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If you love the trot up phase of the big events as much as we do, then this blog is for you! Written with Burghley Horse Trials in mind, our brand ambassador Harriet Edwards gives some top tips on what to wear…
Trot up Style
Trot up style has really become a focus for international horse trials over recent years. It’s the biggest catwalk (or should I say horse-walk!) of the year for the equestrian and more specifically, the eventing industry, It’s a chance to show off not only your horse but also the rider styled to perfection which is a welcome change to muddy boots, pockets stuffed with half empty polo packets, tissues, string and maybe the odd hoof-pick and of course messy/straw-strewn hair which seem to dominate any horse riders wardrobe for the majority of the year. So there’s a lot of pressure on riders to look their best during the first 4* horse inspection. The equestrian press are armed with cameras, iPhones and reporting duties, adorning the trot up line like the front row press at London Fashion Week. It’s also a chance for equestrian and country outfitters to showcase new season offerings and entice any spectators wanting to look like their idols to the stands during the course of the show. Spectators and press are looking for for fashion inspiration and new trend spotting from their idols and with prizes on offer for the best dressed riders, there’s definite competition to look the best!
Style over substance?
Let’s get it straight, although the trot-up provides an opportunity for riders to showcase their individual styles and personality and offers the chance to inspire country fashion for the season to come, that is not the primary focus. Getting your horse safely through the trot up and passed fit to compete is the main goal. What’s the point in looking great but not being able to compete because your horse isn’t deemed fit? So this should always form the centre of any outfit choices.
Once thought as frumpy, dowdy and practical, country style has been flung to the forefront of mainstream fashion trends recently thanks to adoption by high street brands and endorsement from well-known personalities and celebrities all shedding light onto country fashion. So, brands are working harder than ever to showcase their country collections and prove they are at the country brand to be seen in. No longer does practical have to mean unfashionable or unflattering – hallelujah!
With more to choose from than the few brands that have almost become a uniform for most eventers over the years, this year’s Burghley Horse Trials trot-up is set to be bigger, better and more stylish than ever! So I’m sharing my top picks and tips to nail trot up style…
Well not quite but high heels are frowned upon. Give a girl (or guy) the right shoes and she (or indeed he) can conquer the world, right? Thankfully trot-up styling is marked partially due to practicality and quite rightly so. There is absolutely no point in picking something that hinders your safety or (perhaps more importantly!), your horses safety – there’s nothing stylish about that! Imagine getting all the way to Burghley, only to roll your ankle because your 4* event horse wasn’t plodding along the track waiting for you to keep up in your skyscraper heels. it may land you in the press but definitely for the wrong reasons! So three top tips for shoes – they must be comfortable (but that’s not stylish I hear you cry! Wait until you see what I have picked), they must fit well so you are capable of running and they must not stop your ability to run. My advice would be to wear fully covered shoes or even better, boots to keep your feet safe.
Layering is Key
Dress for the weather, which is unpredictable at best during Burghley week! Layers are always a good option and mean your outfit can stay relatively unchanged despite the ever changing forecast. A smart shirt underneath a stylish, standout jacket means you can accommodate all possible weather situations and still look great.
Add some accessories
I like to pair traditional country classics and throw in some more fashionable/on-trend pieces to give a modern and stylish twist to country style. To achieve this look, accessories are your best friend. They also offer the chance to inject some personality into your outfit.
Layer up some bangles, add a few rings to all fingers or throw in a waist belt to really highlight your outfit. Someone famously said that accessories are fashion’s exclamation mark (or something like that!) and I couldn’t agree more. The difference between a good outfit and a great outfit is the way you accessorise. I would add a cautionary note here though, make sure your accessories don’t hinder your performance. A key example here is a scarf, which has the ability to flap around and spook your horse if indeed it is of that nature. Scarves are not off limits of course, but make sure you’ve nailed them down (the Mackenzie & George tie ring is a perfect way to do this) or tucked them in – a silk scarf complete with country/equestrian print looks fab when tied as though it was a tie or cravat – think edgy competition cravat.
Stand out from the crowd
I mentioned it earlier. There is a few well-known, go-to outfits that have become synonymous with trot-up style over recent years. Although the white jeans, long boots and well-known tweed blazers and capes are fail safe options which we all know and love, they’re unlikely to win you points, particularly when there’s so much more to choose from these days. Go for something that is a little different and that shows your personality, not what you think people want to see. Bright colours look great, but not on everyone so if you fall into this category maybe opt for the accessory option or add a pop of colour to a plain jacket/hat by adding a feather pin. Or how about a tweed suit with a standout shirt? Classy, elegant and country meets style.
And last but not least…
I’ve said it so many times before but My other piece of advice, is to wear something you feel comfortable and confident in, you need to focus on your horse passing the inspection otherwise it’s a very long journey home! So all your energy needs to be there, rather than you feeling insecure or worried that you look rubbish (which you won’t by the way – but there’s no worse a feeling). Enjoy it above all because smiles are your best accessory and most likely to win you points!
Harriet will also be judging our #hihostylespotter competition at this year’s Burghley! Find out more about it here… https://www.hihosilver.co.uk/blog/could-you-win-our-hihostylespotter-crown-n57