What do trainers/judges/employers think about crazy colored dyed hair?

I’m genuinely curious about what people think of others with dyed hair. I’m going to dye my hair purple sometime this week, but my current trainer doesn’t care. Have you had any experience with this?

Over here people do this every year to raise money for cancer. I don’t really notice it any more.

I am the unique one. No dyed hair. No piercings, not even my ears. No tattoos. I still have my wisdom teeth, my appendix and my tonsils. The only surgery I have had (touchwood) was for a broken arm, a cerbaceous cyst and a finger cut by glass.

Trainers and judges won’t see much when riding if under a hairnet and helmet. It depends on your employer.


If you really wanted to get committed, you’d dye your hairnet to match. :slight_smile:

Your trainer can’t see it under your helmet and has no business expressing judgment about choices you make regarding your body which have no bearing on your ability to ride. The judge can’t see it under your helmet and, as your hair does not provide a natural or artificial aid, has no business expressing judgment about it. Employers in traditional businesses (law, finance) or of employees in highly client-facing roles (public relations) may have a dress code established which does not allow dyed hair, so if you’re interested in one of those careers, you may want to consider whether this is a hill you’d want to dye on. :wink: Mileage is variable depending on your industry: one of my colleagues, who reports to the Managing Director, currently has aquamarine hair, and it was purple last week.


Purple ones are already available…! Have purchased, will purchase again.


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That’s funny! I’ll have to tell my sister. She was talking about bringing a new pack of nets in to the salon the next time she gets her hair done, but she usually stays between burgundy and purple, and the auburn stock color works out pretty well with that.

Anything that helps me keep track of one plain bay from another in a hack class when judging is appreciated…:slight_smile:

I haven’t heard anyone comment negatively about dyed hair with riders.

Employers? I have never worked where anyone dyed their hair a crazy colour, so I have no idea. It seems more like a young person thing…or a fund raising thing.

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I am a traditionalist when it comes to my own tack, attire, and training methods.

But the color of your hair has 0% correlation on your horsemanship. Nor does it impact how well you ride.

Therefore, it should be irrelevant to your trainer and any respectable judge.

My two cents. :wink:


I don’t know how you all do it. My daughter showed this weekend. There were 6 (count em!) mediumish grey ponies in the Eq. I kept seeing the same bay in every class and was thinking it seemed a little excessive given the heat. Wasn’t until they both appeared in last pony hack class that i realIzed there were actually TWO bay ponies - virtually identical but for size and both with blonde girls in navy jackets on board.

One of the kids outgrew his medium and had a new large pony; a Knabstrupper mix. The judges must have rejoiced! Lol.


99% of the time… who cares. Who you PAY to ride with (trainer) shouldn’t be judging your hair and it would be a bit odd if they did imo. Showing, if they can get that close a judge may knock it but I don’t think purple (at least a dark purple, grape purple maybe) is all that noticeable under a helmet. BUT, are you still trying to find a new working student position? You may end up turning off future employers if they are more traditional (which many equestrians and employers still are).


Purple is awesome and goes well with greys. It can be a nice subtle combo with a dark bay, but for light bays or chestnuts I think you’d better off over in the blue-yellow end of things.


I am old enough that when we went around dying our hair crazy colors in the 1980s, it was in a punk rock context and we intended to look rebellious and angry and shocking. So it has that antisocial association for me, even though I see totally clean cut kids do it now and again for motives that I never ask about (didn’t know about the cancer fundraising).

These days people sometimes suggest I could dye my silver streaks pink or purple, but I actually don’t like crazy color on older women (or men, for that matter).

I think for me, crazy color hair actually seems way out of date, plus when it is on clean cut kids or older folks, it seems like it is way out of context because I think of it as part of punk style.

I also tend to be alert to any huge stylistic changes in people, especially ones that don’t seem totally appropriate, because back in my younger days, these often heralded personality crisis in people. If I had a student these days who was clearly struggling a bit with life, and round about midterms they shaved their head, I would be alert to that.

However, I don’t know what the world in general thinks of crazy hair color. My reaction is a bit idiosyncratic. My old friends from back in the day tend to still love to see it on young people, while adults who weren’t in the punk scene wouldn’t have my specific associations with it.

All in all, though, I can’t see that it would matter in a riding context where your hair is bundled up plus your hair looks awful all the time, anyhow :slight_smile:

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If you are a paying client, I highly doubt a trainer or a judge will give two hoots what color your hair might be.

If you have a job where you are interacting with clients face to face, that is a different story. When we work in a consumer facing industry, we need to cater to the client. If we don’t cater to the consumer (within reason), there is another barn that will.

