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Tate Reynolds

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Turn Out Tips for the First Horse Inspection at Your Next Three-Day

Tate Reynolds was an Advanced rider in the mid-1990s, making it to Rolex twice when it was an Advanced horse trials and CCI3*, as well as training with Kelli Temple and grooming for Carl Bouckaert. He has worked in the fashion industry for the past 15 years, including serving as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren. We're delighted to have him guest blogging for EN this weekend at Fair Hill. Read on for Tate's top tips for turn out.

Lauren Balcomb and Guido Hatzis. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Balcomb was voted Best Dressed Lady thanks to this stylish look. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Congratulations to the winners of the Best Dressed and Fair Hill and to everyone who made it through the first horse inspection on Wednesday. While it’s a great way to kick things off, I also know it can be nerve-racking, and there is nothing better than hearing the words “accepted” after you jog.

Wednesday was a beautiful day and a perfect setting for the first horse inspection here at Fair Hill. I’m sure, as with anything subjective, there are plenty of people out there that might have disagreed with my selections, or felt I left someone off the list that they thought should have been on there.

After grooming at the Olympics and in England, competing at Rolex myself, and working in the fashion industry for the past 15 years, I’d like to offer a few more tips and guidelines for the first horse inspection. In doing so, I hope it helps you understand my picks, as well as gives you some pointers for future jogs.

Even the most seasoned eventers can sometimes use a few styling tips, and for people who have never presented but plan on doing so, I hope this gives you some helpful suggestions to follow.

Randy Ward and Grando. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Randy Ward looked sharp with his tailored suit and pocket square. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Like I said in my post on the Best Dressed list, dressing for the occasion makes all the difference in the world as far as presentation goes. I’m a huge believer in “dressing the part.” Fair Hill is an equestrian sporting event in the countryside, and the horses were presented to the ground jury on a beautiful fall afternoon.

There are so many cues right there that one should pay attention to. You have a great natural color palette to work with in fall colors: brown, taupe, olive, navy, hunter green, orange and purple. Tweeds look great, as do suedes, brown or saddle leather, knits, vests, scarves and jackets.

At the spring three-days, follow the same idea, with bright colors, creams, navy and fun prints. Your outfit doesn’t have to be over the top or cost a ton of money. It just has to look appropriate for the occasion and fit you well. For the ladies, taking a little time to do something different with your hair really makes a big difference.

Leather was a big trend on the jog strip this year, as demonstrated by Marilyn Little and Chris Talley. Photos by Jenni Autry.

Leather was a big trend on the jog strip this year, as demonstrated by Marilyn Little and Chris Talley, who EN readers nominated for Best Dressed Man. Photos by Jenni Autry.

As Jenni mentioned in her opening post about the jog, black leather was a big trend. That begs the question: Does black leather fit the occasion here? I really commend being fashion-forward. At the same time, keep in mind whether leather is something you would typically wear to a sporting event in the country.

One conundrum I find on the jog strip is when ladies or men wear black or dark grey suits. You are’t interviewing for a job; you’re presenting your horse. If you’re most comfortable in jeans, I get it, but make sure you wear good fitting, dark denim jeans. Ladies can pair it with tall brown boots or flats, a colorful blouse or scarf, and a fitted jacket. Men can also pull this off with a crisp shirt, a nice blazer and brown leather or suede shoes.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo by Jenni  Autry.

Ariel Grald demonstrates that a bold print goes a long way. Photo by Jenni Autry.

I saw some colorful pants on the jog strip, and they are also a nice way to give a pop to a conservative look. Just make sure they are fitted well. The pop of color will really draw your eye to the pants, which makes a good fit all the more important. You also can’t go wrong with a cute dress, a good print, a fitted skirt or a colorful scarf. Try to work within the setting and season for color, style and sensibility.

For the guys, I know there is some debate about wearing a tie or not. I personally think it looks nice to wear a tie, and it’s a good way to get a little color into your outfit. However, I also think a good shirt that is open works, too. Just make sure the shirt is a button-down collar and not a spread collar.

Woods Baughman and Montesquieu. Photo by Jenni Autry.

A pocket square really helped Woods Baughman pull his look together. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Gentleman, try wearing a pocket square. It’s an easy way to make a very classic combination of khakis and a navy blazer look really stylish. The fall is also a perfect time to bust out your tweed sport coat, corduroy blazer or suede jacket. I tend to prefer a sport coat over a suit, as I think it looks more sporty and appropriate; but if the right suit is worn, it can definitely look sharp.

For both men and women, on a sunny day like Wednesday, throw on a pair of sunglasses. It can make anyone look one notch better, and you won’t be squinting in the pictures.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark's Monte Carlo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Kieffer looked fierce in her signature sunglasses. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Once you get yourself pulled together and turned out to the nines, you have to make sure your equine partner is looking just as good. Grooms are the unsung heroes of the horse world, but for those that don’t have a groom and are turning their horses out themselves, here are a few tips to make sure they look their best:

  1. Put a tail wrap on before the jog. A well pulled tail that is banged is the best look for an event horse.
  2. When it comes to the bridle, the most appropriate way of presenting your horse is in a plain noseband without a flash. That looks the best. Refrain from using a figure-eight noseband or a white-padded dressage noseband.
  3. Polish your browband if it’s brass or silver.
  4. Give the horse a little swipe of baby oil on the muzzle, face and ears.
  5. Give the horse a last minute hoof dressing application.
  6. Put quarter marks on the hindquarters before you leave the stable. If you don’t know how, just ask a professional groom. I’m sure they’d be happy to show you.

The horse inspections should not be a big stress for you. There are more important things for you to worry about over the weekend. It does, however, take a little thought and effort to find a good outfit, and it takes a little planning and extra packing for both you and your horse.

