This gorgeous vest worn over an aqua colored shirt was one of our favorite outfits at this year's Congress. Photo © Julie Hoefling

2018 Congress Fashion: Six Great Looks

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” – Rachel Zoe

Of all the sights at the All American Quarter Horse Congress, the show ring looks can be one of the most fun things to observe. From simple, well-tailored outfits to over the top bling, you can find a variety of different styles and fashions throughout the grounds.

Just as New York and Paris tend to set trends in the Fall for the upcoming year, you’ll see many exhibitors debuting new, forward styles at the Congress. The lights, big arenas and large audiences make the Congress a perfect “stage” to show off a new look. 

We took a walk around the grounds and found some of our favorite expressions of individuality in these unique looks. 


We saw several classic looks featuring beautifully tailored button-down shirts with classy details paired perfectly with complementing chaps. We loved this navy and tan ensemble which really stood out against this exhibitor’s roan horse. We saw this style donned by youth, amateurs and selects. Simple elegance that never goes out of style. 


From subtle to over the top, fringe was a very popular accent and could be found on shoulders, backs and arms. This exhibitor’s vest had fringe on the bottom which gave it a special look and added just enough interest without being overdone. When properly placed, exhibitor’s fringe details really enhanced the cadence and movement of the horse and rider. 


There is no shortage of bling at the Congress this year. Heavily stoned jackets, tops and vests were on display in the pleasure, trail and horsemanship. Stunning color combinations paired with perfectly matched saddle pads are as popular as ever. The white walls of the Celeste seemed to be the appropriate backdrop for almost any color to be beautifully displayed. 


From showmanship to horsemanship, unique colors from head to toe were very popular at the Congress this year. We love the dark neutral tones of burgundy and navy which are appropriate for any age and complement their horse’s color. For horsemanship, a solid color creates a pretty line from head to toe and in showmanship, this exhibitor’s tan hat sets off the accent color of her jacket. 


Vests were a big hit in several classes and divisions, but the bolero seems to be the front-runner when in comes to vests this year. This cropped style was usually adorned with beading or fringe to give some interest to the waistline. Many undershirts doubled as horsemanship tops, giving exhibitors a versatile, budget friendly look. 

Julie Hoefling was born and raised in Akron, Michigan but now resides in Cave Creek, Arizona with her husband, Jerry. She works at Central Garden & Pet (Equine Division – Farnam) as a Brand Manager over grooming, wound and leather care. Julie shows her horses, Shady Impulse in the western all-around and and Doctor Phil Good in the futurity events, under the guidance of Ryan and Andrea Kail.