horse show attire

4H Horse Show Attire for the County Fair


It’s almost August and you know what that means– fair season! For many people, going to the county fair means enjoying funnel cakes and carnival rides. But for some young people, fair season means it’s time to show their horses to judges and fairgoers alike. If it’s your first time showing at the county fair, it can feel overwhelming. How do you know what to wear? Whether you’re in 4H or another club, this blog is a great starting point to help you get your bearings ahead of fair season. 

For the Western Rider

western horse show attire

Just like any other venue, there is a dress code that you need to follow when showing at the county fair. Part of the dress code has to do with your safety, while the rest focuses on ensuring you look professional. When you’re showing your horse, you’re not just presenting your horse to the judge, you’re presenting yourself as well. If you show up in dirty jeans and an old t-shirt, you will be selling yourself, your hard work, and your horse short. The right horse show attire can make all the difference.

Western riders should wear a pair of dark-colored jeans or nice slacks. Your jeans should be well-fitted and without holes, rips, or tears. A good example is a pair of  Wrangler Retro Limited Edition Slim Straight Bozeman Jeans. These jeans come in a dark color, which is better to hide stains, and are made of high-quality, thick fabric that can stand up to the wear and tear of working with horses. 

A nice leather belt is a great way to finish off your horse show attire. The  Equine Couture Cacey Leather Belt features quality durable leather that is embroidered with either a crown or a fleur de lis motif. With bright gold hardware, this belt is eye-catching, but subtle enough so as to not detract from the rest of your outfit. 

Next, a button-down or zippered collared shirt is required. Unlike in English disciplines, Western riders can have some fun with bright colors and patterns. Rhinestones and “bling” are very common in horse show attire for the 4H Western ring, for both halter and ridden classes. A fun shirt like the  Panhandle Embroidered Long Sleeve Snap Shirt would be perfect for the fairgrounds. Featuring embroidery on the top of the shirt and accented by a vibrant, patterned cuff, this shirt is sure to turn heads.

We can’t forget footwear! When working with large animals, like cows or horses, it’s important to protect your feet. Footwear should be close-toed and made of strong leather and a good sole. Tennis shoes won’t protect your feet from a stray hoof! Choose a pair of boots like the  TuffRider Rushmore Western Boot. The solid dark brown color will look professional, while the subtle oak leaf design on the upper shaft will add a little extra style. Chaps and spurs are optional during the ridden classes, but are not accepted during the halter and showmanship divisions.

You’ll also be required to wear a Western-style hat with your horse show attire. Be sure to have your hat clean and well-shaped prior to coming to the showgrounds. Underneath your hat, your hair should be worn in a tight low bun that is close to the back of the neck. However, in some classes, like Western pleasure, Western riding, and trail, a low ponytail is also acceptable. Whatever style you choose, your hair should be neat, tidy, and pulled back from your face. 

For the English Rider

horse show attire

Equestrians who are showing in the English disciplines of 4H at the county fair will need to have an entirely different set of horse show attire from Western riders. Unlike Western riders who wear jeans, English competitors will need to wear a set of nice breeches. Traditionally, these breeches have been khaki colored and of a thicker fabric than riding tights. 

Young children will wear jodhpurs, featuring rolled cuffs and knee patches. If you have a young rider in your family, start with a pair of ultra-comfortable, pull-on jodhpurs like the  TuffRider Children’s Starter Low Rise Jodhpurs. If you have an older rider, choose a pair of khaki breeches like the  Equine Couture Champion Knee Patch Breeches instead.  

Your age and what jodhpurs or breeches you choose will have an impact on the boots that you wear. Young children who are in jodhpurs will wear paddock boots and garter straps, like the   TuffRider Children’s Front Zip Paddock Boots. These short paddock boots are rugged and durable, thanks to their synthetic leather material and water-resistant design. Plus, with a contoured fit and punched toe cap, these boots look stylish, too. 

Older riders will wear tall boots with their horse show attire. These riding boots come up to just below the rider’s knee and cover the entire lower leg. Boots like the  TuffRider Starter Field Boots come in synthetic leather for convenient cleaning and added shine. Water resistant and comfortable flex construction combine to create a pair of boots that can withstand whatever the fair grounds will throw at them. 

English riders should wear long sleeve shirts with a wrap-around collar and a show coat. The  Equine Couture Smyrna Show Shirt is an excellent option for a hot day on the fairgrounds, as the printed mesh sleeves will help to keep you cool. 

Your show coat should be in a neutral dark color, like navy or black. It should have a contoured fit and end just below your hips. The  Equine Couture Ladies Oslo Show Coat offers a modern design for the show ring with faux suede accent trim on the collar, cuffs and back waistline. The lightweight stretchable fabric makes this a cool and comfortable choice for a hot summer day at the fair.

The crowning piece of your horse show attire, every rider’s helmet must meet current safety regulations. Solid black helmets are best for formal 4H competition. Choose a helmet with innovations to help you stay cool. For example, the  TuffRider Showtime Plus Helmet comes with a Coolmax liner and subtle ventilation slots for maximum breathability. 

Western and English Horse Show Attire All in One Place

county fair horse show attire

If your child is showing in both English and Western classes at the county fair, it can be difficult to find the right horse show attire in one convenient place. Luckily, offers the best of both worlds– reliable, affordable, and high-quality Western and English horse show attire in one convenient website. 

Don’t wait– make sure your child is ready for their time to shine at the county fair with the right horse show attire. Click here to shop now.

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