Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010

When a year gallops by as fast as this one did, our reflections can look like a bit of a blur! Here’s our take on what stood out in equestrian style and culture during 2010…

WEG 2010

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010   wegDespite years of planning and that ubiquitous Alltech countdown, the 2010 WEGs feel like they came and went in a flash. Standout memories include the triple gold-medal dressage performance of Edward Gal and Moorlands Totilas, three flawless eventing phases by Michael Jung and La Biosthetique Sam, and Phillipe Le Jeune’s ebullient victory in the showjumping Rolex Final Four. Our favorite moment from WEG (and maybe the year)?… Le Juene’s winning round on Hickstead and victory hug with his home-bred Vigo D’Arsouilles.

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010

America’s Favorites

For the US team, Steffen Peters’ double bronze medals were a thrilling, historic accomplishment for one of America’s most beloved horse and rider partnerships. Our other favorites – McLain Ward and Sapphire – showed that one small mistake, no matter who you are, can put you out of contention in elite showjumping competition. 2010 was a roller coaster year for this duo, who won both the inaugural Pfizer Million Grand Prix and a record fifth blue at the Hampton Classic FTI $250,000 Grand Prix, but suffered a devastating disqualification at the World Cup Finals in Geneva and came up short at WEG. No matter, “Sara” is still America’s sweetheart.

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010

Oh Totilas…

One certainly can’t mention Totilas and the events of 2010 without noting his unceremonious post-WEG sale to German breeding czar Paul Schockemöhle. On the heels of the initial surprise, much spectacle has been made of Totilas in his new home with Schockemöhle and rider Matthias Rath. Business is business, but we think Isabell Werth said what we all felt, quite simply and honestly: “I was very disappointed by the sale of Totilas, and I felt very sad for [Edward} to lose an incredible partner. No rider wants to lose his horse, especially such an iconic horse such as Totilas. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had to sell Satchmo.” (via Chronicle of the Horse interview)

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010

Gold Medal Moms

2010 was a big year for Isabell too, as she and fellow German team superstar Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum inspired new moms everywhere by returning with lightening speed to the top of their respective games. Werth (who gave birth to a son in October 2009) was a member of the bronze medal German dressage team at WEG, while Michaels-Beerbaum (whose daughter was born in February 2010) powered the German team to WEG showjumping gold. And let’s not forget Maria Mercedes Alvarez Ponton of Spain who laid down a gold medal endurance ride just seven weeks(!) after giving birth.

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010

Helmet Hullaballoo!

In March, the freak fall and severe head injury of Olympic dressage rider Courtney King Dye raised the simmering debate of helmets in dressage (and other disciplines) to a rolling boil. Nine months later, Courtney is getting back in the saddle and the USEF, USDF, and USEA appear close to approving major rule changes regarding helmet requirements.

In 2010, we saw many new helmets in more shapes, styles, and colors than you can imagine  – a prime example of the continuing divergence between the traditional equestrian aesthetic and space-age styling. What do you think about where equestrian style is headed?

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010

Top Style Trend

One 2010 style trend we LOVED was the appearance of so many great looking denim breeches in our favorite tack stores. Leading the way, the designers at Goode Rider have successfully brought a background at Levi Strauss to their range of super stylish and comfortable “jean riders.” Readers, these are NOT your mother’s breeches!

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010


And, speaking of super, 2010 gave us all a chance to relive the saga of the “superhorse” through Disney’s feature film about 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat AND superstar Zenyatta’s run for her 20th consecutive win at the 2010 Breeder’s Cup. America’s favorite filly ended up about one heartbreaking step short in her final race, but her stunning popularity has only continued to increase. We don’t think anyone can sum up our love for Queen Z better than author/artist Barbara Livingston did here.

The Year in Equestrian Style & Culture: 2010

Stage and Screen

Hot on the heels of Secretariat, two more poignant and beloved equestrian stories will debut on the big screen next year. In 2010, production was in the works for both a Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of the celebrated British stage play “War Horse” and a feature film version of Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.

Looked at as a whole, 2010 had it all… nostaglia, innovation, heartbreak, and inspiration. And it wouldn’t be the equestrian lifestyle without any of these, would it? Here’s to 2010 and the equestrian hopes and dreams of another new year.


Dappled Grey

Every week, Dappled Grey sends our subscribers our free weekly Style Guide. Peruse our fabulous previous editions here.

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