Jog Tips from the Fair Hill Fashion Police

Stilettos — appropriate footwear for a jog or a good way to break an ankle? Photo by Julia Rau.

We’ve arrived at Fair Hill, and all five ponies are settled in and cozy in their stalls.  I, for one, am looking forward to the best part of any CCI event — the jogs! The first jog is this afternoon, and I’ll be bringing you updates after each jog, but first I need to let you in on a little secret (unless we are Facebook friends; then it’s no secret). Although I may be inconspicuously dressed as just a groom in jeans stained with horse saliva; a free sponsor shirt with holes in it; a makeup-free face; and a pony tail that looks like it had an epic battle with a hay bale, bran mash and a herd of rats, don’t be fooled, my friends. Underneath all that is my clean, shiny, sparkly badge — the badge of the Jog Fashion Police.

What? How do you get to be a member of the Jog Fashion Police, you ask? It’s easy! You just need naturally impeccable taste attend a ton of horse shows, watch people make the same fashion mistakes over and over again, grow tired of seeing beautiful horses overshadowed by bad outfits and unanimously vote yourself in as a member. Then your “tastefully” sparkly badge arrives — because you had it custom made on Etsy — and your mission begins. The mission is simple: rid the world of bad jog outfits and help horse girls everywhere look like real girls, even if it’s just down a jog strip for 30 seconds.

Eventers are athletes, with kickin’ bods and an unmatched work ethic. The jog is your chance to not only show off your lovely, fit partner and probable best friend, but also to represent your sport and show respect to the tradition of presenting in hand by complementing the animal. Eventing needs good press, and I have nightmares about jog pics showing up in mainstream media. So use that work ethic that we all have by taking the time to find an appropriate, flattering and seasonal jog outfit. We all make mistakes with fashion once in a while (see my perm in sixth grade for a fabulous example), but for those of you that are repeat offenders, here are the top five questions to ask yourself before you head down that jog strip:

1. Does this outfit fit me and cover all of the body parts that I wouldn’t show to the general public? This one is easy, folks. Look in the mirror. Is it too tight? Too loose? Does it cover the three B’s? Those would be boobs, belly and butt. Would you wear it in front of your grandmother’s bridge club? If the answer to that last one is no, then start over. We want you to be stylish, yet tasteful. The jog is NOT your personal runway, so let’s stick to the more ready-to-wear styles.

2. Are people looking at me or my horse? The answer here should be both. Your horse is of course clean, shiny, braided and exuding athleticism, hopefully in an obedient manner. You should complement your horse. Don’t overpower the look of your horse with anything super “loud.” Leave the chevron-patterned maxi skirt at home, no matter how many times Pinterest tells you it’s OK to wear it. By all means, throw a little pop of color in here or there to show off the coat color of your horse, but, if your horse is chestnut, don’t wear red — ever. See? Easy!

3. If I were to hand someone a bag of peanuts and a tiny soda right now, would they accept it? Listen, I’m all for tailored and conservative, and I am fully aware that a monochromatic color palette is slimming, but if you look like you could be dragging a suitcase down the aisle 0f a plane, just say no. Also, just say no to hats and 99 percent of feathered hair pieces. The 2012 Olympic jog outfits are a shining example of what to say no to.

4. Should I wear this super cute flowing, short, springy, awesome little sundress? NO. Here’s why. First of all, your legs are too pale; they are at least three shades lighter than your arms — admit it. If it looks like your legs could belong to another human other than you, that means no dresses. “But I’ll wear hose!” No. No one wears hose. This isn’t 1998 — throw them away. “But I’ll wear tights!” Maybe. Are they the right color? Dark-colored tights don’t look cute under springy, flowing sundresses, and pink tights don’t belong on a jog strip.

“What about the super cool patterned tights that are everywhere?” Probably not. From you to your full-length mirror, those cute Ikat patterned tights look presh, but from you to the far away cameraman on the jog strip, it looks like you have a skin disease. You have to look OK from far away too. As for flowing and short dresses, this is the worst possible combination. Have you ever seen that iconic photo of Marilyn Monroe in the white dress? Please don’t subject us to that on the jog strip. Running creates wind, which is not a match for flowing, and short makes it even worse. The ground jury doesn’t want to inspect your private parts, and neither do we.

5. Can I run in this? Please, for the sake of puppies and kitties and tiny children everywhere, practice this. I know you can jog your horse up for the vet at home just fine while wearing tennis shoes and breeches, but can you do it in your jog outfit and the shoes your are planning on wearing? Consider the footwear. When you put your outfit together, run a few steps. Yes? Then add the shoes? Yes? I cannot even tell you how many upper-level riders look absolutely uncoordinated while flopping down a jog strip with inappropriate footwear. If you can pick a bit that will stop a horse from pulling you around cross country, then you can pick footwear. Trust me.

Please do not choose shoes that are heavy and/or make sounds like you were perhaps wearing scuba flippers while running. Please do not wear stilettos — ever. In fact, the footing almost never permits wearing tiny, pointy heels of any type, and unless you can run in them as well as a “woman of the night” can run from the police, then don’t try it. Flats are super cute, but make sure they stay on; it’s never fun to have to go back and dig your Tory’s out of the mud.

And now for a quick note on makeup, hair and accessories:

Makeup: Wear some. We know that you are naturally pretty, but please put on some eyeliner and mascara for the jog. Do it for the photos! If you need help with this and eyeliner scares you, just walk around the barn yelling my name. I always have time for eyeliner.

Hair: Tame it. It should not be flowing across your face as you jog or look unbrushed, unkempt, recently helmeted or Rastafarian (unless you actually are). Putting your hair up — or at least half up — is best.

Accessories: We all know scarves are all the rage, but pin them down. You need not look like a masked robber as you jog or spook your horse as said scarf flies off your neck.

When you’ve asked yourself these questions, practiced running, and received approval from your BFF and your grandmother’s bridge club, then by all means, jog away. Just remember, I may look super busy tending to the horses I care for, but my badge is in my bag next to the brushes, towels and hoof polish. Don’t make me use it.

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