HOW TO DRESS THE RIDER
A timeless, traditional look for the rider competing at the beginning level of Hunter, Jumper, Eventing, or Dressage can be achieved with a black helmet, navy or black show jacket, white shirt, beige or tan breeches, and black boots. For riders who have decided to specialize in just one type of competition, each has its own "Dress Code".
Hat Or Helmet
Hunter & Equitation - Trendy riders have been wearing the European and British styled black vented micro suede or matte finished helmets. Current rules require ASTM/SEI certified helmets at all U.S. Equestrian Federation Association sanctioned shows. Apparel velvet hunt caps can still be worn by riders in some of the breed shows. ASTM/SEI certified models feature an impact absorbing inner liner of styrene and a permanently attached harness. The "apparel" hunt caps offer no head protection, but feature a sleeker profile.
Jumpers - A European or British styled black or navy micro suede or smooth matte finish is currrent. ALL riders at USEF sanctioned competitions are required to have an ASTM/SEI certified helmet.
Dressage - New USEF rules require an ASTM/SEI certified helmet for riders at all national levels. Riders in F.E.I. international level have the option of an ASTM/SEI certified helmet or a top hat. Popular colors are black or navy to match the rider's show jacket. Helmets are European or British vented designs in micro suede or smooth matte finish. For the "fashion forward", a few riders have "bling" trim on their helmets.
Eventing - For Cross Country, a helmet meeting ASTM safety standards is required. Most riders choose an ASTM/SEI certified jockey or training helmet with a nylon cover in their barn or team colors. For show jumping, a black or navy helmet meeting ASTM/SEI safety standards is required. For Dressage, an ASTM/SEI helmet is required for ALL national levels in black or navy. For FEI international level, a top hat may be worn with a shadbelly tail coat.
Training - If a rider wants head protection, choose an ASTM/SEI certified vented schooling helmet.
Hunter/Jumper Soft Field or Dress Boots - Black, tall, laced or plain instep soft field or Dress Boots with zippers up the back have become the boot of choice. These boots have a slimmer ankle profile and improved fit. Look for the extra tall profile on the outside of the boot top. Be certain to fit new boots about 1" taller than the leg length to allow for the drop in height as the boots break in and wrinkle around the ankle. The very soft boots allow for maximum flexibility in the ankle desired by jumping riders.
Eventing Soft Field or Dress Boots - Black, tall laced or plain soft instep field boots, or Dress Boots are used by most riders for all phases. If a rider desires, they may wear a stiffer dress style boot for the Dressage phase.
Dressage - The very stiff Dressage dress boot with an inside front zipper in black is the choice of most Dressage competitors. The boot features a stiffer rod up the back of the leg to prevent wrinkling. This boot assists the rider to use their leg aids correctly because it won't allow lifting or twisting of the heel. These boots allow a very smooth connection to the horse's sides as they do not wrinkle all the way down the leg.
Training - Some riders choose to wear tall boots and breeches for schooling. However, today's softer boots are not made to withstand the rigors of daily use and may wear out quickly. Most riders prefer a short laced or zippered paddock boot combined with half chaps.
Hunter/Jumper - In the Hunter ring: beige, sand, or tan are the only colors worn. Most riders prefer tailored breeches made of smooth woven fabric with Euro seat styling and a suede kneepatch. These breeches provide a more flattering look and help hide underwear and shirt lines. Front zip styles with wider 2" belt loops in mid or low rise are the most popular. Young children may wear jodphur pants with a cuff and foot strap over their short paddock boots. For regular jumper classes, a knee patch or full seat in beige is always correct. For informal jumper classes, some riders are wearing beige or other conservative colors. For jumper classics, white may be worn. Today's breeches are made of hi-tech, washable performance microfiber/cotton blend, or quick drying synthetic fabrics with Euro seat seaming and clarino knee patch styling
Dressage - Recent trends are a contrast grey full seat on white show breeches and contrast stitching and piping.
Eventing - For the Dressage phase - white or beige may be worn in knee patch or full inset seat syle. For Show Jumping, white or beige may be worn. For Cross Country, any color breeches may be worn.
Training - Most riders prefer to school in breeches or riding tights to prevent rubbing caused by the seams on "blue jeans". Your saddle's seat will last much longer if you avoid wearing jeans with rough seams. Many saddle manufacturers will not honor leather warranties if breeches are not worn for riding. There are many performance styles and fabrics to choose for everyday comfort and wear.
