Buy a pair of long riding boots with a low heel and no laces.,
Fit yourself with a pair of neutral, light coloured breeches or jodhpurs in cream, beige or white, although bright white is the classic choice.,
Wear a black belt if your breeches have belt loops.
Buy a white riding shirt that fits well and allows you to move freely.,
Tie your white or cream stock around your neck with a flat knot.,
Wear a black or navy competition jacket that fits well and allows you to move freely.,
Get fitted for a velvet-covered helmet.,
Secure long hair in a bun or hairnet.,
Wear a small amount of makeup on the eyes and lips, but keep it light and natural.
Keep neat and tidy.,
Good sportsmanship is a necessity in dressage, if you are causing a disturbance or arguing with the judge you will be disqualified.
These are normally black, but can be brown. The European design, which are taller, have overtaken the more traditional hunting boots. The outside of the boot is extended to partially cover the knee. This gives the leg a longer appearance. At lower levels, jodhpur (short) boots and matching garters are allowed. Children are allowed to wear jodhpur boots on their own. Half chaps shouldn’t be worn. Be sure to clean and polish your boots well before a show.;
, Breeches are more comfortable under long boots and garters, and are also cooler. Many dressage riders wear ‘full seat’ breeches, or jodhpurs with a patch of grippy leather over the seat. This helps to ‘stick’ you to the saddle. Whether you prefer full seat or regular, wash them well. No stains allowed!
,, If it is warm or you have a heavy jacket you can choose to wear a bib, which looks like a shirt when a jacket is over the top. If it is very warm you may be allowed to compete without jackets, and you will also want the warm up without a jacket. If you think that jackets may be waived, make sure the shirt is a flattering fit and well ironed. Make sure it has a small loop at the back of the neck for your stock.
, Pin the tails to your shirt with small safety pins and insert a stock pin horizontally though the knot.
, Make sure that the sleeves cover your wrist ever so slightly when your arms are bent. You may also want to invest in a tailor in order to improve the fit of the jacket. Try to wear a suitable weight for the weather. At lower levels you can wear a tweed hacking jacket, at higher levels you must wear tails and a waistcoat. Dark brown jackets are now making their way into the arena, but can get a mixed response from the judges. Black is the safe, traditional color choice.
, Choose a colour to match your jacket. At all rated levels you can wear a top hat, beagle or bowler, although you will not be penalized for wearing a helmet and many shows require a helmet with fasteners (riders under the age of 12 must wear a certified helmet) . At lower levels, especially in eventing (you are now required to wear a helmet while jumping) you can wear a hat with a velvet cover.
, If you are wearing a hat rather then a helmet you will have to remove it when saluting the judges, therefore extra care is needed to make sure both long and short hair is neat under the hat. For men with long hair it is best to secure the hair in a tight knot at the back of the head with a black hair band, all hair must be up.
,, On the wrong canter lead? Smile, it’s counter-canter. Can’t remember the test? Smile, it’s freestyle. Keep smiling no matter what – it will endear you to the judges and the crowd.
, At the show, make sure everything is clean, starched and well-fitting, and you will look like a champ before you even enter the ring!
, So be nice and have Fun!