By Kathy Serio
Since this is the fashion issue, I thought it would behoove me to delve into the world of the “tres fashionable chevalier amateur.” However, I quickly realized that I’m not that “formidable mademoiselle,” so I’m going to, “how you say,” ad lib and pretend.
You see, just this season, 2014, with gentle nudging — well, more like constant badgering from my husband — I finally purchased my very first Cheval show shirts and received a few nice Essex show shirts as a gift as well. It took me a while to become “fashionably fashionable.” But obviously, I still have a very long way to go.
I had a hard time putting aside the old shirts with the fancy, stitched button-on collars. I felt like they were going to be so lonely in the closet all by themselves if they weren’t put to good use. You know, the ones where you always kept the second back-up collar in a separate “special place” so as not to lose it. The one where, if you happen to lose the main collar as it sneakily slips off your belt accidentally because the washing machine has left only a half of one button remaining as the enclosure, then you don’t remember said “special place” to replace the lost one, and then you proceed to cuss up a storm, tear the closet and drawers apart because said stupid button collared shirt (which you now hate because it has taken you 45 minutes to look for the backup one and you can’t find it) is rendered completely useless after years of ownership and all you can think to say is, “Honey what did you do with my collar? It was right here yesterday!” — even though you haven’t seen it in the last 10 years.
This was also the season I purchased not one, not two, but three washable show coats. OMG, where have these coats been all of my life? Consuela, my housekeeper (aka — Me) has a few rules. It took some getting used to for a certain someone of the opposite sex and of the husband persuasion, to figure this out at first, but Consuela does not iron! Ever. Never. Ever.
“Iron” is a four-letter word for a reason! It truly is a curse word. OK, it isn’t a curse word, but it does make one begin to use curse words, so it’s a gateway “curse word” word. So, the washable coats, the washable shirts, the washable breeches all had best be foldable and/or hangable or Consuela has threatened to quit on more than one occasion. If even asked where the iron might be, she might quit. I don’t think she even knows where the iron is — it’s probably partying in a closet with the backup button-on show collars!
I guess you can call me “fashionably late” or “fashionably indifferent” or maybe even “fashionably broke” when it comes to horse show attire. Now, if you ask me what my horse is wearing at any given time or who his massage therapist, acupuncturist or chiropractor might be — now we’re talking! I also know what special Chinese herbs he’s currently taking. Even the brand and type of shoes he might be wearing as well as the name of the new saddle on his back!
In addition to all the above items, my horse also has very special tastes and prefers to try a new bit every two horse shows or so. He’s not a bit of a fashionista, he is a “bit fashionista!” We have plastic bits, metal bits, rubber bits, chain bits, titanium and leather bits (cha ching?!) We have spoon bits, butterfly bits, customized Shuttleworth bits, and every kind of snaffle bit you can find that’s attached to a D-ring.
Our horse Chapeau tends to be a connoisseur of the bit and his tastes range from $75 bits to the extreme $380 custom leather bit, which did last in his mouth for showing for about six weeks — a record. It appears my horse, not me, is a complete first class fashion icon.
Add this to his desire to “fashionably” show off his mother when he first began contesting the Amateur Handy Hunter classes, when he’d strike out at the backside of a jump if we turned too close to it, or he’d strike out at a pop-up photographer and tell him a thing or two with his front feet, and I’m dealing with not only a “bit fashionista” and a “fashion icon,” but a full-on “fashionista diva.” I think I might need to start calling him C-Lo, of the J-Lo diva-tude, or Chapdashian, of the Kardashian clan. He is “Fashionably Fashionable.” Unfortunately, I am not.
So, when my horse’s fashionista tendencies begin to wane, perhaps my fashionista tendencies will wax? In the meantime, with the bit population in our bit box reproducing at a staggering rate, my next purchase will need to be a bigger bit box, not, unfortunately, another fancy show shirt, lest my horse wagers a “sit in” when I put a halt to his diva demands!
About the writer: Kathy Serio is an amateur rider based in Wellington, Florida, where she works full time in the equine pharmaceutical industry. In 2012 she married her trainer of 12 years, Tommy Serio, who often calls her “Lucy,” for “Lucille Ball.” Being trained by her husband brings a whole new dimension to riding as an amateur. Kathy spends her spare time riding and laughing with her 2- and 4-legged gang. As Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”