By: Brittany Bevis
One of the best parts of the holidays is having the opportunity to gather by the fireside with family and friends to relive old memories. Another tradition is pulling out those old scrapbooks to take a look at photos from days gone by.
For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we would like to feature a very special image of an adorable young equestrian, who many of our readers should be familiar with. But for now, we will simply refer to him as his chap monogram indicates, GDD.
When this particular image was taken in 1974, GDD was burning up the local shows in Alabama competing in 13 and under all-around events like western pleasure, horsemanship, trail, and showmanship. His partner in crime was a 16 hand, leopard Appaloosa named “Speck.”
“He had spots all over him, from head to tail,” GDD says. “He was so big that he didn’t even fit in the picture! He had to be six or seven years old. I think I was 11. I was tiny for my age. I know I was definitely in 13 and under still.”
“That was my first horse. We called him Speck. He was a great, big, tall horse, but he was real lazy and lethargic. He liked to go slow, so pleasure suited him. I could barely keep him cantering. I kicked the whole time. That was my fear, that I couldn’t keep him going. He was a good horse. I learned a lot of good things from that horse.”
At this specific Alabama horse show, GDD and Speck received a trophy for their efforts in a 13 and under western pleasure class. Always the fashionista, even at a young age, GDD’s ensemble for the class was a green and brown checked blazer with a pair of trendy monogrammed chaps.
“The blazer is very good, I think,” he says. “It had to be fall or something, because I wouldn’t have worn that in the summer. It was green with brown checks, and the chaps were tan. They were real bright. Back then, boys didn’t have many colors to choose from: black, brown, or tan.”
“GDD are my initials. Some judges used to think it was a reference to God and that it spelled GOD. My aunt made those for me. Back then, people had their names on their belts, buckles, and chaps. That’s how you knew people’s names. You could start a good conversation that way. It was a real cool thing to have your initials on your chaps. I was really proud of them. I was probably a year or two behind most people, but I thought I was in style!”
Completing the 70s theme, GDD stuck with a traditional Navajo-inspired saddle blanket with tassels. “Everybody wanted those,” he says. The final touch was a slightly longer fringe of hair peeking out from underneath a very high brimmed cowboy hat. Although that was certainly the style, back in the 70s, GDD admits this trend caused a headache every now and then.
“When I was real little, I had longer hair,” he says. “It was the 70s! Back then, the judges used to take their hats off if they stopped in front of a little girl to ask her to back up. I was so embarrassed if they took their hats off in front of me. I got real mad, so I would wear things that looked real manly. In the 60s, everyone had crew cuts. Then, in the 70s, it was kind of cool to have your hair longer.”
Looking at how the monogram trend is interpreted in the show pen today, we uncovered photo of several equestrians who competed at the 2013 Tar Heel Triple Classic, APHA World Show, Quarter Horse Congress, and AQHA World Show, who all sported some form of a monogram on their saddles, bridles, hats, or chaps. Take a look at their photos below.
If you have a photo that you think might make for a great Throwback Thursday article, send it to email@example.com and it might be featured on our website or Facebook page. In the meantime, have you guessed what GDD stands for?
That’s right, it’s The Equine Chronicle’s own beloved Gordon Driscoll Downey!