend in, not stand out.

Should I keep my big granny mouth shut, and hope that her performance outshines her lack of flashy outfit? In showmanship there is a mark for wearing something that complements one’s horse --I don’t think she’ll LOSE points --but I’m not sure she’ll be noticed either.

I have a lovely lavender fabric put back that I can sew up with white applique –

Anyway, she’s sixteen, such a nice girl --as a Granny, I want to do what I can to make her horse showing fun and successful. But I want to acknowledge that she is capable of making her own decisions and living with the consequence.

Make the second outfit and hope she changes her mind? Or, as they say in Frozen . . .let it go . . . .


A neutral color (I think) always looks nice against any color of horse. Hence where if people are showing multiple horses of different colors, you can stick with a black or grey outfit and “match” all of your horses.

Just did a quick google search and one of the 2015 AQHA showmanship champions was wearing a tan outfit. (Albeit with a good deal of “bling” on the shirt.)

Found a video from the 2011 AQHA youth showmanship champion. She’s also wearing tan. (Little bit lighter cream shade than the other).

Neutral colors appear to be popular. :yes:

Personally, she might stand out more with her classic fashion statement … because what is everyone else wearing? Bling. Might be nice to see a classic outfit in the ring.

Could you do different shades of grey in the appliques and maybe some clear stones? Mix a few metallics in there? I know a young woman (22) who shows a sorrel Paint at the world show level who wears grey in every event except the english classes. Her showmanship jacket is grey with a mix of lace, bronze stones, grey stones, silver buttons. She wears a grey hat with it, and it’s stunning. I would have never put that color with a sorrel, but it looks great. The jacket has depth because of the textures.

I think we need to see pictures in order to give you our honest opinions! :winkgrin:

Is her horse a bay or a dun? You say bay in the first sentence and then say it’s a beautiful dun color. To me those are two very different colors. If it is a true bay, then grey would probably be okay; however, if it is a true dun then that is a much lighter color and I’m thinking the grey might be washed out with the lighter color. I don’t like the sound white collar maybe a dark grey or black? Really needs a third color that compliments grey and the horse color, not a lot of it just a little to make the whole thing pop.

Picture of horse and Showmanship outfit

Thank you so much for your help!!

Here is what the new outfit looks like --the sleeves are going to be shorter, and the black studs are not on the front yet.

Here’s a pix of the horse who is dun --does have the stripe down his back:

Better pix of horse:


And you know Grannies --favorite pix of horse:

So is grey a huge mistake? Should I let her make it and not say anything?


I don’t think it is a huge deal. A well tailored, well fitting outfit is more important than something flashy currently. Even at the big shows, business suits are becoming popular and you still see major bling, but you see extremely plain but well fitted as well.

I show AQHA, winning circuit championships at decent sized shows. I showed all last year, and will be doing the same this year, in a business suit. My horse last year was a plain bay with out any white what so ever. Boring horse. The suit was a dark gray, black hat and boots, and the color was a turquoise shirt and scarf. No bling what so ever.

This year, new horse who is flashy. Gray with multiple colors as he is young, we are going even more basic with the suit. Same base, but going with either a dark navy blue shirt and plain scarf or a white shirt. To let him shine and me just compliment him. And my trainer has world and congress champions in AQHA, and this is all her idea, not mine. She is all about saving money and using hand me downs.

Well seeing it makes a difference. I like it, I think the studs will look great on it. You do great sewing!!

I think you’ll be fine. Remember, it’s a pattern class, so the judge will be focused entirely on your granddaughter when it’s her turn to go.

I might go with a soft grey hat to contrast against her hair. Black would look good, too.

I"m not a fan of red with duns, so I think the gray is a better choice.

Looks Fab as usual. :yes: Agree with the others, the classic look with a little bling to bring it out WILL be noticed.

Still waiting for the adoption papers so you can adopt me and sew my show clothes. :winkgrin:

Maybe sit down together too and look at some good color magazines together of some popular winners for ideas? My son used to show Western and geez, we saw some knock your socks off bling outfits he’d never wear. But it would also be a fun activity for grandmother & granddaughter. Used to see some great outfits in some magazines I wrote for.

Hobby Horse Clothing has a page that discusses colors, outfits etc.

Here is a color wheel that has a “silver” outfit

http://www.hobbyhorseinc.com/shopping/broken-heart/1462_jessie.shtml Click on the silver color.

I think the outfit you have is fine, just bling it up a bit with studs or sequins or both. I like how there is sequins on the collar and sequins going down the sleeves but your outfit is fine with or without. They are showing it with a grey hat, looks very nice.

Personally, I LOVE that grey outfit! The black chevrons at the top will draw the judge’s eye towards your granddaughter’s face, and if she is expressive and a showman, that will be a really good thing! I think it is a more mature looking outfit compared to some of her other choices, and will give her a more professional appearance that is appropriate to her age. I think she can absolutely make the grey work for her, and I think I like the white hat with it. I really doubt she will lose points with it - and you know what, it will be a good experience for her.

Pfffft. The girl is 16. If she wants gray, let her have gray and don’t pick at her about it.

Besides, I think the outfit is lovely. The gray with black accents is quite striking.

Grey is a really trendy color this year it seems like, especially in sms. My nationals outfit is actually going to be grey too :wink:

The only thing I see that sticks out to me about this outfit is that the bottom black stripes don’t match up, which could make her look like she’s not standing straight. At her level, honestly, things like that don’t matter too much, but if it come down to very close point between her and another and the judge looks over at her and (because of the stripes) it looks like she’s dropping a shoulder or not standing perfectly it may drop her a half a point, giving the other exhibitor the higher ribbon. For sms and hms shirts and jackets should be perfectly symmetrical.

Personally I think the white hat trend is tacky when your outfit doesn’t clearly call for a white hat. I get that white hats draw light to your face, but in sms it needs to match. Unless she wants some more white on the outfit it’s self, I’d go with the grey hat. It will make a much cleaner picture. I’m doing the same debate with my outfit too, I have lots of white near the top, but the grey hat still makes for a much more put together outfit.

Ps. That purple outfit is gorgeous! props to you!

I’ve done the best I can with aligning the leather on the front. I’ve put the zipper in 3 times --this final attempt is as good as I can do. I’m hoping the studs will take the eye away from the misalignment. The zipper problem is due to using leather --quite stiff, and hard to work with at times. Most of the time I use Ultrasuede for applique --but I had a hide I’d used for chaps, so decided to use some of the left over leather.

GD comes home tonight to try it on. If she feels it’s a problem, I’ll remake the jacket. Applique must be done before seams are sewn –

Purple outfit wasn’t as successful as I hoped. GD wanted the pants TIGHT and the Jacket short --she didn’t like how her hips looked after it was done. The only solution is looser pants or longer jacket. I’d made the red outfit to practice for the Purple one --ended up she liked it better. It happens.

I have extra grey fabric.


Awesome job Foxglove! I think the grey and black will look great especially since the horse has black point and mane and tail! You are VERY talented!!!

You’re amazing!!! My mom used to make my show outfits. I’m nearly 40 now and wish she still did!

Grey would not be my first choice for this horse, although I did gray with a chestnut as a kid. I did use other colored tops, though. .
I think dun screams for " earth" colors and jewel tones. I love the purple or red outfit. Nice job!
I would also do more bling because it’s youth showmanship.