Happy Halloween! Around the world there are many different celebrations but for the horse show attendee, it’s either the scariest or the most fun month with costume classes or themed rides! If you’ve always lurched at the thought of dressing yourself and your horse up in public, laugh and enjoy my fun costumes and skip to the bottom… but if you’ve ever wanted to try it, this is for you!
1. Rationalize yourself with the idea that it isn’t that wild. After all, if top riders can have fun with costume classes, why can’t we??
2. Choose your theme well
Let’s face it. If you’re going to take the trouble to dress up, you darn well better earn a ribbon! Think about your assets as well as your audience. Use your horse’s color to your advantage if you’re able, and consider your judge. While you may not know who the judge is the point is to create something they can buy into. If they’re invested in your look then they are invested in your placing. Sure, you can google “horse costumes” and find the same 15 costumes floating around the web but try to be creative!
Left:His name IS Prince Charming so it was only fitting! (My Saint of a 6mo pony foal in costume… and yes, he and his little person won)
3. Get crafting!
This is where many people get intimidated and quit! Make a strategy and in your planning, try to do something within your skill set. Don’t attempt to make an elaborate sewn costume if you can’t sew! Also you know you have a crafty friend somewhere… Even if they aren’t horse people, a crafty friend can help you assemble and see the vision.
Have an OTTB? Way to use that to your advantage! (Jess and Katie as Racehorse and Pony- both OTTB’s)
A few tools for the non-crafty : Heat n’ Bond – This magic stuff uses but an iron, and you have two pieces of fabric glued like they were sewn with no dry time! Save some for your next pair of pants when the hemline goes!
Hot Glue – If you’re non crafty, please don’t burn yourself!
Halloween Hair Spray – This stuff is magic, it will color your horse and wash out, is safe for their skin/hair and is very cheap.
Anything Sticky… Self stick Rhinestones, Self stick foam shapes, all stay on in time.
Thrift Stores – So many inexpensive starter items or accessories.
Left: Our entire costumes made solely out of heat and Bond and safety pins the night before! Ladybug and a stick (Horse is has big green leaves on her) and Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompa (He wore white shorts and we dyed his hair)
My pony had a “Napoleon” suit made entirely of recycled men’s blazers from Goodwill that were reassembled and dyed to make one continuous coat. Then I used some hot glue and added all the trim
4. Get prepared
Get your horse acclimated to the costume at home! Make sure he/she has seen it and worn it before
Pack spare items like safety pins for emergencies
Write a description. Some shows do and some don’t require it but it’s always very professional to have a half page about your costume including what you’re trying to look like and any special notes on making it.
Left: This one I had to repin the pants on fast because of a little warm up arena spook! Also the hat is pinned on to the halter.
Finally for ALL equestrians in October…
Expose your horse. Of all the classes I’ve entered and horses I’ve taken in it’s never their costume which spooks them, it’s the other competitors. Especially that mini dressed like a sheep…