Dressage is a popular event in horsemanship competitions. What a competitor wears is extremely important in order to look the part and wow the judges. Traditionally, competitors are required to wear formal clothing, but it also needs to be practical for horseback riding. Here are some of the common types of apparel required for dressage.
Dressage Show Coat
A show coat is generally a black dress coat with long sleeves and buttons down the front. It is meant to be very fitted and should be tailored to the rider so it fits properly around the waist and arms.
Tall Dress Boots
Riders wear long dress boots that are normally black, tall and shiny. They may have embellishments, but do not have buttons or laces since they are custom fit to each rider.
White Breeches (Pants)
You can get away with tan or beige pants, but white is best! Make sure you guard the color and only wear them while competing since stains are not allowed. Breeches are comfortable and cool and you can also wear “full seat” breeches that have a strip of leather on the seat. The key is trying not to slide off while riding.
White Riding Shirt
Wear a solid white riding shirt that doesn’t wrinkle easily and offers a snug fit. Some competitions allow you to ride without your jacket, which is cooler, so it’s worth investing in a good shirt.
Wear the white stock around your neck with a flat knot. After it’s tied, use safety pins to secure the tails to your shirt and be sure that no pins are showing.
The color of the velvet-covered helmet is flexible, but it needs to match your jacket. Many competitions require wearing a helmet but certain rated shows offer the flexibility to wear a top hat, bowler or beagle. If you are just getting started in dressage, opt to buy a fitted helmet.
Review the rules and restrictions for each horse show you plan on attending so you are not disqualified because of a minor dressing code error. Purchasing these items requires an investment, but it’s worth it to get to the next level!