byNina Fedrizzi| Sep 4, 2015
THE HAMPTONS, NY— In a unanimous decision by its 12-member board, the North American Show Jumping Etiquette Regulatory Commission (NASJERC) has declared that the ‘no white after Labor Day rule’ should henceforth be applied to formal show jumping attire at shows across North America.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said committee spokeswoman Fiona Justice. “Skin-tight white pants have their place, but we’re not entirely convinced that place needs to be every weekend in the grand prix ring, or worse, in every Sunday classic for every amateur jumper division in the U.S. and Canada, 52 weeks out of the year. Frankly, that’s a lot of white pants.
“If the fashion industry can put a cap on wearing white after Labor Day, so can equestrian sport. We owe it to ourselves,” Justice said.
So far, NASJERC’s announcement has been met with mixed reviews. Many are applauding the organization for its forward-thinking stance, while others are left scratching their heads. Longtime jumper annex announcer David Letchworth, 66, says he’s already observed that horse show weekends have become “less interesting”.
“Honestly, I’m considering asking to be moved back to one of the hunter rings,” Letchworth said via email. “I used to look forward to Sunday. Now, what’s the point?”
Other horse show regulars, like adult jumper Donna Svelte, 44, are feeling similarly bewildered. “I haven’t eaten a dinner roll since 1997, mostly because I know I’m going to be in whites on Sundays, and we all know, no matter how many hours you log at Soul Cycle, carbs and white breeches just don’t mix,” Svelte said.
When asked how she felt about the chance to expand her limited diet of many years—which Svelte describes as “a combination of miso broth, Evian seltzer and two chia crackers”—the lifelong rider was reticent.
“Maybe it will be nice not to have to worry so much about looking great on Sunday anymore. But honestly, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Celery?”
For longtime amateur Allie Smith, 28, however, the commission’s ruling is a long-overdue improvement. “Who looks good in semi-see-through white pants, really? Maybe they look nice on one to two riders in every class of the weekend, I’ll grant you—but what about the other 10? Not to mention the fact that if you have a mishap in the schooling ring or spill coffee on yourself at any point in the day, you instantly look like a slob. In many cases, you don’t have time to change, so you go into the ring looking that way.
“I can ride great all week, and then the classic comes along, and all I can think about—it’s not my horse or my course plan or improving from the day before—it’s how I really look in those damn pants. I’ll spend hours the night before just trying to pick out the right underwear.”
In fashion circles, the traditional ‘no white after Labor Day’ rule runs through U.S. Memorial Day on the last Monday of May. NASJERC has yet to weigh-in on whether show jumping whites will follow the same schedule, and therefore be required again for spring and summer classes. According to Justice, that information will be forthcoming. For Allie Smith, the announcement, however long it lasts, is replete with possibility.
“I’m thrilled. This Sunday, I’m ordering a plate of fries for lunch before my class goes, and you can bet I’ll be asking for extra ketchup.”
(**This piece is pure satire. In other words, don’t show up for your classic this weekend in tan pants. They won’t let you ride, and we’ll feel really bad.)
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