Ad Critique

What exactly is going on in this photograph?

Page 43 Architectural Digest,  June 2015
Page 43
Architectural Digest, June 2015

From context, I assume they are aiming for a high-end effect.


The rider has a dressage saddle, a shadbelly coat (I think), and white gloves, all of which indicates upper-level dressage.

However, the horse has a snaffle bridle, which indicates lower-level dressage; martingale stops on the reins, which says jumper; and a bad braid job, which is just laziness. That’s not even considering why the rider is posting, what the rider’s hands are trying to achieve, or why the browband is falling over the horse’s eyes.

With all the money spent on this ad, you’d think they could find a find a decent photo. But then, I am not their audience. Architectural Digest does not feature houses where the primary design themes are mud and dog hair.

Arch Digest cov

7 thoughts on “Ad Critique

  1. Maybe this does work for their target audience – people who have more money than sense. They can buy that fancy does-everything dressage horse, and the boots and the gloves and the jacket and everything else. What they can’t buy is a clue about what they’re doing up there … and so maybe that’s not posting, maybe it’s a very early stage in the process of falling off ;-P

    I’m in touch with my inner bitch today it seems!

    1. At least the boots fit. If you’ve ever seen one of those really hoity toity ads for rich-people stores, a lot of times the models are wearing boots with gaps at the top that you could fit your hand into.

  2. Could be one-star through four-star eventing… double bridles are legal but rarely used. Someone at Rolex had martingale stops in dressage. Browband looks like the new U-shaped fashion to me. Hands could just be snapped at a bad moment. But usually a pro groom braids you very nicely for FEI events… As a former groom, that’s the one thing I can’t get past!

  3. Agree on bad braid job. Snaffles are permitted all the way through in eventing and I believe through Fourth level in dressage.

  4. Looks like an awkward moment in eventing dressage. Perhaps a one-star. Amateur competitor dressing it up, but her horse rubbed out half of his braids 20 min before she was due in the ring … it happens. 🙂 More to the point, choosing this photograph is what happens when an art director for a furniture company’s ad department has five minutes to select something that sorta says elegant and swanky to her … without being too, too fussy on the details.

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