In summary, if you are in a consumer facing job and the consumer would be offended by purple hair, don’t go down that road, if for no reason other than to show respect for the client; who happens to pay you salary.


I completely agree with the above.


It’s going to depend a lot on what your job specifics are and also location. Tattoos and dyed hair didnt bother a single parent or student I taught on the west coast because they all had tattoos and piercings and dyed hair as well or were very exposed to it. On the east coast, it was a Big Problem to have purple hair or piercings or tattoos showing. The clientele had different ideas about that sort of thing. I will say, I dont think it’s appropriate to be showy in that way at work. I’m there to teach your child or ride your horse, not shock or amaze you with my personal appearance choices. So when I’m at work, the tattoos are covered, the piercings (even ears) are out, and I dont dye my hair abnormal colors.

if you’re one of my students, I probably wont have much to say about it. Wear a hairnet or braid it and ride your horse well. If you have a great ride, you stood out, maybe even more so with the hair. Yay you. However…are you that good that you arent going to make a mistake? Because it’s pretty easy to remember the rider with the bright pink hair…

at the end of the day, I wish people would concentrate on horsemanship and educating themselves as much as they concentrate on “looking original”.

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If your trainer is GM then there might be an issue. Otherwise most people couldn’t care less. Tattoos are becoming more and more acceptable in the workplace, as are non-natural hair colors.

I’m a millennial, a business owner, and the proud owner (wearer?) of several tattoos. As an employer I couldn’t give 2 sh*ts about tattoos/piercings/hair as long as they don’t depict hate speech or imagery. I’m all for expressing yourself!!

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My preference would be for a large number of feathers as hair extensions rather than dying your hair. Dyed hair is so yesterdays news. :smiley:


Hi. I am a trainer and have been a professional for 15+ years. We attend rated shows, go to Wellington in the winter, and have had horses qualify for Devon, for Zone Finals, for Pony Finals, etc. I am heavily tattooed, including a 1/2 sleeve. I’ve had crazy hair (but it’s “normal” at this time). I wear sun shirts mostly, but my customers know that I have lots of ink. I have students with wild, colorful hair, and my barn manager has lots of tattoos-and a nose ring, the horror!

Your hair will be in a helmet (and hopefully in a hairnet) when you are riding, so it can’t be seen as easily. Hell, I’ve seen bright red and hot pink hairnets if you want to be really matchy (yes, they exist).

The way I see it, if you can answer “yes” to the following questions, you can do as you please: Do you show up on time? Are you helpful? Are you respectful? Do you tuck in your shirt and wear clean breeches? Are your horsemanship skills on point? Do you dress appropriately for clinics, lessons, and shows? Do you pay your bills on time?

If you can ride well and perform the job, I say, express yourself how you please


You know you can totally express yourself and be a good horseman. They are not mutually exclusive. Nobody yet has shown me how a tattoo affects the ability to ride a green OTTB or jump effectively.

I have a 3/4 sleeve and I sure as heck am not covering it up when I wear my normal short sleeve shirts to teach or ride.


Having the unfortunate experience of visiting family members residing in mental health facilities, I have seen a lot of people struggling with their identity and sense of self who express this through their hair color or cut. So many of them once stabilized lament over their hair decision and do what they can to restore to a more normal look, realizing they don’t really want to look so different after all. I’ve even seen parents get their kids hair extensions and a stylist to restore the natural color because they finally had that “ah-ha!” moment that unicorn hair and a half shaved head does make people look at you differently. It’s also $200/every 2-3 weeks to maintain bright blue or green on dark hair that has been bleached platinum, so it’s pretty expensive to keep it looking fresh, and I don’t think most people realize the cost. It’s not really for everyone. It’s really pretty the first week or two, though.

I think for those who think it’s edgy or stylish, that’s fine. But there’s always that group that is really struggling, and my heart goes out to them. I’m with you, when someone suddenly does it and it’s unusual or abrupt for that individual, it’s more of a trigger that something may be wrong or that person may be struggling. I can’t tell you how many times, even today, that has been the case. It’s sad. So, my first thoughts when I see crazy color that doesn’t really match the person is to think “I hope they aren’t struggling with their identity and I hope they are okay.”

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I did not say they were exclusive.

and it’s your choice to not cover up. I also have a sleeve as well as both legs covered, but I don’t feel it’s appropriate to display them while I’m teaching. Its not the thing about me I want people to remember. I also don’t want melanoma if I can help it and since my sleeve is very black, it gets hot, so theres that as well.