Earning My Whites: Final Thoughts on Fair Hill

The majority of my riding career up until a few years ago has been in the hunter/jumper ring. I learned to ride almost exclusively inside the arena and longed for a pair of baggy puke-green, side zip Tailored Sportsman breeches to wear at shows so I could be as nicely dressed as the more advanced girls in my lesson barn and on my college team. The name of the fashion game in hunterland is conservative - riders are to all look pretty much the same so that the horses and their skills, instead of their outfits, can shine. It was a big deal when black jackets came back into style for the equitation classes.

And white breeches? Well, those were reserved for high-level jumper classics and Grand Prix under the lights. One had to earn the right to wear white. I didn't jump high enough or well enough for white, and probably never would. And I wasn't some kind of dressage rider.

So when I started eventing, the concept of wearing whites to show below the the lowest recognized level of the sport felt almost inappropriate. I also didn't think of myself as a legitimate eventer for a long time, and instead saw Dino and I as hunter ring dropouts trying, rather unsuccessfully, to gain our footing in a new sport.

But this year, that changed. 

We started off the season with tremendous success, scoring champion ribbons at our opening schooling jumper show and winning our first horse trial. Showing Dino was FUN, we were SUCCESSFUL, and I was starting to feel like maybe it was time to take the plunge and dress like an eventer. I was wondering if maybe I'd earned my whites.

As the season went on, it turned out that putting in competitive rides at every show we attended wasn't just a fluke - we were consistently good, and consistently sitting at the top of the leaderboard after dressage, nearly always following up a great score with confident, clean jumping rounds. 

So for my 31st birthday, I bought myself my very first pair of white breeches, and wore them for our debut competition at Fair Hill.

After earning our personal best dressage score of all time, putting in a solid stadium round and jumping clean around a long and challenging cross country track, I finally feel like I've earned my whites. After competing successfully at Fair Hill, I finally feel like a real eventer. I proved to myself that Dino and I CAN do this, and that we don't have to spend the rest of our time together as eventing partners just struggling to survive the lowest of the low levels. We're actually competitive, and guys, it's FUN to be competitive! I never knew! And especially after putting in great rides at what was a bit of a 'bucket list' venue for me, even though it was only at Intro, I feel like a legitimate eventer who belongs in this sport.

I've earned my whites, and it feels good. 


  1. So legit! Congrats on earning your whites. I love this post <3

  2. i love this so much - you've shown so much dedication and hard work and i am so thrilled to see it pay off in Dino's bold, easy confidence at these events this year!

  3. WOOHOO! You've always earned those whites but that's EXACTLY how I feel. I just completed my first off-site mini-trials in my beige breeches and the next day, went online and bought a pair of whites!
    So happy for you!!!

  4. girl youve more than earned your whites. im happy you got them.

  5. Are you sure you want whites? :D I wish I could wear a different colour at a show.

  6. i dont ever want whites but you girls look great in them and as many say you earned them a while ago not just lately! LOVE THE PHOTOS WANT MINE NOW!! :)

  7. For starters- Hi! I'm new to your blog! quick question- I evented from 2003-2006, through training level with a lot of success (not to brag!), and NO ONE in the lower divisions (including training) wore white. When I was brand new to the sport I wore white for my dressage test at BN, because I was from a dressage background, and my trainer kindly told me after that that wasn't appropriate and I should wear tan. When did everyone start wearing white all the time?

    1. Eh idk. I've been eventing since about 2014 and whites have always been more common than tans, even at unrecognized events. I think the cool thing about eventing (said as a former hunter rider) is that there IS NOT such a think as "not appropriate" in terms of what attire a rider should or should not wear relative to their level. Actually I think that was kind of Alison's point, that we can easily fall into this trap of feeling like certain pieces of gear or attire take on the prestige of a pink coat and that we need to "earn" them. But that actually, eventing is a very inclusive sport and it feels great to really feel like you belong. Not only by looking the part but by laying down consistently successful rounds too!

  8. I love this. And your blue and white color scheme is gorgeous on chestnut Dino!

  9. And you look amazing! The blue with Dino's coat is perfect, too.

  10. You guys are too legit to quit now! Eventerland it is FOREVER! I am so happy for you. <3

  11. It's weird how large the significance a color takes on. You both look very sharp! But the burning question is what make and model breeches did you go for?


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