Every year, more equestrians try their hand at Dressage competitions. It’s a great way to focus your training, highlighting strengths and weaknesses – for both you and your horse!
Many people start with unaffiliated competitions, which are often run under British Dressage rules. It’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with these guidelines to ensure you do not get eliminated before the competition has even begun!
What to Wear – the Rider
In line with the British Dressage rules, ‘Introductory to Advanced Medium Tests (including FEI Junior tests) – uniform, short jacket or tweed coat with correctly tied stock/white round collar or shirt and tie and protective hat’. The jackets worn must be of a ‘conservative colour’, with no bright colours or patterns. For those just starting out, these jackets are relatively affordable; take a look at this selection from Hope Valley Saddlery where you can see the range available.
Body protectors in a conservative colour may also be worn. Hats to the current standard must be worn at all times when mounted, also in a conservative colour. Gloves must also be worn. There is no guidelines stated on the colour of the gloves, but we would recommend Black, Navy, White or Cream.
Breeches or jodhpurs must be a plain white, cream or canary yellow colour – so try to keep them clean! Wearing waterproofs or joggers over the top of your breeches whilst warming up is a great way to keep them cleaner for longer. Remember to change into your trusty old jodhpurs before tacking the cheesy chips…
What to Wear – the Horse
Good news! You may use stirrups of any colour – so those blingy rose gold stirrups are good to go.
Saddlepads are ‘to be predominantly white/cream or a conservative colour. Contrasting piping is permitted.’ From this, we would suggest the following colour combinations from our range:
• White with White binding
• White with Silver Braid (White) binding
• Black with Black binding
• Black with Silver Braid (Black) binding
• Brown with Brown binding
• Grey with Grey binding
Your saddle pad may also feature a sponsor’s logo, providing it is no bigger than 200cm2. When embroidering your logos, we always make sure we work to these guidelines.
For ‘matchy-matchy’ lovers, ear covers may also be worn! These must also be discreet in colour, must not cover the horse’s eyes or be fastened to the noseband. Bandages and boots are not permitted, so remember to remove these before you enter the boards.
You may use a neck strap or balancing strap – a great idea throughout the levels, especially on ‘sharp’ horses. If you’d like to double check any more tack requirements, take a look at the BD member’s handbook here.
If you’re still not sure, you can always contact the organiser’s office of the show you’re attending. They will usually be happy to provide guidance and advice. You could even go along to a show without your horse to see what it’s all about – and sample the local cuisine, of course…