Some people think that people who buy custom horse show clothes have unlimited budgets and believe they can dazzle the judges with their fashion instead of their ride. In my experience, this is untrue (of both the exhibitors and the judges!). What is true is that people who buy custom are concerned about their appearance in the show ring and find mass-produced show clothes unacceptable for one of two reasons:
- THE FIT. Most people are not exactly average sized, but most mass-produced show clothing is. Many people enjoy a great fit off-the-rack. But many other people find themselves taller, shorter, stouter, thinner, longer-waisted, more petite, with busts that are curvier or more compact, shoulders that are broader or narrower, rounder tummies, skinnier waists, thicker midriffs, hips that are narrower or wider, thighs that are more slender or more muscular, longer or shorter arms... or any combination of the above!
- THE DESIGN. Riders want the judge to notice them, so many riders choose a custom design to avoid the possibility of running into their "twin" in the show ring. IMHO, the real value of a custom design is the mental effect--if a rider feels like they look like a million bucks, they'll show with more confidence, sitting a little taller in the saddle, leading with a bit more positive energy and punctuating their patterns a little more precisely.