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Riding Habit Revised a column where the best and worst of equestrian fashion and decor is reviewed with a modern edge. 


AKEHCMBF – a random assortment of letter from the Roman alphabet that serve as directions for equestrians of every language. Letters whose origin remains a bit of a mystery to even illustrious organizations like the United States Dressage Federation. On the USDF website they share the following explanation:

USDF-logo-blueWhere the letters originated from is not certain, but an article in the British Dressage magazine (June/July 2000), states that in the old Imperial German court, the walls of the stable yard were initially marked with letters indicating where each courier and/or rider’s horse was to stand awaiting it’s rider. Eventually, the royal stable yard was used for schooling, training and exercising of the horse, hence the current use of the letters in the dressage arena.

K – Kaiser/King
F – Furst/Prince
V – Vassal
P – Pferdknecht/Ostler
E – Edeling/Ehrengast/Guest of Honour
B – Bannertrager/Standard Bearer
S – Schzkanzler/Chancellor of the Exchequer
R – Ritter/Knight
H – Hofmarshall/Lord Chancellor
M – Meier/Steward

Of course, this explanation leaves certain letters unaccounted for, and scholars surmise that additional letters, like A, C, and X, were added later as needed.

All in all, the story of arena letters, albeit mysterious, is not very fashionable. That’s where the designers come in to save the day! Wearing the mnemonic device for the letters: “All King Edward’s Horses Can Manage Big Fences,” is both mysterious and stylish for equestrian outsiders. Get the look with this King Edward Sweetheart Tee from Spiced.

The "King Edward" Sweetheart Tee" from Spiced

The “King Edward” Sweetheart Tee” from Spiced

Or you can remember AKEHCMBF via an unexpectedly edgy leather cuff from Etsy seller Equine Expressions by D.

Hand Stamped Dressage Leather Cuff by Equine Expressions by D

Hand Stamped Dressage Leather Cuff by Equine Expressions by D

Need some artwork around the home or stable that will remind riders of these key letters before mounting up? Try prints from the Etsy store Lemongrass and Linen. There you will find many equestrian prints like this one, that is a fun reminder of your riding directionals!

Framed Mirrored Horses Dressage 24x18 Print from Lemongrass and Linen

Framed Mirrored Horses Dressage 24×18 Print from Lemongrass and Linen

You can click on the pictures to purchase each of the items above. And once you are in the store, I encourage you to look around for a while. Each of these retailers are chocked-full of fun equestrian fashion and décor!

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