Being A Female Competitor
I ride and show cutting horses. Cutting horses are some of the most agile and intense horses on earth. If you aren’t totally familiar with Cutting - the objective of my sport is to defensively keep a single cow away from a herd for two minutes and thirty seconds. The goal is to “cut” three separate cows from a herd and exhibit your horses talent, style and courage. If you’ve ever been to a cutting horse show you will likely first notice there are two pens, in one - “the show pen” - there will be five riders in total. Two, “The Turnback Help” will be turning the cow back towards the competitor showing his or her horse. The other two will be in the corner, “The Herd Help”, holding the herd for the competitor. Then there will be the second pen - “the loping pen” - where you will see many, many horses walking, trotting and loping big circles around each other. Most of the time, the riders on these horses are what we call “lopers” - people who generally work for trainers getting horses ready to show for their bosses, or their non-pro riders/owners. Although each horse is different, as a general rule of thumb, it takes quite a bit of riding-time to have a cutting horse ready to walk to the pen so lopers spend a lot of time in the saddle. For me, I am a loper for a cutting horse trainer, and I also competitively show my own horse, so I’m pretty lucky as I get to see both sides of the show pen and the loping pen.
So here I am, a young woman, trying to do it myself in the sport of cutting, and it’s truthfully, really hard to do sometimes. You need a really good horse, you need a trainer, and you need the cash flow so that your checks don’t bounce after the show is over. When you are starting out like in so many equestrian sports - nothing is guaranteed, very few people jump on a cutting horse out of the gate and pick up cheques every time they show. I was trying to think of a great first guest blogger post with Kimes Ranch, and I wanted to talk to you guys about something that most of us competitors can relate too - no matter if you barrel race, cow horse, mounted shoot, trail ride, rope - whatever, but I wanted to be able to share my own experiences in the show pen as well as the loping pen with you. I think we can all get together and agree on one thing we share, whether male or female, if you are spending long days in the saddle you work better throughout the day if you are wearing brands that are made for competitive riders, because you’re actually comfortable!
I may be speaking a little bit more to my female counterparts in this post, but I’m sure male competitors can sympathize as well. It is pretty frustrating when i’m in the loping pen or show pen and my jeans and show shirt are doing NOTHING for me, except for making me feel deathly uncomfortable. I mean it, yeah sure these jeans are trendy and low-rise and have jewels on the backside, but those jewels are ripping my saddle seat apart, and they are so low-rise my show shirt keeps popping out OR I look like I have an inflatable tube around my mid-section. Plus, I’ve cleaned fifteen stalls already this morning and by the time i’m done loping the seven horses I had to get ready for my boss, those “super-cute” jeans are so baggy and loose that I’m chaffing because they are bunching up as I ride! What once looked really cute on me, no longer looks good at all. Sigh. Did no-one mention to the designers of these ill-fitting monstrosities that they create are suppose to be for competitive riders?!
Now that i’ve been doing this awhile, you know… loping circle after circle… I’ve had a lot of time to think about, review and seek out brands made for competitors. When I heard about Kimes Ranch denim I truly thought all their promises were way too good to be true. Then I slid into the Betty jeans. They are mid-rise, which at first kind of scared me, I’ve never really personally worn mid-rise denim - Am i going to look like an unfashionable grandma? Are these jeans going to be uncomfortable when i’m riding for hours each day? Instead I was shocked to find that I felt like… really good about myself. Like.. I feel like my stomach is nicely tucked where it’s suppose to be, my show shirt is being held down impeccably and dare I say it, without a touch of jewel or bad acid-washing, I feel like I look pretty put together! See, whether you are showing, or working for someone and preparing horses, you are representing a brand. So when you are constantly re-tucking your shirt, scowling because your jeans are chaffing you to death and pulling your constantly falling-down pants back up around your hips, that doesn’t look very polished and you don’t feel good about it either. When you are wearing clothes that are made for competitive, hard-working riders, that were designed for long days in the saddle and not only make you look good, but make you feel good too. What a world of difference that is.
So here I am to preach the good word to you today, for someone that spends hours in the saddle and has battled every ill-fitting jean that starts bagging out after ten minutes in the saddle and has worn every sloppy looking show-shirt, or tank top, or t-shirt there is on the market, start figuring out brands that work for you and your body-type, start wearing clothing that makes you feel great in the show pen, and start seeking out brands made for competitive riders. It sounds cheesy, but the saying is true - “look good, feel good and dress for success.” When i’m out there in the cutting pen, in my novice/beginner class, in clothes that make me feel like I’m Matt Gaines winning the world on Special Nu Baby, there’s something to be said about that!
Until next time Kimes Ranch Family!