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Horse Show Spectators

How to Watch Dressage and Show Jumping

Horse Shows 101 | Dressage 101

horse jumpingHorse show spectators in Florida enjoy a particular treat during the winter horse show season when the show circuit is full, the best horses and riders are competing, and the weather embraces everyone with kindness.

What to Wear

What to wear to a horse show, well, depends on nighttime or daytime and what type of show. Sunday afternoon polo in Wellington attracts big hats, big sunglasses and small sundresses.

Show jumping on Saturday night usually means combining the event with dinner somewhere and therefore is a little dressier.

Whatever you wear, the best way to watch a horse show is to understand the background of the show. History of show jumping.

Horse Show Spectator Hats

Horse races have long been known not only for the races themselves, but also for the extravagant headwear that is often required at the events. While elegant and adorned hats are often known as quintessentially British accessories, the pageantry associated with the Kentucky Derby and the Devon Horse Show, has inspired this tradition in less likely places around the world. The smart dress and hat traditions at horse races have become staple components of the event. Even for those who know nothing about the sport, the elaborate hats are often a topic of common knowledge amongst the public.

The history of horse show hats dates back to the late 17th century when jockey's caps were first introduced. These caps were generally made of velvet with a peak or visor and a hatband fastened at the front with a buckle. However, it was not until much later that horse show hats became an iconic symbol of affluence and high society. Wearing extravagant hats to exclusive events such as weddings, balls, and horse races became a way for wealthy women to set themselves apart from the common folk. As the tradition became more ensconced over time, hats became an essential component of horse racing events.

The Royal Ascot is one such event that counts on the presence of numerous royals, as well as other elite appearances. It has an extremely strict dress code, and it’s no different when it comes to headwear. Men are always required to wear gray or black top hats, with a few exceptions such as when dining at a restaurant, for example. Women’s hats must have a minimum base of 10 cm, meaning fascinators – quite popular choices for other horse races in the United Kingdom – are not an option.

The Kentucky Derby is another event where hats play an important role. The long-established fashion was started with Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr.'s vision for the Derby as an event that the high-class would attend, similar to European-style racing events, which mandated full morning dress for men and women.

Florida Horse Show Spectator Hats

More practical hats for Florida horse shows provide both style and protection from the sun. For western horse shows, rodeos, and barrel racing cowgirl hats are the favorite. Sunday afternoon polo matches or horse races are an opportunity to show a little flair with fancy hats. And, at a dressage or stadium jumping shows, wide brim hats in all styles may be seen.

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