It’s a Look: Sexy in the Saddle

It’s a look: California farrier Raleigh Desiato, originally uploaded by wAnguskirk.

How sexy is your farrier? California farrier Raleigh Desiato had her picture taken a lot during a grueling class in horsehoe making at the Royal Berkshire Show in England, and here’s the big news: She won!

If you are not in the farrier world: this is equivalent to a US dressage rider winning a class in Germany. Against Germans. Male British farriers dominate farrier competitions.

Raleigh was probably photographed as much for her absolutely-American fashion sense as for her shoeing ability. The photographer who took the shots had no idea who she was or that she even had a chance to win, he just liked her “look”.

Meanwhile, in Birmingham, England, the Horse of the Year Show was rocked by the addition of controversial bad-girl celebrity Katie Price in the dressage masterclass event. Katie turned the normally-staid show on its ear by glamming up the traditional shadbelly coat (including not wearing a white shirt underneath, she opted for a sequined camisole) with glitter, bling, and flash trim. Everywhere.

Katie, whose professional name is just “Jordan”, seems to be better known by men then women for some reason. I suspect she might be the British equivalent of a publicity-prone icon like Paris Hilton. She launched a new line of equestrian-wear this fall, presumably for (some) young-thinking female riders and primarily in hot pink. Think: Victoria’s Secret in the saddle.

(Photo of Katie Price courtesy of Candy Kirby/Flickr. If you double-click on it you may be able to see the bling trim.)Despite her risque outfits, or perhaps because of them, Katie has been hired as spokesperson for a new campaign called HOOF designed to encourage urban approval of and interest in horse sports in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics, which will be held at the very urban Greenwich Park. Katie has made no secret that she would like to ride in the World Cup of dressage in Las Vegas next year and has eye on the Olympic team for Great Britain in 2012. Her fashion sense certainly fits with the Vegas style.

Katie’s presence at the horse show brought more publicity to the show than a whole planeload of royals could. Click here to watch a BBC News report on Katie at the Burghley Horse Trials.

Below you will see the tamest photo of Katie Price that I could find. Notice that even the horse’s hooves are pink. I thought the contrast between the fashions of Raleigh and Katie at the two equestrian events was remarkable.

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we have a fashion style in the equestrian world, from Wrangler butts in the western world to wearing argyle knee socks and Dansko clogs with saggy-seated breeches in the barn on the English side (guilty as charged). And then there’s Equifit’s new Tretorn high-fashion riding boots from the grand prix circuit (available in red!) and Dubarry’s Irish horizontal striped boots.

Let’s not forget polo’s sidelines cleavage and Mary Lou Whitney’s high couture in the winner’s circle of Thoroughbred racing, not to mention the incredible high-style tatoos and black fringed leather of the exercise riders at Saratoga on those warm summer mornings. If I was a fashion photographer, I’d do a shoot of those riders, men and women both. That’s quite a look. And the eclectic mix of high-brow and high-fashion outfits sported by eventers when they trot up their horses for the inspection. Endurance, of course, has a high-performance fabric look completely of its own; I credit them with loosening up the fashion sense of the horse world.

With the notable exception of icons like Ms. Whitney and Dubai’s Princess Haya, women who work with horses break all the fashion rules…and love every minute of creating a look that will tell you immediately what sort of horse they ride when you see them at the supermarket! Although I’m not sure what I would think if I saw someone dressed this way in the express line…

Who’s on your best-dressed list? What’s your favorite fashion look in the horse world?

British model Katie Price has launched a clothing line for riders in hot pink. She is the poster girl for British equestrianism in the preparation for the 2012 Olympics in London. Yes, the hooves are pink, too.




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