White jodhpurs are the bane of many horse riders existence in the competitive equestrian community. Not only is the colour white the most impractical colour when being around a 600kg living, breathing snot, sweat and green slobber producing machine; they also leave nothing to the imagination when it comes to how they “highlight your curves”. So while going to a horse show may primarily be concerned with the performance of the horse, an essential element of showing is also the presentation and appearance of the rider.
So how does one manage to look good in white jodhpurs, if that is indeed at all possible?
Firstly it must be said that all white jodhpurs are not created equal and it pays to shop around to find a brand, style, cut and fabric that is most comfortable and suitable for you. A higher waistband can help alleviate the dreaded muffin top; certain fabrics can provide more support than others (and certain fabrics can be more sheer than others!) and of course underwear choice can also be significant (no bright red undies under your white joddies please!).
I personally must confess to having tried numerous body shaping garments during my own competitive equestrian career and while each may have had limited success, even the best body shapers ultimately leave you spilling out in other places, feeling uncomfortable and generally having a pretty miserable time until the offending white jods can be removed and replaced with something less revealing, or until you can pull your nice baggy jumper or shirt back on when back at the safe confines of your horse float.
So what are your other options? You can of course ignore it, pretend it isn’t there, or even take the “love the body you are in” approach. All of these are fine and individual choices, however for many people, knowledge of that bit of extra padding still chews away at them, occupying valuable mental space and detracting from their love of their chosen sport. For me personally it chewed away at me for years in varying crescendos and I always kept coming back to the stark reality that if my extra padding bothered me on competition days (and plenty of other days – just choosing something to wear out to dinner at a local restaurant used to be an exercise in endurance going through 15 changes of clothes to find something “suitable”) then ultimately that extra padding needed to go once and for all.
How and where to begin? Yes you knew it was coming – it’s the old cliche of “diet and exercise”. There are no magic pills or miracle rubs despite what the late night tv infomercials might have us believe. But fortunately the quest to look good in white jodhpurs has other beneficial trade-offs too. Shaking off a few kilograms and building muscle tone not only allows those jodhpurs to be more comfortable and visually appealing, but it also improves your overall health, fitness and your riding. An earlier article we wrote details the benefits of Strength and Conditioning for the Equestrian Athlete – well worth a read if you are serious about upping your competitive game.
If you have tried and failed and tried and failed in the past in terms of shaking up your health and fitness routine I can strongly recommend seeking out the assistance of a professional coach or trainer. Just as you do for your riding, a good health and fitness coach will pay dividends in the long run, not only in helping you slide into those white joddies effortlessly but also in creating lifestyle change that sticks with you for the long haul. They will help you find an exercise programme that is effective (and efficient – we want to spend our time riding not in the gym right!) and teach you skills around food and nutrition that make “dieting” a thing of the past.