What Hat Crease?

So I’ve recently had the opportunity to do some Ranch classes and I love them! Love and knowledge not being the same thing, I’ve come here for a bit of advice on my apparel.

Up until now, I’ve been wearing a helmet in these classes (and honestly will likely continue to for the most part), but I do have a hat from awhile ago. I’d like to get it perked up with a cleaning and shaping, but don’t know what to do for the crease. What would work well for doing both Ranch and Horsemanship? Purchasing a separate, more “ranchy” hat would be great, but one will have to pull double (occasional) duty for now.

ETA: I’m riding AQHA or other stock type horses.

Thanks for the advice!

Talk to the person doing the creasing, look at the AQHA Journal for Ranch class winners, see what crease they have. Most good hat creasers “know their styles” for the various disciplines. The Barrel ladies creases are not what Pleasure ladies wear. Same with the Rodeo folks and their current preferred creases.

I just got an older hat restyled to look like Harrison Ford’s hat in 1923. They had to look it up in their book of Stetson styles. Pretty retro but kind of cool too! I don’t wear it riding (always wear a helmet), but I get nice comments on the hat at horse folk gatherings! Ha ha

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Look at Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, shortyshattery.com (I think!) and it will give you lots of info. They are vendors at major shows. I believe what you want is called the Quarter horse crease… but double check. As a side note, I had a nice Stetson that needed shaping before a local circuit show, so I took it to Boot Barn. They had someone who shaped hats. Allegedly. I even showed AQHA pics to the guy, and texted with my trainer. Honest to God, it still ended up shaped like a pirate hat!


Why don’t you wear your helmet? I do. Wear it and wear it proud if you so please.

I’ve never noticed that it’s hurt any of my placings.

My horse and I won quite a few ranch classes at an AQHA show last year, about 20 entries in a class, so decent sized. And placed well in others. If we didn’t place well, it’s because we made a mistake - not my headgear.

And you know, wearing a helmet COULD be an advantage if no one else is wearing one. People always talk about wanting to stand out so the judge notices you. Being the only one wearing a helmet will sure get you noticed. Just a thought!!!


A book of styles sounds incredibly helpful! I’ll have to, as you advised, find some pictures of styles I like. I assumed that one of the higher end places (like the ones that have booths at Congress, etc) would be able to tell me the type of crease that is popular, but I only have access to some local places that offer cleaning and shaping and worry that they won’t necessarily be familiar with horse showing trends.

Thanks for chiming in!

:grimacing: Sorry about your experience with Boot Barn. That’s just the scenario I’m afraid of happening! Ugh. I would have thought Boot Barn would be better equipped for that - or else not offered the service at all.

I’ve looked at the pictures on Shorty’s site and it has been helpful! Why didn’t I think to do that before? haha

Beau, you’re totally right! Thus far, I have been wearing my helmet proudly (and have been the only one each time). I guess I like the feeling of being prepared, just in case, and I would like to venture back into some Showmanship classes this summer, so I’ll at least be wearing a hat for that.

Congratulations on your incredibly successful outings! I agree that it’s my performance, not my helmet, that affect my placings. I’m certainly deep into the “mistakes” level of this whole adventure :slight_smile: , so I personally know for sure it hasn’t been my helmet’s fault.

Thanks for the encouragement and camraderie! What a beautiful horse and lovely attire - great picture.


I need to double check the rule book, but I am pretty sure you can wear your helmet for showmanship too. (Again, the judge WILL remember you!!) My cousin, years ago, used to wear her ENGLISH CLOTHES to show showmanship at AQHA shows and if you want to talk about getting the judges attention, that does it! And she won lots, and lots of classes. I don’t know what the rules stated then, as this was like 20 years ago, but that’s sure a bold move (but my cousin is quite bold, LOL).

But with that said, I do usually wear a hat when I do showmanship, usually at the local shows. My hat is more shaped for a rodeo hat I suppose (certainly not the showing taco shape) but we do not have anyone in the area that can shape hats, so I just leave it alone and figure “whatever”, because I’d rather not have the people at Boot Barn mess it up (yes, we have bad people in our area too, LOL like @Paint_Party experience! )

I don’t normally do showmanship at the AQHA shows but I am going to do it in a show in June. They are doing some great all-around prizes including a saddle, and I feel my horse has a really good shot. So we’ll be doing Hunter Under Saddle (he won’t place, but that’s okay), Hunt Seat Equitation (we’ve got a shot at placing - he has before and has won two AQHA classes before), Showmanship, Barrels, Poles, (he’s actually a barrel horse by his first trade, so we’ll rock it there) and then the last set of classes is either or: Western Pleasure or Ranch Horse Rail, Horsemanship or Ranch Horse Riding, and Trail or Ranch Horse Trail. So I’m really looking forward to that show because the way they have it set up, for a change, we’ve got a shot and it’s not just geared toward the big WP people like the all-around usually is. So we’ll see how it goes! And bonus that the show is right in my backyard so I can just haul in and out each day and sleep in my own bed.


