Preparing For Your First Show: Part 1 – The Rider’s Dress Code

horse riding online

This month we’ve been assessing your readiness to enter a horse show, and how to successfully compete at the beginner rider’s level of dressage tests.

You can also take a look at the ebook Horse Riding Lessons: Training Yourself to Ride. This is an excellent how-to manual plus explanatory video and a useful horse riding online tool showing how to ride the way the tests require.

The Show

Today we’ll look at how you need to be outfitted for the type of show you should start competing in.

You need to find ‘schooling shows,’ locally run competitions designed to encourage the amateur rider. Look up your area’s dressage association by searching online. At the barn where you take horseback lessons, ask other riders where they compete. Your instructor will be able to help you, too.

The local tack store is another source of information on shows in your area.

The Rider

Since you’ll be starting out by going to schooling shows, the dress code for riders will be more relaxed than at the nationally licensed competitions. Your local horse riding association will give exact details online about their dress code, but you will be safe if you wear the following:

  • a black riding helmet which meets ASTM standards and is SEI certified
  • a polo shirt (white is best)
  • light or white riding pants
  • long black boots, or short boots with chaps (but not the Western kind)
  • white gloves

For this level it’s not necessary to purchase a show jacket, especially since most shows are in the summer when the weather is hot. It’s a useful item to have, but if you use it in dressage or jumping competitions, you also need to wear a stock tie with stock pin on a proper riding shirt.  Save this expense for when you know you’ll be competing a lot.

Go to local shows as a spectator before competing and see what the riders are wearing to get a better idea of what is acceptable.

Next we’ll be looking at the horse’s dress code.

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