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Refinery29

Finally, it’s fashionable to be a rider

If you don’t know a girl on horseback, are not one yourself, or haven’t seen one on TV shows like Wildfire, girls on horseback are, quite simply, girls who love horses. Sometimes they straddle them – but they don’t have to; you can be a horse girl if you have never even been in the presence of a horse. The Horse Girls watched Spirit on VHS on a regular basis and preferred Felicity – another horse girl – to other American Girl dolls. The OC’s Summer Roberts was a Horse Girl (hello, Princess Sparkle), Beyoncé is a Horse Girl, and Kacey Musgraves is definitely a Horse Girl. But despite their representation at A-level, until recently, true horse riders didn’t exactly have a vaunted social status. Their unusually long hair was pulled back, and their detailed horse designs folded back and circled the class. Urban Dictionary describes them as “girls galloping on the track during gym class.” And frankly, some do: In Finland, horseback riding, according to the Wall Street Journal, is a booming sport that involves young girls riding fake horses, made of cloth or plastic horse heads attached to them. The sticks. But it’s not just the amateur girls who have been teased. Even those whose horse-related interests ended in My Little Pony t-shirts and binder stickers were often banned from sitting at the cool kids’ table. In recent years, however, horse girls have found themselves the center of attention – and not because they can gracefully climb over a fence while galloping on all fours. Riding girls around the world were confirmed when Musgraves performed “High Horse” at the Houston Rodeo in 2019. At the same time, the Western tropes were (once again) enjoying maximum popularity, with cowboy boots. embossed Ganni and the Canadian tuxedos spotted on every # GanniGirl from New York to Copenhagen, and Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road (Remix)” – which has seen the singer in an enviable selection of cowboy items for the clip – reaching the top of the music charts. View this post on Instagram A post shared by KACEYMUSGRAVES (@spaceykacey) Today, celebrities don’t wear lace bodysuits riding in a crowded arena, or a custom hot pink cowboy hat at the Grammys. Instead, like most things this year, the horse girl’s look has mellowed since the pandemic, becoming more of the outdoors – think cottagecore vibes – than gaudy. With nowhere to go except the outdoors, everyday girls have become standard sightings on social media and beyond. It started with Gigi and Bella Hadid, who spent the majority of their forties last year on their sprawling farm in Pennsylvania, where every day is an episode of The Saddle Club. This is where Gigi photographed her little sister for Elle’s August cover – a shoot that included photos of her snuggling up to her horse while wearing Hermés leather leggings, cleaning it in a Saint blazer. Laurent and the amount in a Dior dress. Since that shoot, Bella has posed with her horse on Instagram on countless occasions, calling him her “fearless son” and braiding his mane as you would your best friend’s hair. On Instagram, entire lifestyle brands have embraced the sudden demand for equestrian style, like Recreational Habits, which launched into the pandemic and includes an organized mood board titled @rhequestrianclub and preppy athletic wear. The tracks, too, have fallen in love with the horse girls. A model on a horse, despite wearing a wedding dress, closed the Chanel Spring 21 Haute Couture show, while Celine’s fall 21 film featured a line of Generation Z models on horseback. The most glaring equestrian demonstration was at the Gucci Fall 21 show, when models wore whips and crops while wearing tailored riding boots, helmets and velor blazers. Some models wore harnesses – others wore them. The film presenting the new collection ended with every horse girl’s dream: two white stallions. In turn, items of clothing that once lived only in the wardrobes of real riders become pillars of the closet for all. Knee-length boots, like the ones featured at the Gucci runway, topped the ankle-length and above-the-knee styles on our spring wish lists, while cowboy boots continue to reign supreme on the catwalks. Stirrup leggings, a big trend of the last year, alone have given leggings a fresh new lease on life, and shrunken and fitted polo shirts are frequently spotted on Instagram and TikTok. Arguably the most cavalier article of all – guys – is also back, and not just on Hadid or Kim Kardashian. According to fashion writer Laura Reilly, guys are the one fashion item she’s most excited to wear after the pandemic. “My friend and I are having a party in their honor,” she tells Refinery29. Reilly originally bought her leather leggings on eBay for “a Halloween that never happened.” “All of my friends have a pair in the back of their closet somewhere – they just need an excuse to wear them.” But really, with the riders taking over from fashion, is an excuse even necessary? Like what you see? How about a little more R29 goodness, here? Officially granted permission to wear cowboy boots Gucci x Balenciaga rumors are true (sort of) Chanel brought flower crowns to the runway



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