Shopping at the Washington International Horse Show

As the weather cools and fall approaches in downtown Washington, D.C., the concourse at Capital One Arena is most commonly filled with hockey fans. However, for six days in October, it is nirvana for show jumping fans and shopaholics. WIHS not only transforms Capital One Arena into a hotspot for top-caliber competition, it is also a shopping paradise for any horse sport lover.

“The Washington International Horse Show has become one of the most cherished horse shows on the North American schedule, but we also take pride in the fact that it is iconic among riders and fans alike,” said WIHS President Victoria Lowell. “Thanks to shopping, special events, and competition, we have actively engaged the D.C. community and beyond our celebrated sport. You don’t have to be a rider or own a horse to enjoy the experiences offered at the Washington International Horse Show; you just have to love horses.”

Here’s a preview of the 2017 shopping experience at WIHS:

It’s not a horse show without breeches, boots, and shadbellies. From one-stop tack stores to luxury equestrian brands, boutiques for the rider are plentiful at WIHS whether that rider is searching for a first pair of custom boots from Der Dau or hoping to find a pair of breeches they will want to live in at JODS. New to WIHS in 2017, Charles Ancona will showcase custom, technical, and fashion-forward show coats on the concourse at Capital One Area.

“I don’t follow the trends; I try to make the trends,” said Ancona, who designed technical ski wear before breaking into the equestrian market. “I think that is how I moved to the forefront of the jacket market, [by] differentiating myself. What I am really excited about right now is that my jackets are discipline specific. No one has done a hunter jacket, an equitation jacket, and a jumper jacket, but now there are intricacies that make each one perfect for a specific discipline.

“People are looking for certain things in their competition wear and the first is coolness,” continued Ancona. “People have to be comfortable in the hot weather. The other is structure; you can’t utilize a stretch fabric that looks like a legging or a bathing suit for a show coat. It has to have structure and that is what I look for in my fabrics. I am also really proud of the design elements we focus on: a vent system, hidden pockets, and custom, built-in cuffs.”

For Ancona, the goal is to make riders feel like they are not wearing any jacket at all when competing.

It is not just competition wear that shoppers can find at WIHS. Equestrian-inspired street fashion from the bling of Enise and Ex Voto Vintage Jewelry, to clothing from Saratoga Saddlery, Outback Survival Gear, and Fab Finds by Sarah offer an all-around fashion experience.

“Equestrian style is usually very classic with a hip edge, and I think that describes my own style, so having my pieces at horse shows has been a perfect fit,” said Fab Finds by Sarah founder Sarah Rowen, who is attending WIHS for the first time this year. “My overall goal is to provide luxury at an affordable price.”

When asked about current trends in equestrian fashion, Rowen noted, “For colors, wine and burgundy are really popular right now, as well as grays and dusty, rose pinks. We are seeing tons of really fun sneakers as well as distressed skinny jeans rather than the ripped look that was popular, which makes for a more wearable, less casual look.

“I see people really loving my skull cashmere line as well as the charging bags that I just added to the collection,” continued Rowen. “Who doesn’t need a phone charger at some point throughout their day? They make the perfect gift and are also really stylish.”

In addition to traditional boutiques, the WIHS Silent Auction is a favorite among the show’s patrons each and every year. From equine fashions to vacation packages, past auction items have included tickets to New York City’s own “Saturday Night Live”, a riding lesson from Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden, a Tailored Sportsman shopping spree, and so much more. Stop by the WIHS silent auction to see what is up for bid this year! Bidding takes place on-site at Capital One Arena, but also online thanks to innovative digital bid technology.

An equestrian tradition since 1958, WIHS is the country's leading metropolitan indoor horse show and has successfully combined the fanfare of the world’s top riders with the attraction of seeing internationally known horses in the heart of the nation’s capital. Whether it is for the shopping, for the atmosphere, or for the competition, there is something for every horse sport fan at WIHS.