The nights are finally drawing out, the weather is staying mild and it almost feels like spring is just around the corner! Event riders are starting road work to get their horses fit for the early events in March and the fashion conscious are wondering what cross country colours to choose for this season.
Unlike racing silks which are registered to an individual owner or stable, cross country riders can pick whatever combination or design they like and change it every year if they want to. There are a few rules to remember; you must wear protective headgear with a cover, either black or brown boots or short boots with matching leather gaiters (not half chaps), a body protector and white, buff or fawn breeches.
If you’re a fan of a particular well-known and successful rider, why not choose colours similar to theirs to give you inspiration or you might like to design your own. There are quite a few companies out there on the web who will make up a set of bespoke colours to your own design and you then have the assurance that you won’t see anyone else wearing the same!
You could really go wild and choose shades that clash or be a little less bold and select colours that blend; the sky’s the limit. Some riders go the whole hog and deck their horses out in complimentary accessories; saddle cloths, browbands and even boots and bit rubbers are available in matching shades.
Where to start
Bizarre though it sounds, a paint chart from your local DIY store is a good place to get inspiration for your new colours. You could have a look online too and perhaps practice placing squares of potential colour choices next to each other to see what works and what doesn’t.
Colours to suit your horse
If you’re still not sure where to start, look at the colour of your horse and go from there.
· Brown and bay horses suit strong colours like burgundy and navy blue. A combo of these might look good.
· Chestnut, liver chestnut and sorrel shades look great with complementary shades of teal and cream which really bring out the orangey shades.
· Grey coats work well with pinks and purples.
· Black horses look best with really vibrant colours as a contrast. Crimson or orange work well, as does a really bright green.
· Dun, palomino or cremello tones work really well with cream and racing green.
You could start by choosing a really good base colour which goes well with your horse’s coat then pick a contrasting shade and use this for the design; stars, cross-belts, epaulets, diamonds, spots or whatever you prefer. The possibilities are only limited by your own imagination!