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Equine Apparel Needed for Dressage
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Equine Apparel Needed for Dressage

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.

White Stock

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.

Velvet-Covered Helmet

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!

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  1. naturegirl
    Great post! I voted!
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  2. jst4horses
    I do not mean to be cranky here, but I learned to ride at a very young age. I trained with professional trainers, learning how to train, not just ride as a teen. One of them was the only Native America to ever win in three day eventing in the Olympics, he was military and calvary back in the days when only calvary could be in the equine Olympic events. I learned about Austrian Calvary methods used at the Spanish Riding School with the Lipizaner and I went every chance I got to see them, especially when they were purchased and brought to Medieval Times originally I train horses in shorts, tee shirts, and if at home bare footed. I do wear boots, and when I trained at the track, I wore boots, and jeans and an old tee shirt. When I trained in show barns, not one horse ever said, "OH MY NO, YOU can't train ME, you are not dressed properly" When I put together my own teams or exhibition, from veteran and high risk groups of youths, I wanted my own style. My riders wore a Mounted LAPD boot they could have custom made to their own leg in a store near our stable. They wore Levi jackets with the arms cut off and our Spirit Horse or Dragonmaster Logos embroidered on them. They work black levi's and a white ruffled tuxedo shirt. Native American colors of bow ties, that matched the bows on their helmets or top hats, The teams chose. I think that some of the most amazing looking groups I have worked with are the veterans equine therapy groups that do their exhibition riding in the dress uniforms of the branch of the service they were in, with those same black LAPD mounted boots. Irealize the article is about dressage, but many of us do dressage, without the same uniform. One of my horses was in the Rose Parade just past, borrowed by a young woman for the whole year to work with her team, she wore a beautiful full ruffled dress and used a side saddle. I think it is important to remind ourselves that horses like to play games with us, and that the most beautifully highly trained horses ever in dressage are the actual Spanish Riding School Lipizaner and the most beautiful sight ever is the old video tape of them being ridden not in dressage gear, but in whatever was available as they were rescued in World War II, and again in the wars in Bosnia when the stud farm was taken over and the horses were being eaten, We, at International Horse Rescue raised funds, with horse rescues all over the world, to buy packaged, beef to exchange for those horses to be released and brought out of the area of the war.
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