If your yard is anything like mine it is a hot bed for suspect fashion choices and (to the uninitiated) dubious personal hygiene since most people emit a feint horsey smell to some degree. Weather conditions and washing pile dependent us ‘yardies’ wear an assortment of horsey clothes and ‘things-from-my-normal-wardrobe-that-are-no-longer-acceptable-in-every-day-life-but-have-plenty-of-wear-left-in-them-for-the-yard’. It’s a strong and distinctive look, but when it comes to seamlessly integrating back into ‘normal life’, and you’re making that post-yard dash straight to the supermarket/post office/bank, that’s when things can get awkward!
Over the years I think I have mastered the equine art of the ‘transitional wardrobe’. Now this might sound like a fancy and specialised science, or some sort of cross dressing but really it could more accurately be described as ‘scraping off 90% of the mud and horse hair and wearing whatever is on the back seat of the car that doesn’t smell of horse’
When focussing on plaiting, washing, trimming and buffing our horses until ‘best turned out’ is in the bag we all tend to forget that during our equine friend’s pampering session we have inadvertently morphed into some sort of ‘rural yeti’
So here are my all time fave personal grooming hacks for horsey gals they are quick (essential, we have horses to ride), cheap (even better, we have horses to pay for), and some of the products you might already have in your tack room (bonus!)
1/ ‘Hat hair’ be gone!
Dry shampoo is your friend, start stockpiling it now! I have the most limp flyaway useless hair going and as such any time spent in a hat reduces it to a flat greasy wig no matter how recently I have washed it. A quick squirt of dry shampoo and if I’m feeling glamourous I might rake a mane comb through it too. Ta dah! instant clean and volumised looking hair. Any clinging stable smells are banished from your follicles as most dry shampoos are scented. If you’re still struggling to ‘tame your mane’ then whack on a headband. From big faux fur to tweed and fleece a headband can cover a multitude of sins in an instant, and in the cold weather they keep your ears warm too! This is my collection of headbands, some may say I have a problem.
2/ What IS that smell?….
We’ve all been there haven’t we? *sniff sniff* then the sinking realisation that THAT smell is coming from YOU! You are the walking stink bomb. Stable smells stick like glue but help is on hand. Febreze my friends, Febreze! If like me you really resent having to put clean clothes in the wash after just one wear at the yard because they ‘smell horsey’ then give them a quick spritz with Febreze. The smells are banished, you can get more wear out of your gear, and that means less washing which is always a good thing!
3/ Ummm, you’ve got something on your face…
Mud, hoof oil, clipped off hair, green slobber you name it it gets everywhere, and your face is usually the last place you look. Having a packet of baby wipes on hand is a quick and easy way to wipe away any filth. They are also great for last minute boot wipe overs and cleaning your horse’s eyes when they get gunk in them. (see this post on ’15 Horsey Life Hacks’ for more on that)
4/ Wear make up at the yard? Are you kidding?
Yardies know instinctively that the yard is not really the place for lip-gloss and lashes but regular folk have a different image in mind. Blame Jilly Cooper, and all those blingy dressage divas for cultivating this highly polished and sexy public perception of horsey girls. Well never let it be said that horsey girls don’t like a challenge so….game on! For that flawless ‘I’ve just stepped out of a salon’ look (who are we kidding? 😉 ) tinted moisturiser is great. I wear this one everyday, it’s SPF50 so hopefully all that time spent in the great outdoors with the nags isn’t going to turn me into a wrinkled old hag too soon thanks to the added UV protection. It’s made by an Australia company and I figure they should know their onions when it comes to sun protection. Add to that a lick of waterproof mascara (no weather or sweat induced Panda eyes!) and I’m practically (in my view) ready for the red carpet 😉 You can wear breeches to the BAFTAs right?
5/ Does anyone have a hair band?
No, no one does…..except your horse that is! Left high and dry without a hair band? reach for a plaiting band ladies you know it makes sense in a pinch.
6/ Complexion like an Appaloosa
Despite being well clear of my teenage years I still seem to have managed to hold on to my teenage skin (I was hoping the one asset from that period of my life I could retain would be my uncanny ability to avoid all hangovers despite guzzling gin by the gallon, but sadly no…) but I discovered a great cream for zapping zits. I’ve used Sudocrem on my horses for a variety of reasons over the years, but (despite it being a product for humans) never on myself until recently. It’s great stuff, it reduces redness, stops itching thanks to a mild anaesthetic action and clears up problem skin in super quick time. About once a month I smear it all over my face in a face pack and scare my boyfriend half to death, I recommend you do the same 😉
7/ Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s Neighbelline?
There’s a weird trend for celebs and beauty aficionados to use horse shampoo to improve their locks. Yes really! The Daily Mail has written about it here so it must be true right? 😉 *tongue in cheek*, and they even sell it in Liberty!. True or not I figure it might be worth a shot, and as a bottle of Mane & Tail is only about £7 if it doesn’t work then you can always use it on the horse – It’s a win win situation!
So there you go girlies those are my top tips for looking and smelling good at and after the yard. I know from time to time we all get the urge to look a little more ‘hey girl!’ than hay bale so for when the mood grabs you, you know what to do….until then…..normal service and ‘rural yetiness’ shall resume 😉
If you’ve got any pearls of wisdom on the topic please leave a comment below