Horze Guide

How-to: Dress to Win


There are a few things to keep in mind when preparing for a horse show. With compliance with USEF rulebook and our helpful hints, you’ll make a great first impression in any arena. It is important to note that USEF can change; so it is important to check the rule book before your competition.

Here is a quick reference to the USEF rule book: it is important to periodically check the USEF Rule Book since the rules may change. There are a few exceptions that apply to FEI level riders, as well as junior, young horse, and pony classes. Be sure to check the rule book directly for these in addition to USDF Pas de Deux and Quadrille, and for individuals with Federation dispensation Certificates and for armed services/police uniforms.

For the Dressage Rider

Dressage riders typically are outfitted in dress boots, white full seat breeches, show shirts, and black jackets. There are many variations riders can choose between, such as show shirts. They can either be long or short sleeved. Shirts can be light in color with a white collar and stock time especially if you are wearing a coat.

USEF Rule Book:

DR120 Article 1: “The dress code for Training through Fourth Levels is a short riding coat of conservative color, with tie, choker or stock tie, white or light-colored breeches or Jodhpurs, boots or Jodhpur boots, and protective headgear as defined in DR 120.5 and in compliance with GR801. A cutaway coat (modified tailcoat) with short tails is permitted. Half chaps, gaiters and/or leggings are not allowed. Gloves of conservative color are recommended. Exception: Riders through First Level may wear half-chaps, gaiters or leggings in solid black or brown, without fringe, matching the color of their boots, and made of smooth leather or leather-like material.”

For the Hunter/Jumper Ride

Riding into the arena, hunters and jumpers have a slight differentiation in clothing. Hunters are found in beige breeches, a light color show shirt, and a conservative colored show coat. The color for coats can range from the most popular color, navy, to an olive color. Jumpers have more freedom to wear brightly colored polo shirts. During classics or higher level classes riders often opt to wear the traditional white breeches, show shirt, and navy or black coat. For equitation riders, the clothing tends to be a little stricter. Those competing in equitation riders are judged on themselves rather than their horses. With that said, they must be equipped in the proper attire, which includes beige breeches, white show shirt, and navy jacket. Both hunter riders and jumper riders finish their look with a pair of polished boots.

USEF Rule Book:

EQ109: “Riders should wear coats of any tweed or Melton for hunting (conservative wash jackets in season), breeches, or jodhpurs and boots. Conservative colored protective headgear with no additional adornments in accordance with GR801.3 is mandatory.”

JP111.7: “Formal Attire: Black, blue, green, green, grey, scarlet or similar coats are permitted; white or fawn breeches; a white tie, choker or hunting stock, and a white or lightly colored shirt must be worn. Shirts must have a white collar and cuffs.”

JP111.5: “Management, as its discretion, may allow compete without riding coats. If a riding coat is not worn, riders must wear a shirt with a collar or a choker, neatly tucked into riding breeches. A windbreaker jacket or raincoat may be worn if conditions require. In all cases, riders must appear neatly attired to appear before the public or be subject to penalty of elimination by judges.”

To Top it Off

In Hunter/Jumpers and Dressage an ASTM/SEI helmet must be worn at all time on showground premises. In addition to helmet, riders in hunter, jumper, and equitation wear black gloves. Dressage riders are recommended to wear conservative color gloves, such as black or white.

Both Hunter/Jumpers and Dressage should finish their look with a belt. Belts give you an opportunity to show off your personal style. Once you add a belt your look is complete!

USEF Rule Book:

GR801: “It is compulsory for all persons at Federation licensed hunter, jumper, or hunter/jumper competitions when mounted anywhere on the competition grounds, to wear properly fastened protective headgear which meets or exceeds ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag.”

DR120.5: “At any time while mounted on the competition grounds, all riders under age 18, all riders while on horses competing in national level tests, all riders competing in Para-Equestrian tests, and all riders while on non-competing horses, must wear protective headgear as defined by this rule and otherwise in compliance with GR801. When a horse is competing in both national and FEI levels or tests (e.g. Fourth Level and PSG), the rider must wear protective headgear at al time when mounted on that horse on the competition grounds and during all tests.. Any rider violating this rule at any time must immediately be prohibited from further riding until such headgear is properly in place. Any other exhibitor may wear protective headgear at any level of competition without penalty from the judge. Protective headgear is defined as a riding helmet which meets or exceeds ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag. The harness must be secured and properly fitted.”

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