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We Ask The Industry: What is Your Biggest Fashion Disaster in the Show Pen?

Exhibitors love horse show clothing because of sparkles, elegance, and self-expression through style. But at some point in just about every exhibitor’s career, they will experience show clothing “blooper” moments. 

Zippers split, fabric rips, and people panic. Nerves kick in when walking up to the show pen with an unexpected split zipper. Clothing malfunctions are unavoidable, so being able to laugh at these experiences is of utmost importance.

From backward showmanship pants to broken zippers, GoHorseShow talked with exhibitors about their fashion bloopers in the show pen.

Paige Wacker – At the Arizona Sun Circuit in 2013, I was showing Ima Moxie Man, aka “Frog” in the showmanship one morning. On that day, it was extremely windy. Back then, I did not pin my hat onto my head because it gave me a headache. Well, that day, the wind almost blew my hat off during inspection at the judge. It was approximately 85 degrees sideways on my head for the remainder of my pattern. I came out of the pen, and Jenny Jordan was laughing hysterically, going, “I don’t know how you pulled that off and how your hat stayed on.” Moral of the blooper, always pin the hat to your head.

Kellie Hinley – I was showing in the first annual Three-Year-Old Versatility Challenge at the AQHA World Show. I was partly through my pattern when the zipper opened on my shirt…without anything other than a bra underneath. I completed the pattern. Luckily, I was able to change into something a bit more secure for the next part of the class. 



Hannah Lundy
– I was at my first show as an amateur, and I rushed to get ready that morning because the show ran a little ahead of schedule. I realized after getting dressed that I put the wrong pants on, but I did not have time to change, so I just went with it. I was having a great trail run until trotting over a set of poles. My pants split in the front, and I think every judge saw the color of my underwear that day. I started laughing so hard I was crying. I finished the pattern, and when I came out, my trainer asked why I was laughing, and I told her why. We all laughed. I ended up winning the class, and I learned not to keep old pants in my garment bags.

Sydnie Ochs – In western riding, one of the last times I showed my old, all-around horse, my pants ripped from one knee to the other knee, and my tail also fell out. When the class was over, the judges asked me to get off and get my tail; I had to tell them I could not because my pants were ripped. So, they had to climb the fence and get the tail for me.

Emma Garcia – The most memorable bloopers were both in Oklahoma City and involved my pants/zipper breaking. At the Redbud, the zipper of my breeches broke while I was trying to zip them. The button and zipper of my showmanship pants also broke at the youth world, and we had to safety pin them together before my class. There must be something about Oklahoma City that makes my pants rip.

Deanna Rippeon – My daughter, Maddie wore her showmanship pants accidentally backward at APHA Youth World and won the Championship. Then, for 11&U Youth Showmanship at the Congress, I made her fix them. She was Reserve. For the 13&U Showmanship, she put the pants back on backward again and won.


Shannon Brown
– I was about 14 years old, and I was showing at the Redbud Spectacular. Charlie Cole and Jason Martin were my trainers at the time. I remember telling my mom that day that I was struggling to get my pants on. I had been wearing the same black showmanship pants under my chaps for years. I guess this was the year I finally started to get a shape to my body, and I needed new clothes. I squeezed them on by leaving the side zipper unzipped because I knew it wouldn’t show under my chaps. As I did my last cross over, I felt a big rip right up the back of my pants. I knew everything was exposed, and I was about to go down the line. I did not know what to do, so I started sitting back on my backside as far as I could, so nothing was exposed. I went down the line with my legs forward and a very exaggerated lean. I knew how I was riding was embarrassing, but showing everyone my whole backside was more embarrassing, so I made a choice. I came out of the class, and Charlie asked me in a very sweet way why I was riding like that. I was in full panic and whispered that my pants were completely ripped up the back. He then quickly found me something to put back there, and I rode back to the barn. He never said anything to anyone. Thank you, Charlie!

Genny Miller – One of my clients was showing at the ApHC Youth World Show, and right before she walked into the arena for her English Showmanship class, her dad noticed that the zipper on her boot had split down. We had to quickly find some safety pins and pin the zipper together and then used electrical tape so that she could get through the class. She placed sixth.


Kacy Philpot
– I was at a show with Logan, Macs Cruisin Chip, and somehow I forgot to pull down my chaps. I don’t remember how I forgot, but I have never forgotten since then. It was a lesson learned.



Shelby Cochran
– At the NSBA World Show in 2019, the pull part of the zipper on my chaps broke as I was trying to show. We had to use a paper clip and some black tape to use as the pull part to be able to make the show pen on time.


Theresa Moran –  My biggest horse show fashion faux pas would be when I was still in 13&U. Shelby Ratliff and I were in San Antonio, Texas, with Jeff Burley, the last weekend of April, hoping to get that last infamous half point in the hunter under saddle and pleasure to get qualified for the Youth World. After scouring the show, we realized that there were not enough youth kids for Shelby’s class and that we were going to have to pull off some form of a miracle to make it happen. Our only option, and that miracle, was for me to show in the hunter under saddle, and the only option for hunt seat clothes were Jeff’s. After using electrical tape to keep my boots on and wearing a hunt coat a few sizes too big, Shelby got her half-point. The highlight was when the judge came up to me at the end of the class and informed me I needed a smaller coat and a collar because it looked like I was wearing nothing underneath. I couldn’t help but nod my head, chuckle and tell her it was noted for next time.

Tell us about your funny fashion disaster story in the comments.

About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a student at Michigan State University. She has been riding horses for almost eleven years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. She loves to compete in the all-around classes with her beloved horse, Zippos Kat Man Do, aka Teddy, and new equine partner Zippo Hot Leaguer aka Beamer. Her favorite classes are horsemanship, showmanship, and equitation. She is currently on a Pre-Veterinary track and also hopes to study business.