5-8 September 2024

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The Inside Track From Best Dressed Rider Judge

What are the judges of the ‘best dressed’ rider competition looking for at this year’s Defender Burghley Horse Trials Horsequest Trot Up? We caught up with judge and ‘best dressed’ sponsor Andrew Ransford of equestrian jewellers Hiho Silver to find out what advice he has for this year’s riders.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 09:29
  1. If you can’t run, it’s a no from us. The trot up is not just a test of how good the rider looks, it’s about the horse’s soundness and if your shoes prevent you from ‘running like the wind,’ as the trot up dictates, it’s a no. We’ve seen shoes lost (people) on the trot up as the atmosphere gives a virtual electric shock to the star of the show (the horse). We’ve also seen people struggling to run in their footwear and any chance of a broken or twisted ankle is too much for us.
  2. It’s about a touch of flair… we might even consider flares too! This year’s theme is all about the little details that bring an outfit together. You can be wild and wacky if you like, but it’s the details we’re looking at.
  3. The ladies like a man in uniform, even if that man is not their husband. We had the amazing Alice Plunkett on the judging panel at Badminton and when Giovanni Ugolotti came out in his uniform, well, as the only male judge on the panel I didn’t stand a chance. I thought a number of the gents looked very dapper to in their outfits, but uniform won the day. I guess it’s the epitome of practical flair. Turns out ladies do like men in uniform. Who knew?
  4. There’s no bias to any connection. As Alice proved at Badminton – poor William.
  5. Bright can be good – we bring sunglasses! Anyone remember Harry Meade’s fluorescent chinos from earlier this year? We loved them. They were quite bright, but if you can’t look radioactive in front of the world’s equestrian media, then when can you?
  6. Break the mould… but no other body parts please! It’s really difficult to judge a trot up where everyone looks similar. We’ve seen styles move on since we first started judging the trot ups and that’s great. We tend to look for ensembles that break with convention, just not at the expense of any bones.
  7. If it’s likely to annoy your horse, it’s a no from us. If your attire is likely to upset your horse; slap him around the face if the wind catches it, or cause him to spook, it’s not looking good. We want everyone to look good, of course we do, but not at the expense of creating an awkward situation with your equine partner.
  8. As judges we’ll be ‘papping’ you as you go – the trot up moves at an amazing pace and we tend to take pics as we go so we can cogitate and deliberate on the winners. Far better than having a bit of infighting as we try and remember who was wearing what.
  9. There are no extra points for wearing Hiho jewellery. This is absolutely true. But it does make us smile.
  10. Substance matters. We’re looking for style AND substance. Your outfit has to do the job it’s designed for and should be worn with confidence and panache.

Hiho Silver sponsors the best dressed male and female riders at the first horse inspection (trot up) on Wednesday 29th August 2018. www.hihosilver.co.uk.