How to Dress for an English Horse Show if You Are a Male



Wear a helmet.,
Pick a suitable shirt.,
Buy a jacket.,
Buy gloves.,
Buy supporters (preferred for males).,
Pick out breeches.,
Buy socks made specifically for riding.,
Buy boots.

For virtually all English shows (excluding dressage) a helmet is required. There are a couple types of helmets to choose from. The all-velvet helmet. It is the traditional helmet of the sport and has a low profile. The velvet and strip. This is becoming the most popular helmet for shows. It is all velvet except for a ventilation strip going down the front. The dark helmet. This can be any helmet that is dark enough to pass for velvet. You can also buy velvet covers for helmets to convert a schooling helmet into a show one. You can buy a helmet at most tack shops. They should fit you there. The helmet should be tight enough not to move around on your head, but not tight enough to cut off circulation.;
, The standard shirt is a white button down shirt with a collar, although most light colors are allowed. In some shows, a polo shirt is allowed due to the heat or casualness of the show and host barn. With the shirt, you will need a tie that does one of the following: Matches your breeches and/or the braids of your horse. Goes nicely with your jacket. You can purchase a Shirt and Tie at any clothing outlet.

, Unless otherwise stated, you are expected to wear a show jacket in the ring. The jackets you wear can be many different colors, but the safest (most preferred and popular with judges) colors would be black, gray, or navy blue. Please heed this advice: if you are amazingly wealthy, you might want to buy a specially-made men’s show coat. However, since they cost more than $500, go to a normal clothing store and buying a jacket that fits nice and does not go over $130.

You almost always wear a number on the outside of your jacket so loop the string around one of the buttons and then push the button through the hole. Then tie the two ends of the string together and this will secure your number. Also, make sure the jacket has some sort of flap in the back so it looks like a show jacket.

, Gloves are preferred by the judge and can help protect your hands if your horse is a little up at a show. You have a fairly wide range to choose from. The best color to go with is black unless riding dressage or sidesaddle. You can find gloves all over the place. Just Google “riding gloves”.

Synthetic: Synthetic gloves are cheaper, more durable and washable, and are generally cooler in the summer. They can look like leather, but most do not. These are good if you are on a tight budget or just getting into showing.
Leather: Leather gloves are more expensive, but they look nicer and can be very light and durable depending on the price and brand. These are what the most traditional riders wear and have a very comfortable grip.
Hybrids: These gloves are the best of both worlds: they are a mix of leather (which gives them a nice, traditional appearance) and synthetic materials (which make them lighter, cheaper, and gives them a better grip). They also usually come with ventilation strips on the back of them.

, The main disadvantage of being a male rider is that we have to protect more of our bodies than females have to. So, you have to wear a supporter, even in a show. The best ones are the ones that you can find in an athletic department. Make sure that the supporter is not designed to hold a cup because that means there is too much space for your testicles to fall. It must be tight and hold them up and close to your body. You can buy them at many clothes stores. Do not use a cup.

, There is an ongoing debate on which color of breeches should be worn at shows. You should only wear light colors in the range of rust, beige, tan, and light khaki (white for dressage). They should fit tightly and be durable. You can find breeches at any tack store. You should find a belt that matches your coat. The belt must be narrow enough to fit through the small belt loops on your breeches.

, Cotton socks are fine for barn work and schooling, but for shows, riding socks will help you maintain greater control of your feet. They also wick away the sweat from your feet, which is good because dress boots are extremely hot.

, This is a large topic, especially with men’s boots. There are 3 basic options for boots; lace/zip, dress/field, and leather/synthetic.

Lace/Zip- It is extremely difficult to find pull-up boots for men anymore. Many prefer pull-ons because they fit your leg better and do not break as easily. If you can find a pair that fits and you can afford them, do yourself a favor and buy them (you’ll have to buy a boot jack also). Otherwise buy a zip-up pair. Make sure the zipper is not made of plastic, as they will break easier.
Dress/field- The only difference between them is that dress boots do not have a lace while the field boots do (it can be real or fake). If you buy a field pair, make sure the laces are in good shape so they don’t break on you (it has happened to me).
Leather/synthetic- The same general rules apply with boots as they do with gloves. Synthetic is cheaper, washable, etc. Make sure you are truly happy with your boots before you buy them; they are a large investment and should make you feel happy about buying them. Make sure you break your boots in at least 1 month before a show. Especially with zipper boots. Otherwise, you will be in pain and, as a result, your equitation and control will suffer greatly.

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