We’ve checked out your show day outfit. Now let’s look at what the horse needs to wear.
Although saddle blankets come in interesting colors these days, don’t use them in a test! A white one looks more polished, and you want to make a good impression on the judge.
The bridle and bit need to be English not Western style. You’re safest with a snaffle bit or a Happy Mouth (which I use). Make sure you and your horse are used to an allowed bit in your horse riding lessons.
A comprehensive list of permissible dressage show bits can be found in Rule DR121 of the USEF Rule Book at http://www.usef.org/documents/ruleBook/2010/08-DR.pdf
Rule DR121 covers the dress code. Paragraph 1 covers the saddle, Paragraph 2 covers the bridle, and Paragraph 15 covers bits permitted in dressage.
Even though the rules don’t mention the Introductory Tests – as they were created by the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) and not the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) – USEF regulations also apply to the Introductory Tests.
Here are some other simple rules to bear in mind:
- You cannot use a martingale in a dressage test, but a breast plate is allowed.
- You should remove martingale stops from your reins.
- Remove ALL bandages, over reach boots, exercise boots, etc. from your horse.
- YOU WILL BE ELIMINATED if your horse is wearing anything on his legs!
- Make sure your riding whip is no longer than 120cm
Check Paragraph 7 of DR121 for a full list of prohibited equipment.
By watching riders at a competition before you enter one, you’ll see how their horses are tacked up. Don’t be afraid to ask competitors questions: they are usually very happy to help.
Next we’ll be looking at how to prepare for show day.