The Stables

Equestrian Fun Without A Horse

There is nothing better than hacking out in the warm sunshine, or the feeling of pride at winning a rosette on a horse you have trained yourself, but not all equestrian fun has to involve owning a horse. A day at the races is hard to beat, even if it is just for the pleasure of looking at the expensive horse flesh and people watching.

England has some wonderful race courses and meetings that are famous the world over.

The Derby is held at Epsom on 1st and 2nd June followed by the Ascot meeting 19th – 23rd June. Glorious Goodwood is held at the end of July, 31st July to 4th August.  The important St Ledger Meeting is held in Doncaster 12th – 15th September and for jump addicts, there is nothing to beat the Welsh Grand National, held 27th December in Chepstow.

Further afield why not try ‘The race that stops a nation’, Australia’s Melbourne Cup, a 3,200 metre race for three-year-olds and over. It is the richest “two-mile” handicap in the world, and one of the richest turf races. Conducted annually by the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria, the event starts at 3pm on the first Tuesday in November.

Combine a trip to Paris with seeing the  Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, a Group 1 flat horse race for thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run at Longchamp over a distance of 2,400 metres and usually takes place on the first Sunday in October. A promotional poster describes the event as “Ce n’est pas une course, c’est un monument” – “It’s not a race, it’s a monument”.

The Dubai World Cup is held at the Meydan Racecourse. The name means in Arabic a place where people congregate and compete. The race was created in 1996 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai who owns Darley Stud and Godolphin Racing, one of the world’s leading Thoroughbred breeding and racing operations. It is the world’s richest horse race.

For sheer excitement the Velká pardubická is a famous cross-country steeplechase run in Pardubice, Czech Republic. It takes place every year on the second Sunday in October and is steeplechase of 6.9 km, with 31 obstacles.

Closer to home, follow in the footsteps of Prince Charles and Camilla and visit Galway in Ireland. The city does not close completely to let everyone attend the races anymore, but nether less the city will be buzzing for the seven days of the meeting. The Galway Races is certainly a festival for everyone, running for seven consecutive days starting from the last Monday in July each year. Highlights of the Summer Festival include Ladies Day, Friday’s Fair Lady, Ladbrokes Red Day, and Family Day including our very popular Mad Hatters Competition.

Almost 140,000 people attended the Summer Festival Meeting in 2017. The races precede the famous Dublin Horse Show, Ireland’s biggest market place for show horses and jumpers. Many make an annual pilgrimage to Ireland for the Galway Races, head to Dublin for the show and then return to Galway to see the incredible spectacle of the Clifden Connemara Pony Show.

What to wear

A tough question on any day. Most dresses in your wardrobe are either inappropriately short, impractically long or unfashionably in between, so what better excuse could there be for investing in a new outfit! Some of the meetings have special Ladies Day competitions where there is a chance to pit your style against other ladies with a chance to win some fabulous prizes, vouchers for exclusive shops and pampering days – something all horse girls need occasionally. There’s nothing like a race day to let your style shine and for you to enjoy the chance to dress up.  The best thing about Racing Fashion is … there really are NO RULES! Well, a few simple ones ……

Dress accordingly for the occasion and the weather you are not going to a wedding or a night club!

Don’t have your skirt too short, heels you can’t walk in and too much flesh on display – leave a little to the imagination!

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

A floral frock will prove to be a worthy investment. The modern way to wear your florals is big and bold. Loud and proud colour combinations make for a dynamic, confident look.  Feel free to mix it up with another colour or be bold and stay true to your chosen colour from head to toe! Accent with accessories of course!!

Pair a print skirt with a solid top, or go big and mix two prints together! These types of prints can give you free reign in your millinery choice. You can pair your outfit with something totally different than what you would normally wear and it will all flow together! This type of outfit shows you as the fashionista you truly are!  Shows you can take a risk…and still look fabulous!

For the less showy, a little black dress with bold accessories is so classy.

Your accessories will help to show off your personality and there is such a wide choice, from bags to shoes and handbags. Your accessories don’t have to be big and flamboyant sometimes less is more.  Really it’s the combination of the whole look – but remember you should feel comfortable wearing it.

And for the man in your life……

We might spend our life in jodhpurs but we do like to dress up on occasion and that includes our men folk. Guys look good in a suit!!  There are so many different styles and types, it’s impossible not to be able to find one that makes you look great. Don’t be afraid to try a little colour it shouldn’t always be about greys or blacks. Show off your fashion sense with stunning shirts and ties to help you stand out in the crowd.

Important to remember though, for the guys and girls – you are going to be standing and walking for a lot of the time so comfortable shoes are essential and, unless you do head for Dubai, the weather can be unpredictable, so chose an outfit that can be teamed with a jacket in case of the weather becoming cool – or wet…!

Image credits: Wikimedia Commons