My Secret to Wearing Light Colors to the Barn

Finally addressing one of my most asked questions, “Bethany!! How do you wear white to the barn and stay SO clean!?” What I want to know is: ‘Who decided that the equestrian apparel standard would be light tan breeches and white long sleeve, collared shirts?’ There is no debate that this is the iconic equestrian look, but nothing ruins it quite like lime green slobber from your horse. Keeping your lights bright while riding is a full time job in itself. Generally, I try to avoid staining altogether. I like to opt for technical, stain resistant fabrics. Yagya Equestrian Breeches have quickly become one of my essentials for this exact reason. 

USE CODE “myequestrianstyle20” FOR 20% OFF YOUR YAGYA ORDER!

Yagya is a modern equestrian brand that combines high fashion and equestrian elegance. I love their breeches for their compression and smoothing look, but also because they are surprisingly easy to keep clean. No matter what my day at the barn looks like, I know that these breeches will come out the other side looking sparkling clean and new. No need to soak them in a bucket of bleach! I reach for my Yagya breeches for the hottest of schooling days, because I know the technical fabric, high waist band, and side pockets will help me feel my coolest and most secure. As we all know, my love for equestrian fashion does not end in the stable. Yagya makes the perfect transitional pieces that can easily be worn, styled, and chic for everyday wear. My two favorite accessories are their hat and bag- true everyday essentials. Both can be worn multiple ways, making them the perfect versatile pieces for street and stable. 

Click below to shop all of my favorite Yagya pieces! Scroll down to hear my secrets and tips to wearing lights to the barn.

Supreme Saddle Pad Jump
Supreme Saddle Pad Jump
Hybrid Stable Hat
Hybrid Stable Hat
In Between Midlayer
Generation Y Riding Breeches
In Between Midlayer
Generation Y Riding Breeches
Carry On Belt Bag
Supreme Saddle Pad Jump
Supreme Saddle Pad Jump
Hybrid Stable Hat
Hybrid Stable Hat
In Between Midlayer
Generation Y Riding Breeches
In Between Midlayer
Generation Y Riding Breeches
Carry On Belt Bag

While I think white looks so classic and crisp to the barn, I do often get some dirt and slobber on me. Here are some tips to help avoid it as much as possible:

  1. Protect your white show shirts with the help of layers. While you may not want to spend bath day or spring cleaning day at the barn in a white riding top and tan pants, you don’t have much of a choice at a horse show. Sporting lights is inevitable so there are a few things you can do. For one- if weather permits- I like to always wear a sweater or a thin, loose long sleeve top over my show shirt. This way, I can groom my horse without getting my sleeves dirty or avoid the slobber. You can also use this method to protect your breeches. Try some loose fitting joggers or sweats, or some rain pants if the weather is not-so-sunny.
  2. I get asked all the time how I wear white to the barn and stay so clean. So here’s the deal. Most days I am riding client horses that are in full care. So especially on the days I am not bathing or doing a lot of grooming, I stay fairly clean because I arrive and ride. That’s my job. That’s where I’m at! I certainly still find ways to get dirty though! I have had to learn not to wipe my hands across my arms or stomach. I try not to hold dirty saddle pads, lunge lines, gloves, or whips against my clothes. When I dismount, I try not to jump down and not slide down my dirty saddle. These little random things have honestly protected my light clothes! I’ve also found that some of my active riding tops tend to have longer sleeves/thumb holes. I will often fold them over to make the sleeve a little shorter so that they’re not dragging in everything or rubbing against the horse’s body when I am brushing or tacking/untacking.

Something I feel really helps keep my whites and lights clean is having a “hands free” option to keep my phone, horse treats, keys, etc. like this Yagya Carry On Belt Bag. I am wearing it as a crossbody here, but there is also an additional strap that is perfect for a full day of barn chores or riding (below). It’s my favorite accessory besides the Yagya Barn Hat, which also comes in black and pink!

SHOP THE BELT BAG HERE

Here’s the Carry On Belt Bag with the additional strap shown with the Yagya Breeches and Mid Layer Jacket… my absolute go-to outfit and perfect for a busy day at the barn.

SHOP MY FAVORITE MID LAYER HERE

Now here’s what I do to remove the horse stains out of my light colored items:

  1. Find a good stain remover / bleach product for your white clothing. I am a bleach girl, but for those of you would rather opt for a bleach and fade free stain remover, OxiClean will do the trick, too! I like to wash my whites by themselves in a cool cycle (heat seals the stains in the garment!) and once the water level is filled up, I add a little bleach. Once the cycle starts the agitating process (when the machine starts making starts swishing the load back and forth) I will open the lid to “pause” the cycle and just let it sit in the bleach/detergent mixture for 20 minutes. This helps really lift the dirt and grime out of the shirt. From there I will close my lid again and complete the cycle. The next part is important! After the washing load is complete, I will carefully examine my whites. If the stain is removed to my liking, I will go ahead and put it in the dryer. But if not, I will rewash it. Once you put it in the dryer and add that heat, the stain will become almost impossible to remove.
  2. Be quick with stain removal. I think one of the keys to getting stains out of your lights is timeliness. If I get a dirt spot on my shirt, usually I will clean a sponge in the wash rack and dab at it right away. Water will get most of the stain out, especially if its just dirt. If not, you will always have access to some soap/horse shampoo at the barn to add a little to your sponge. I will usually keep a bleach or OxiClean pen in my tack trunk or car too.
  3. Saddle Pad care. I love the look of a crisp, white saddle pad, but they are also hard to keep clean! I usually use baby pads because they are cheap and lightweight. I will only use a saddle pad for a couple uses TOPS and then wash it. If you let the inside of your saddle pad turn brown with hair and dirt and sweat, it’s going to be very challenging to get it back to its former glory. I will say, the more you wash something, the sooner it will wear out. That’s why I like getting a big pack of baby pads. I always have clean ones on had and they’re pretty cheap to replace once they start wearing out. For my thicker saddle pads, I actually like to throw them out on the driveway and power wash them with a little Dawn dish soap! I think this really breaks up the grime and then you can always finish it off with a bleach cycle.

Hope you fouund these tips useful to keeping your lights and whites looking so fresh! I just interviewed Co-Founder of Yagya, Matilde Urdinola, on the Podcast. Click HERE to listen to her episode! Make sure to use my code myequestrianstyle20 for 20% off your Yagya purchase.

xo, MES

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