When you’re in the show ring, judges are evaluating more than the performance of you and your horse. They’re also grading your appearance, so it’s important to stock up on a wide variety of stylish horse riding gear so you can score in the style stakes. Equestrian belts are arguably the most important of all horse riding accessories and should be given some thought whenever you’re deciding on which equestrian show clothing to wear in the ring.
There are equestrian belts for all tastes and preferences. In lower-tier competitions, attention-catching “bling” belts are very popular and are often used to jazz up otherwise drab and dull equestrian show clothing. Rhinestone belts, for example, see widespread use in low-level competition. The rule of thumb when selecting glitzy rhinestone belts is to wear a matching browband. It simply won’t do to pair pink rhinestone belts with green browbands – it makes your outfit look sloppy and poorly-thought out. If you are intent on wearing rhinestone belts, make sure your browband is equally elaborate. In higher-tier competitions, simpler equestrian belts are favored in the show ring. This is because ornate rhinestone belts are seen as drawing attention away from the horse and towards the rider, distracting from the horse’s performance. Plainer equestrian belts consisting of a simple brown or black leather strap are commonly seen. The cardinal rule of equestrian show clothing, “always match leather with leather”, applies here. Make sure that your belt matches your saddle.
The thickness of your belt can make a big difference to your overall turnout. Riders with a short and stout physique should opt for skinny equestrian belts as these have an overall slimming effect on the waist and make the wearer look taller. They can be buckled over other types of equestrian show clothing such as a riding coat for maximum effectiveness. Thick equestrian belts with large buckles, on the other hand, should only be used by slimmer riders as they call attention to the abdominal area and may inadvertently highlight stomach flab. They should always be worn with front zip breeches which may be commonly found at most horse riding gear stores. Equestrian belts are some of the most elegant and interesting pieces of horse riding gear around, so make sure you have a few different belts in your wardrobe to spice up your equestrian show clothing!