Monday, November 17, 2014

In Praise of the Show Bow: 3 Reasons They're Awesome

Will today's blog post be the most controversial one I've ever written and hit publish on? Stay tuned.

I enjoyed Lauren @ She Moved to Texas's thoughts on how horse people always seem to be chasing the next trendy thing in tack. Someone in the comments made a disparaging note about how even show bows used to be the hot thing to wear.

I'm going to come right out and say this: I love show bows. I own one. I use it on a regular basis. (Well, I use it when I show, which doesn't happen often.)

Yes, you heard that right. I love show bows.

Yup. Those things.

If you've somehow managed to avoid knowledge of this sadly misunderstood piece of showing apparatus, and its polarizing influence on equestrians, take a seat. I'm going to tell you why they're awesome and then I will serve popcorn for you all to throw at me in the comments.

Here are three reasons I love show bows.

1. I don't have to put my hair under my helmet.

My helmet doesn't fit when I put my hair under it. It slides. It slithers. At the same time, it's so tight it gives me a headache. I have to re-do it constantly. I have to use bobby pins, or double or even triple layer hair nets. Speaking of...

2. I only have to use one hair net when I use a show bow.

One hairnet to keep the side wispies in, then a pony tail, then twist the rest in the little lace holder and clip on the bow. BAM. Ready to enter the ring.

3. I think they can look really classy.

Specifically, I think they look nicer than hunter hair. Yes. I said it. I'm just horrifying people all over the place today, aren't I? But think about it: they allow people with long hair to clip that hair up neatly and quickly. Done well, they have a simple velvet bow that blends right into the helmet, and the pouch part is basically a black hairnet. Having it attached all together reduces the chances of it flopping around.

There are bad apples in every bunch that ruin it for the rest of us.
Like people who wear this. This show bow is UGLY.
Yep, this one too. Blech.

But are you really going to tell me that flyaway hair is better than a show bow?

So, there's my spiel. Does anyone out there wear one? Do you now want to set me on fire? Why do you like or dislike them?


  1. I want to burn all the show bows. They look like little sacks of poop hanging on the back of the neck. Or a tumor. With a little bit of technique anyone can do "hunter hair" with just a hairnet... no doubling up, no bobby pins. And it looks a lot neater/less distracting. Sorry, you can't convince me on this one! ;)

  2. I second Amanda, hate hate HATE show bows. I do "hunter hair" for every ride, every lesson, with only 1 bobby pins, no hair ties, no glue. I've seen all kinds of riders with various hair lengths do a successful "hunter hair" so I know it can be done. Sorry, I can't be convinced either! :)

    1. I also forgot to mention, the "flyaway hair" that's sometimes seen in the jumper rings irritates me to no end. Like, I get that the jumpers are more casual and you can dress yourself and your poneh however you choose: but can you PLEASE get a $1 hairnet and look like a presentable rider???


  3. Show bow. I wear one. My hair is too thick to get under a helmet unless I size up 2 sizes, or I cut my hair. The first option isn't safe, and the second isn't happening. So, I french braid into a pony tail, swirl into a bun, and pin and clip. I showed hunter for years, and definitely KNOW how to do some stellar hunter hair. I just don't.

    Flyaway hair, though? Omg. No. Blonde show bows? Omg. No. Even if you have platinum hair, wear a black one. Please.

    If I wasn't doing dressage, and instead showing hunters or jumpers, I would certainly conform to hunter hair. I'd have a separate helmet that just fit with my hair under it and go for it.

    But I don't. Thank god. ;)

  4. I never managed to convince myself that "hunter hair" with my regular helmet was a good idea, given that the helmet fit brilliantly with my hair down.
    But I also never quite mastered the art of convincing all my hair to fit in a show bow.. and given my hair is now waist-length, perhaps I may not ever. (Or I won't go back to jumping. Who knows?)

  5. never did the show bow thing bc i'd still need another hairnet for major flyaways and frizzies by my temples/ears... and i only need one hairnet for hunter hair (no pins or anything)... but i don't really have anything against them since i prefer neat and tidy to loose hair or ponytails

  6. I think I had a show bow once, when I was very first starting out. Pony Club was a very hairnet-oriented organization, though, so I quickly stopped wearing it.

    That said, I definitely see why some people like them! As a person with long, thick hair, it can be a real pain to get it shoved into my helmet. And the tack store's mobile unit that stays on the East Coast dressage circuit sells a TON of them. TON.

  7. I hate show bows, but I hate loose pony tails at shows more. For most rides I do the loose pony tail, but I would never show like that. Neat and tidy is always better, even if it is in an awful show bow ;)

  8. I hate to agree with everyone - I think they look terrible! Much prefer neatly tied back in a hairnet. :)

  9. Aw, was about to share your post since you share my love for show bows! I'm very sorry you don't enjoy our peony bow. Hopefully there are other Spiced bows you like. ☺️


Thanks for commenting! It's great to hear from you.