Who’s been enjoying this lovely sunny weather? We certainly have.
Yesterday the girls at the yard rode in their vest tops, whilst couple rolled up their jodhpurs or put on shorts, and I worked on my farmers tan.
I usually wear polo shirts because I think they tend to be the most practical and smart, and as soon as the sun comes out my arms brown like a banana in the window. But my shoulders stay paper white!
Anyway, the conversation in the barn moved on to what is okay and not okay to wear around horses.
Let’s begin at the bottom. Last year I heard so many stories of injuries caused by people wearing flip flops around their horse. That’s just stupid! You’re in danger of tripping over without factoring a clumsy footed horse into the occasion! So footwear should always cover your foot. Some people wear jodhpurs boots alone, which is fine, but not the most comfortable all day. In wellies or long boots your feet and legs slowly cook. My answer is those yard boots, which look like walking boots and lace up. Unfortunately the tack shops charge an arm and a leg for such boots, so I go to the local sports shop and buy walking boots, comfortable, they last well, easy to change for jodhpur boots, cover your foot, and you can have high tops, which support your ankle. For the weak ankled among us. I do admit that I will pop up in my trainers when I’m just doing my horses, but they are tough trainers, as opposed to the fashion trainers. If I was looking after an unknown horse I’d make sure I opted for the hot, sweaty, but fully protected option!
Moving up your legs. Who wears shorts around the yard in summer? The biggest problem if you don’t, is finding enough daylight hours to stop your legs looking like they’ve spent their entire life in Alaska. And as a professional, when can or can’t you wear shorts? I think if you’re working on a private yard and your employer is happy, then shorts are fine, as surely it’s better you are comfortable and can do your job, than are lethargic and suffering from heat exhaustion? If I’m teaching regular clients I often wear shorts, but if I were to teach at a riding school, pony club, or new client then I would most definitely have jodhpurs and boots on. So that I look professional. I think it’s important though, to make sure your shorts are sensible, and not too short that you may a client feel uncomfortable.
You can buy summer jodhpurs and winter jodhpurs, but I’m never organised enough to remember which ones are which, so just have regular pairs.
Next it’s the tshirts. As I said before, I mostly wear polo shirts, but they lead to the dreaded tan lines. At my old yard we had a uniform so used to rolls our sleeves up to reduce the contrast. It never worked.
But I’ve found an alternative! Sleeveless polo shirts! They still look professional and smart, and are surprisingly cool, compared to usual polo shirts. I tend to think that vest tops in a public environment, such as a riding school, can make clients feel uncomfortable and it isn’t always the best when running with the kids pony or riding.
I’m sure you get my drift! Personally, I feel much more confident in the sleeveless polo shirts.
I think the horse owner can wear whatever they want, but they should remember to be safe and sensible in their outfits, but professionals need to find that balance between being safe, setting a good example, and being comfortable so they can do their job to the best of their ability.
There are other summer time problems that you come across. Most recently, I am struggling to find a pocket. One pair of jodhpurs has a large hole in the pocket which results in my phone sliding down to my kneecap. Another has silly little fashion pockets which don’t hold anything! So where on earth do I put my phone and keys? Now I don’t have a coat or gillet, I’m pocketless.
I’m currently looking online for phone holsters. Together with some decent sunglasses and a cap so I don’t have to squint across the arena to watch a client. Oh and I’d better buy some sun cream too.