Show Style: A guest post

With show season well and truly upon us, we asked Laura from dressage blog Shadbelly to give us an overview of her favourite pieces from the Horseware Competition Collection. Here’s what she had to say:


Nearly 30 years ago in Ireland, Tom MacGuinness pieced together fabric from duvet covers to make a rug that would keep his horses warm and dry - and the iconic Horseware Ireland brand was born. Most equestrians are well aware of Horseware’s reputation for making “Rugs for Life”, nothing else comes close. We count on Horseware to keep our horses comfortable all year long, they practically live in Rambo - the purple Rambo Wug Turnouts in the winter and the Rambo Protector Fly Sheets all summer long. 

But great rugs are just the beginning … 

Horseware has expanded their product line of riding apparel and accessories with the same emphasis on design and innovation.  Horseware’s focus this month is “Show Style”, and they invited SHADBELLY to pick out a few favorites from their competition wear and accessory collections to try. Impressed? You betcha.

The chic little super-light, water resistant show coat in the photo above? THAT’s Horseware. It’s Horseware’s Competition Jacket in Navy with the bold red lining we love! Did you see the price? Under $100. No wonder pictures of this coat are lighting up Instagram (#showstyle).

Horseware’s in-house collections include Horseware Platinum with MUST HAVES like the Platinum Ella Competition Shirt (see below). The Ella was everyone’s favorite, wonderfully fitted, but oh no, not too clingy. We found the soft dove grey color more flattering than standard white, and the paisley trim detail inside the collar and cuffs is perfect. Best of all, the Ella zips completely open, so it’s super easy to get in and out of without messing up the hair you just spent 15 minutes taming!


The coordinating Platinum Siena Competition Breeches with the white-on-white paisley full seat panel look and feel “special” without being too over-the-top for competition. We like the higher waist on the Siena’s - and those are false pockets, so the front maintains that nice, sleek silhouette.  We’d say these run a tad on the small size, so order a size up if you’re borderline.  

Do your own grooming at a show? Relax! My mare was show-perfect clean and super shiny in Horseware’s Rambo Grand Prix Dustbuster, because … THE RIBBED FABRIC DESIGN of this rug IS ACTUALLY DESIGNED TO CLEAN YOUR HORSE while it moves. No, we are not making this up! Are the Horseware folks innovative geniuses or WHAT?!? 

Need a bag that doesn’t look out of place at the barn or around town? Yep, THAT’s Horseware too. It’s the Horseware Platinum’s Bucket Bag and it’s got the same look as Burberry’s popular bucket bag (for a whole lot less!)


Ladies, you can skip “50 Shades of Grey” and feast your eyes instead on Alessandro Albanese. Wait a minute - HE’s Horseware? Oh, yes! The Italian equestrian designer is now a part of Horseware.  Is that Alessandro Bi-Color Belt I’m wearing is TO DIE FOR or what!?! And all you bling-lovin’ girls won’t want to miss out on the Alessandro Albanese Buckle with Swarovski crystals, because nothing satisfies your inner goddess like a little somethin’ sparkly.


Photographer Tracy Emanuel, you are a gift!  And a big THANK YOU to Horseware Ireland for believing in a little blog called SHADBELLY.

Yeah…we know it’s summer. So why are we talking about turnouts?

In theory, summer rugging should be simple – long warm sunny days, not a cloud in the sky, your horse in the field happily grazing in a fly sheet. But the reality is a little more complicated - you could turn your horse out in the sun and by the time you’re back inside with the kettle on, it could be blowing a gale and raining sideways.

We understand the complications of summer rugging, which is why we developed the 50g Amigo Hero 6 Turnout. This durable, waterproof rug is perfect for those changeable summer days. The 50g fill protects against unexpected wind, while also being so breathable that if your horse works up a sweat the moisture will evaporate, keeping your horse cool. The waterproof polyester outer will keep your horse dry when those monsoon-like downpours hit.

With the quality and innovative features you’ve come to expect from all Horseware rugs, this is the perfect rug for keeping your horse comfortable whatever summer throws at you.

At Horseware, our love of horses helps us to create the best products we can for you and your horses. We have riders in almost every department, making sure that everything that we do meets the most of exacting needs - those of our own horses. Meet some of the team from Horseware HQ and their horses, as they prepare for their 2014 season.

Alexis Ross: Badminton Grassroots Blog


Riding at Badminton Horse Trials has been a dream of mine since I first watched footage on the television in the 90’s. Being an amateur with a demanding full time job means that it is pretty unlikely that I will ever reach the dizzy heights of 4* level, but the introduction of the Grassroots Championships being held alongside the main event in 2010 suddenly meant that my childhood dream could perhaps be within reach…

4 years later Moon Dancer II (Billy) and I found ourselves driving into the Badminton Estate; one of 140 combinations from across the country lucky enough to have qualified for the Grassroots Championships! We had some mixed results in the events leading up to the Championships so I decided to take the pressure off myself and try and avoid becoming concerned by what was on the scoreboard and instead focus on enjoying every second of such an incredible opportunity. I had an amazing group of friends, family and supporters there with me, and it was fantastic to finally meet the team from Horseware who arrived at Billy’s stable and spoilt us with some very smart stable banners which was a real treat.


