Badminton Horse Trials is one of the biggest occasions in the Equestrian calendar. One of only 6 CCI 4* events in the world and with over 160,000 visitors over the course of the event last year making it one of the top 10 sporting events. It’s a huge draw for equestrian lovers, countryside dwellers and anyone really that likes a day out in the countryside. Set in the beautiful grounds of Badminton House in Gloucestershire, it’s not only a huge event for equestrian athletes, but a hotly anticipated opportunity for equestrian lovers to soak up the atmosphere and watch their idols in a truly magical setting. Oh, and did I mention there’s lots of shops…
So with such a huge social occasion looming, the question on most people’s minds (OK, maybe not everyone, but it is an important consideration for lots of us!) is WHAT TO WEAR?! I definitely think there’s a difference in outfit expectations across the different days, with smarter, dressier outfits saved for the shopping/dressage and Show Jumping (SJ) days. But, enough of that, I’m here to talk to you about the pinnacle of the event and my favourite day – Cross Country (XC).
Any eventer (even those as amateur and rusty as me!) will tell you that XC is the highlight of an event, and those who disagree are simply not real eventers in my mind – there’s so many opportunities to enjoy dressage and showjumping as part of the pure disciplines, so if you’re eventing (participating or spectating), chances are you’re in it for Cross Country day! And it would appear that most people agree, Badminton Saturday (XC day) draws the most visitors out of any of the days. So, the question is how to stand out of the very large crowd (for the right reasons I might add!)? I have some of my top style picks to share with you so you can be top of the style stakes on XC day!
OK, I admit that usually practicality doesn’t preclude style. But let me tell you, if you are planning to walk around the 6840 metre track, you need to be comfortable. You may think heels are a good idea when you step out of the car first thing in the morning, but trust me – it’s not a good look having to hobble behind all of your friends/family or worse, walk without your shoes on. So decent practical footwear is a must, but that doesn’t mean we have to compromise on style. Obviously it does depend on the weather as to what you chose, but I’ve thought about all the cross country days I’ve been to over the last 3ish years and more often than not I’m wearing my Fairfax & Favor Imperial Explorers. These boots have won the Shooting Industry New Footwear Product of the year for a reason. I don’t think I have enough words to explain just how much I love these boots – but if you have seen any of my Instagram page you will see just how much they crop up – mucking out, shooting, riding and any acceptable social occasion, these boots are worth their weight in gold. They are fully waterproof too which is ideal for the unpredictable British weather. So we can definitely say the boots are practical – but what about style? Well the explorer manages to effortlessly combine style and purpose, the boots are crafted from the finest venison leather and include all the elegant traits of its Regina sister, so style is definitely covered here too!
As I said before, the Great British weather is certainly unpredictable to say the least. I have been to many Badmintons where the sun has been blazing and people are in shorts, but equally I’ve been to a lot of cold and miserable Badmintons too. Also remember that you will definitely get hotter as you are walking round the very long and undulating track, so being able to remove a layer is a bonus.
My favourite layering item has to be the Ideal Down jacket from Ariat. It’s super lightweight but packed with down, so it keeps you nice and toasty. It also comes in a range of colours and patterns (I love my Red one but I’m eyeing up the new black check which is part of the Spring/Summer 18 range!). Also what’s really handy, is that the jacket packs away into a little bag, so you won’t be weighed down with zillions of layers if you do get warm because let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than having to carry lots of things around with you.
Accessorise for the win!
Because of the layering and comfort aspect, I tend to keep my clothes quite classic and plain, but let my accessories do the talking. There’s so much potential for accessories that can add personality and style to your outfit without compromising the practicality aspect but here are my favourites that are perfect for an equestrian themed day out:
The Badminton Belt, Mackenzie and George
Well I couldn’t not pick the very belt named after Badminton Horse Trials could I?! But I have to admit this is probably my favourite belt because it’s simply perfect for every occasion. I love the nod to classic equestrian heritage with the delicate brass bits which adorn the entire belt, subtle and classy yet very noticeable and stylish. Also, you know me – I love a bit of tan, and I don’t think you can go far wrong with any outfit if you’ve got a good tan belt. But what I love the most about this belt is the versatility, because it is narrow it’s an ideal candidate for a traditional belt to wear with jeans but also, as I often love to do, perfect as a waist belt with a simple dress.
The Fedora, Mackenzie & George
Who doesn’t love a good Fedora? M&G’s range are perfect for all occasions (equestrian or otherwise) and paired with one of their handmade feather brooches, they make the perfect country style statement. They’re also ideal if you don’t have the time or ability to style your hair – I’m talking about myself here! But also great if it rains – hair saved, or if it’s sunny – a bit of shade to protect yourself.
How could I not mention the only equestrian jewelers worth knowing? Hiho have launched the Badminton collection which features lots of exciting and exclusive products in honour of the event, so I’ll definitely be adding a couple of the Badminton beads to my Foxy Roller bracelet which sits so beautiful against any of the signature cherry roller bangles.
A decent sized bag
I’ll admit I am a fan of a big bag, but I do tend to fill them with as much stuff as they will take, so not ideal for hauling round on cross country day. So my top pick would be a bag that has both a cross-body strap and smaller handles for comfort of carrying around all day, but also one that is big enough to hold a bottle of water, your purse/keys and of course your Ariat ideal down jacket which has been folded away nicely because it will be so sunny on the day (I’m maintaining a positive attitude in the faint hope it may pay off!). So again I have to turn to Fairfax and Favor and pick either the Pembroke or Highcliffe, both of which fit the bill very nicely.
So that’s it – my top style picks to ensure you stand out for the right reasons on Badminton XC day!
Don’t forget to tag Mackenzie and George in pics of their products at Badminton on Insta for a chance to win a £100 gift card! X