Hunter/Jumper - If a rider wants to own only one jacket, a dark navy or black coat is suitable for all Hunter or Jumper competitions, including Classics. Piping and contrasting collars are a big trend in the Jumper ring and have been starting to show up in the Hunter ring. New show jacket fabrics made of hi tech washable stretch fabrics have almost completely replaced traditional wool jackets. For the hunter classics, formal attire is required: a navy or black short coat or shadbelly tail coat. For the jumper classics: a navy or black coat is required. U.S.E.T. members may wear scarlet. Piping on the collars is a trend in the jumper ring.
Dressage - Traditional show colors have always been black and navy in solids or tone on tones. Recently, new colors are gaining acceptance such as gray and dark brown. Piped collars and bling trim are the new trend.
For the F.E.I. upper levels a Shadbelly Tall Coat is worn. For the lower levels, a short jacket with center or double back vents are worn. Most Dressage jackets have silver metallic buttons. Almost all Dressage jackets are now made of hi tech washable stretch fabrics.
Eventing - For the Dressage phase, black or navy jackets are worn. For Show Jumping, any color jacket may be worn. Many riders wear their Dressage jacket for Show Jumping, but recently, the more stylish riders have been choosing the piped and contrast collar jackets that are popular in the Jumper ring in navy and black. For Cross Country, jackets are not worn, but safety vests are required in any color. New "air bag" safety vests are being worn at the top levels to provide greater protection.
Hunter/Jumper - Long or short sleeve shirts in CoolMax fabric with matching choker collar for ladies and girls, and a tie for men and boys. For formal attire and Hunt Seat Equitation, a white shirt is required. For all other classes most riders choose a color which will help them stand out in a large competitive class. The new shirt style has a chokerless snap wrap collar with contrasting lining. A recent trend at the breed shows is wearing more vibrant colors such as purple, burgandy, turquoise, bright pink, black and bolder stripes and patterns with ribbon trimmed choker collars. Many riders have their initials embroidered on their choker collar in a color to coordinate with their show jacket. The new shirt style popular on the Hunter/Jumper circuit features a snap choker collar.
Dressage - Long or short sleeve shirts in white or pastel colors with a white stock tie. Hi-tech moisture wicking stretch CoolMax fabrics are the new trend. The zip front pique shirt in short sleeves are a top seller. The ruffled pre-tied stock tie in plain white or trimmed in silver, black, or bling are now the current trend. Some specialty Dressage shirts have the stock tie integrated in the shirt.
Eventing - For Dressage, a white shirt is worn. For the show jumping phase, the same attire can be worn that is used for Dressage. Many riders are wearing the more colorful Hunter/Jumper jackets and shirts for show jumping. For cross country, a long or short sleeve polo or zip type shirt is worn under the safety vest in a rider's barn or team colors.
Hunter/Jumper - For hunter and equitation, a black glove of washable man-made synthetic leather is worn. For the jumper classes any glove which provides a good grip is used. The Euro style glove with a velcro closure is the number one choice.
Dressage - Most judges prefer a white or cream glove in a washable man-made synthetic leather. At the lower level a black glove may be worn.
Eventing - For the Dressage phase, a white or cream glove is preferred but a black pair can be worn at the lower levels. For show jumping and cross country, gloves are optional but should be chosen to provide a good grip.
Hunter/Jumper - For hunters and equitation, a short to medium length Prince of Wales spur with leather straps to match the rider's boots are apppropriate. Silver spur strap buckles and small "bling" designs are currently popular. Recently, the blunt rollerball spurs have been used to prevent rubbing the horse's sides. A recent trend is to use black spurs to minimize the look of leg movement. The jumping bat, if used, should be short 18" to 24" in black or brown. For the jumper classes, any spurs can be worn and jumping bats are longer (24"-28") to be more effective.
Dressage - Spurs are slightly heavier and longer than those used for jumping. The longer length allows a rider to use the spur without turning the toe out. A blunt end or a blunt rowel style are most popular with either a black leather or braided nylon spur strap. Spurs are required at the F.E.I. Level and optional below that level. Whips are long to be able to tap the horse behind the leg. 120 cm is the longest permitted in competition. Whips may not be permitted in certain championship and F.E.I. classes.
Eventing - In the Dressage phase, spurs are optional, but if used my not exceed 1 1/4" length and must not be sharp enough to be capable of wounding a horse. In the show jumping and cross country phases, spurs must follow the same specifications as the Dressage phase. If a jumping bat is used, it may not exceed 30".