That is a beautiful photo! Definitely a keeper to put up someplace special.


I like a cattleman’s crown, 4 1/4” brim in a relaxed taco.
Brim shape is going to depend on your facial structure and of course preference.
You want the width of the crease to match the width of your face. If it’s too wide, it’ll look like an umbrella on you, too narrow and it will make your face look wider than it is.


Incredibly useful information, thank you so much! I’ve read about how important it is for the crease to “fit your face,” but didn’t exactly know what that meant so your description really helps.

Hats are the cherry on an ice cream sundae (you!) and mean a lot to the western folks. Kind of like the $1200 hunter bridle I just saw mentioned in another thread… it’s a prestige thing.

A cattlemen’s crease (kind of basic, symmetrical, like a great little black dress) is always in style, with a 4 1/2"- 5" or so brim for ladies shaped semi-taco-ish these days is a good starting point.

I would suggest that you avoid Boot Barn and their ilk for shaping and take your hat (or buy one) at the larger AQHA/APHA shows from a hat vendor there. The folks in western stores generally cater to dancers or ranchers whereas the hat vendors at shows are in the know for that specific group: show riders. Most of the larger shows will have a hatter there who can advise you.

Be sure to invest in a good hat can and adjust it properly to keep your hat looking good. No part of the hat brim should touch the can (or box if that’s what you’ve got) except right around the crown where it fits into or over a ring kind of shaped like your head. Don’t store your hats in the horse trailer, bring them in the house- they can get too hot and humid in the trailer and heat warp to look like tortilla chips.

Have your show hat shaper educate you about what they are doing, and memorize how the hat looks when it’s freshly-shaped. It may need a tuneup a couple times a year, especially if it’s not a very high quality felt that won’t hold a shape so well. Felt hats are rated by X’s but any manufacturer can claim any quality of X’s… a 10X in one brand may be equivalent to a 5X in another brand. There are no real felt hat quality standards but generally more money is required for a fur felt hat, made from things like beaver, chinchilla etc fibers rather than wool. Wool fibers don’t felt together as tight as fur felt fibers so wool hats often get droopy fast and have a rougher surface.

There are major supply chain issues with hat bodies (the unshaped felt cones that get turned into hats) as well as the very skilled labor needed to craft a fine hat these days, so if you are buying a new hat, expect sticker shock. A nice 15-20X hat in most brands is going to be something like a $500-$800 purchase. But like other quality horse gear, you generally get what you pay for and better equipment should give years of service.

A note about buying western felts online: just because you buy a good hat from a reputable seller is no guarantee that is will arrive looking good after a cross-country trip knocked around in a box. Plan to have it checked out by that great hatter you see at shows, or save yourself a lot of freight cost and buy from them in person. Shipping a hat has become crazy expensive (it’s basically shipping a box of air with a fragile thing suspended in the middle of it) and even the finest hats sometimes get very abused in shipping.

Or… just wear your helmet and show off your horse and your own skills with your head well-protected! It’s becoming much more common the see safety gear in western events.

Good luck and have fun!

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How many times I had to read the link to get Shorty’s Hattery instead of Shorty Shattery is embarrassing.

I’ll go crawl in my hole now.

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Oh, there are quite a few colorful incarnations of that name! :laughing:

I paid about $700 for my hat. (Don’t ever let my husband read this). And the supply chain issue is a real problem. My friend’s hat is on back order. She’s already waited over 3 months. So guess what? She’s been borrowing my Boot Barn pirate hat… But she did get it professionally reshaped at a big AQHA show, thank God!

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Gosh…I remember when we used to buy hats that complimented the shape of our face. I looked ridiculous in a high crown or a wide brim. Now everyone’s hat is exactly the same crown shape and blocked the same with the flat front. Some women with small heads and delicate faces look absolutely ridiculous in a hat shaped with today “style.”

If you want to be in the style crowd, take a peek at various Facebook pages for the AQHA, APHA, NRHA, or various other western discipline-type pages. You can get a very good idea what’s “in” the show pen today. If you’re lucky, the current style will compliment your face.

I don’t find that at all.
I see a lot of different crowns and creases. Nothing drastic but I find most of the hats I see people wear compliment their faces.
A good hat shaper will take into account your face when shaping and you’re certainly not getting docked for going with a crease that’s complimentary to your face.
I would rather see a very different style or shape than a hat that’s dirty or very poorly shaped.

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