How To Dress For A Dressage Show
 By EquestrianLady   •   30th Dec 2009   •   5,416 views   •   3 comments
How To Dress For A Dressage ShowIf you present a neat and correct overall appearance, you'll put the judge in a good mood when you ride into the dressage show arena. It's not that difficult to do if you follow some basic rules.

The Rider

The clothing requirements for a schooling show are more relaxed than for a licensed one, where you’re expected to wear a proper black or dark blue show coat. It's fine not to wear one at a local show.

When wearing a jacket, you’ll need a stock tie or choker, with a stock pin.

With or without a jacket, put on a white riding or regular polo shirt - long or short-sleeved but not sleeveless. If jackets are waived at a licensed show(i.e. you don't have to ride in one) competitors must wear a ‘solid white or very pale colored long or short sleeved shirt without neckwear.’ This goes for schooling shows, too.

The USEF allows adults to wear jodhpur (short) boots, but they’re normally worn by children. Adults wear tall riding boots. Rubber or leather look-alikes are fine for a schooling show or you can add half-chaps to jodhpur boots to get that long boot appearance. The USEF allows these through First Level, but some local dressage associations don’t, so be sure and check their rules.

Invest in a cheap pair of white riding gloves, and buy a riding helmet which meets current ASTM standards and is SEI certified. Don’t get a used one, as it could have unseen damage. The helmet should have a black cover for dressage and fit very snugly.

Other than in championship classes, you can carry a whip 120 centimeters or less in length. Spurs must be metal with a curved or straight shank pointing directly back from the center of the spur when on the rider’s boot. Rowels must be free to rotate, and dummy spurs are allowed.

See below for suggestions of where to find riding clothes.

The Horse

For a licensed show you have to braid your horse’s mane, but not for a schooling show where almost nobody does this.

Your horse's saddle should be an English type with stirrups, but it needn’t be a dressage saddle. The saddle blanket should be white or of a conservative color. (White looks best.)

For Introductory through Second Level tests, ride in a plain snaffle bridle with a regular cavesson or a dropped, flash, crossed or crescent noseband. A padded noseband is allowed, and a chin pad with the cavesson.

The Rule Book has an exhaustive list of permitted bits with drawings. These include the ordinary single or jointed snaffle, the egg-butt, with upper or lower cheeks, and the unjointed snaffle.

It’s vital to note the following list of absolute no-nos in the dressage ring:

• Any kind of boots or bandages, including tail bandages
• Martingales, bit guards, any kind of gadgets
• Any form of blinkers, earmuffs or earplugs
• Seat covers
• Hoods: but fly hoods which don’t cover the horse’s eyes are allowed.

If you put any of the above items on your horse, you'll get eliminated, so be careful! A common error is putting boots or bandages on the horse for the warm-up and forgetting to remove them before going into the ring.

'Extravagant decoration' of the horse is forbidden. If you add eye-catching ‘bling’ to your horse’s or your own outfit the judge will suspect you’re trying to take her attention away from a riding problem, and she'll be looking for that rather than being impressed by the glitter!

Dressage is designed to show off the talent and training of the horse. If you present a conservative, correct and tidy appearance as you enter the ring, the judge will be looking to give you good marks. As they say, you only have one chance to make a good impression!

Check out the following websites:

For show gear:

For the rules of dressage attire and permitted saddlery:
Paragraphs DR120 and DR121

In my next article I’ll be talking about successfully filling out a dressage entry form.
Horse News More In This Category:  Dressage      Horse News More From This Author:  EquestrianLady
ok thanks that is really good tips,... im going to a dressage and jumping show on the 9th and 10th so perfect timing!!!
  44 days ago  •  3,501 views
I really like all these Dressage Newsletters. How do you do them on here? I am really trying to get my parent's to let me try some Dressage and such. Thanks so much!
  43 days ago  •  3,399 views
Ebony Acres  
You can also get good-quality at for Canada.
  Mar 14, 2010  •  3,410 views
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