But it’s an opportunity for you to show off all of your hard work in getting there. It let’s people take notice of you and your horse before you start the competition. So take the extra time to pull yourself and your horse together. It will be well worth it!

Best of luck to all the riders here at Fair Hill. Now that the first horse inspection is behind you, it’s really time for the competition to begin. See you next time on the jog strip.

Who Were the Best Dressed Ladies and Men at Fair Hill?

Tate Reynolds was an Advanced rider in the mid-1990s, making it to Rolex twice when it was an Advanced horse trials and CCI3*, as well as training with Kelli Temple and grooming for Carl Bouckaert. He has worked in the fashion industry for the past 15 years, including serving as a fashion designer for Ralph Lauren. We're delighted to have him guest blogging for EN this weekend at Fair Hill. Read on for Tate's Best Dressed picks and to vote for the winners!

Who will take the coveted Fair Hill Best Dressed title? Photos by Jenni Autry.

Who will take the coveted Fair Hill Best Dressed title? Photos by Jenni Autry.

It was a beautiful day here in the Maryland countryside and the setting was perfect for the first horse inspection at Fair Hill. Overall I thought the guys really turned it out today. I actually thought they looked better than the ladies. I know people might say it’s easier for men, but it’s all about pulling everything together, getting the right fit and dressing appropriate for the occasion.

Let’s remember, this is an equestrian sporting event, in the countryside, in October. I am surprised at how many people do not dress for the occasion or the setting. But all in all, it was beautiful day and a great start to the country’s premier fall three-day event.

So without further ado, here are my top picks for the ladies and the men in today’s first horse inspection. Vote for your favorite in each poll. The winners will each receive a $100 gift card courtesy of SmartPak.

THE LADIES

Lauren Balcomb and Guido Hatzis. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Balcomb and Guido Hatzis. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Balcomb: Lauren was about as put together as can you get. She looked polished and tidy, well accessorized, and was really feeling good out there on the jog.

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jennie Brannigan and Stella Artois. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jennie Brannigan: Jennie was giving it her sporty look today and it worked. Her scotty dog print appealed to all the dog lovers and her boots, hair and styling was all pulled together.

Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jenny Caras and Fernhill Fortitude. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Jenny Caras: Jenny looked fit and ready to go this weekend sporting a great printed dress. It fit well and really made a statement on the jog strip.

Holly Payne Caravella and Bruisyard Hall. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Holly Payne Caravella and Bruisyard Hall. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Holly Payne Caravella: I loved the polka dot top. While it’s a little late in the season for white jeans, we’ll let you slide, Holly, because you pulled it all together and looked great.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo by Jenni  Autry.

Ariel Grald and Leamore Master Plan. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ariel Grald: Best print we saw all day. When a print is good, it’s good, and the autumnal colors were perfect today.

Lillian Heard and Arundel. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lillian Heard and Arundel. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lillian Heard: I loved Lillian’s whole look. The color-blocked dress and jacket looked great together, and her side braid was a fresh welcome. Katniss has nothing on you, Lillian.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark's Monte Carlo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Kieffer and Landmark’s Monte Carlo. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lauren Kieffer: Lauren was rocking her shades and looking as cool as she does cantering down the centerline. The teal jacket really popped against her grey horses and the boots were on point.

Erin Sylvester and Mettraise. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Erin Sylvester and Mettraise. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Erin Sylvester: Erin did a great job of sporting a black and white dress but paired it with brown tall boots. This really made it that much more appropriate for the day. Also her hair was styled and put up, which looked great. Take note of that, ladies.

THE MEN

Woods Baughman and Montesquieu. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Woods Baughman and Montesquieu. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Woods Baughman: Woods went with a well executed classic look today. His red gingham shirt was a great addition and Woods, I applaud you for wearing a pocket square! It really set you apart out there.

Will Coleman and Soupcon de Brunet. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Coleman and Soupcon de Brunet. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Coleman: Will’s look was classic: navy blazer, khakis and a crisp white shirt. And I particularly liked that he added his sunglasses for the three-star jog.

Cary Chavis and Game On. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Cary Chavis and Game On. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Cary Chavis: Cary looked great in his suit. The tonality of everything really worked in his favor. His suit even matched his hair!

Buck Davidson and Park Trader. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson and Park Trader. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Buck Davidson: I think this was the best Buck has looked. Fatherhood is suiting you! Buck traded in his usual suit for a tweed jacket, and it was perfect for today. Thank you for wearing tweed, Buck!

Will Faudree and Hans Dampf. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Faudree and Hans Dampf. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Will Faudree: Will is one that always brings it for the first horse inspection and today was a really good look. Typically a khaki suit is worn more in the spring, but his brown vest and tie choice make this a perfect look for a beautiful fall day.

Dom Schramm and Bolytair  B. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dom Schramm and Bolytair B. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Dom Schramm: Dom looked very cool out there today. Again, the shades were a great addition to a very well put together outfit.

Randy Ward and Grando. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Randy Ward and Grando. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Randy Ward: Let’s just say Randy has this down. His suit is fitted to a T and he has the best accessory out there: a million dollar smile.

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ryan Wood and Powell. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Ryan Wood: Ryan dressed the part today, and I loved the driving cap.

I definitely saw some looks today that probably would have been better suited for another occasion, and some that could have used a little more polish. But I get it, most of you spend every waking second in the barn and are much more comfortable in muck boots and jeans.

However, its really not that hard to look pulled together out there, and it doesn’t take a lot of money either. I’ll be following up later with some dos and don’ts for the first horse horse inspection, and some tips of how you and your horse can wow the judges and more importantly the fashion critics out there.

You’ve worked this hard to get this point, so let the efforts and pride shine as you get ready to start your three-day.

Until next time …