 Our dressage was held on the Tuesday afternoon and luckily the rain held off and the sun made a rare appearance. My trainer Dan Jocelyn arrived to help me with our warm up and I was absolutely thrilled with how Billy was going. He has produced some cracking tests in the past being awarded low 20’s scores on a number of occasions but despite being very accurate and consistent he does not have flashy paces and is not really built for the job with pretty poor downhill conformation so some judges will sit on the fence and award average marks. I knew we would be outclassed at the Championships, and the score would depend entirely on what the judges were looking for. He tried his heart out for me and I came out confident that we had done the best we possibly could so it was a little disappointing that the score was 31.5 with a large number of horses in the 20s and even one on 18. However I quickly pointed out to everyone that the pressure of being higher up the leaderboard wouldn’t be much fun anyway!


 We then headed out onto the cross country course to get our first glimpse of what we would be tackling the following day. Billy is a really brilliant little cross country horse so nothing overly concerned me, but it was much more technical than anything we have tackled before and it was very long with soft going which introduced another challenge in itself.


The show jumping phase is definitely our Achilles heel and unfortunately we had some confidence wobbles in the run up to the event so I have to admit to totally dreading tackling the coloured poles. This feeling wasn’t helped much when I arrived to see that the arena was surrounded by hundreds of spectators! Unfortunately I allowed this to get the better of me and bumbled around the first half of the course as a mere passenger for poor Billy until he finally caught me out by stopping at the double. It would have been helpful if this had happened in the warm up as I then got my act together and he jumped the rest of the round brilliantly! So an infuriating cricket score amassed, but my supporters were fantastic and rallied around me and didn’t let me dwell on the round before heading down to the cross country.


 We arrived to a very busy warm up due to numerous holds on course, and reports of carnage occurring all over the place. Dan gave me the instruction to leave the startbox boldly and to remember where I was riding and give it some welly! So that is exactly what I did, and Billy gave me a really brilliant feel over the first few fences, including a tricky drop with a right handed 90 degree turn to a skinny brush. One of the bogey fences early on in the course was an old fashioned coffin fence which had upright rails as element a before one stride on a slope down to a big spooky ditch and then 2 strides sloping up to another upright rail. As I approached the fence I noticed a huge volume of people spectating, and I wonder if Billy had also been a bit taken aback by it, as despite being totally unbothered by ditches he slammed the brakes on at point of takeoff with no warning leaving me clinging around his neck! Unfortunately the little monkey whipped round to the left away from the suspicious coffin and I slithered to my feet. I remounted (using the fence!) and had to ride quite strongly when I represented but luckily he had found his brave pants by then and skipped through. The crowd gave me a huge cheer which was such a buzz and put a smile straight back onto my face and we got back to enjoying the course. He went on to give me the most amazing ride around the remainder of the course – making it feel easy! He finished full of running and I was absolutely thrilled with him. 


So not exactly the fairytale result at our Badminton debut and I think people approached me nervously assuming I would be disappointed but we had so much fun and I couldn’t be prouder of my little horse who had nearly been written off with a fractured leg 4 years ago! The Grassroots Championships offers the most amazing opportunity for amateur grassroots riders to ride on the hallowed turf of the Badminton Estate and I would strongly encourage anyone to have a crack at qualifying. The entry also entitles competitors access to the 4* event so I stayed up for the duration with a great group of friends and we had the time of our lives. The whole weekend was absolutely full of laughter, watching the world’s best horses doing the sport I love – it doesn’t really get much better!  A real highlight was joining the Horseware team at the 4* Riders and Owners Cocktail Party in Badminton House. It really was quite surreal to be in the iconic house surrounded by my idols drinking champagne and eating delicious canapés – a night I will never forget!  image

Billy is currently enjoying a mini-holiday in the field with his chums but we will be getting cracking again very soon as I am now determined to get back to the Championships next year to give it another crack. Wish us luck, and hopefully this time next year I will be writing a blog with some slightly more competitive results!

~ Alexis Ross

All images by MDR Photo.

The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Florida is all over for another year. We decided to bring back a slice of the sunshine and take you on a trip inside the barns of some of the world’s top riders, who also happen to be members of the Horseware Rider Team. Come with us as we visit Cian O’Connor, Andrew Bourns, Saer Coulter, and Shane Sweetnam in the Florida sun.