What to Wear at a Dressage Competition … Dressage attire tips from top dressage professionals
Improving your presentation at a dressage competition. Always dress the part with the correct dressage attire :
Although you are not marked for your dressage attire, it is still important to project the right image when competing. This is partly because dressage is an elegant sport and competitors attire should reflect this.
Remember the wrong dressage attire can draw attention to a particular area (such as jiggling hands), or cover up an area that the judges would like to see (such as your seat or back).
You should also project the impression that you are serious about your sport as this will build mutual respect and help increase your confidence.
Correct dressage attire will flatter your form
Your dark-coloured or tweed jacket should fit you well and be tailored around the middle to flatter your form.
If it is baggy around the back you could look as if you are slouching or moving around in the saddle.
Remember: Tailcoats or Shadbelly’s are only worn in advanced dressage tests and are incorrect dressage attire for lower level dressage competitions.
White, cream or beige?
White breeches look smart only if they are clean! Cream or beige jodphurs or breeches are perfectly acceptable and can be more flattering.
Choose breeches with front pleats if you have a curvy figure.
If your breeches have belt-loops, wear a plain smart dark leather belt. It will improve the fit.
The eye is quicker than the hand
Try to ensure your gloves match your breeches and make sure you dress according to your association and the level of the competition.
Remember white gloves draw attention to jiggling hands.
Those dressage boots are not made for walking
Ensure your dressage riding boots or plain leather gaiters are as long as possible to visually elongate your leg; especially if your boots are cut for dressage.
A patent leather calf gives extra sparkle and can save a few hours on polishing.
Decisions … Safety or Sultry
A dressage cap without a three point harness looks very smart in competitions – Good cap manufacturers include Horka and Patey.
Riding hats are compulsory at affiliated dressage competitions and your mounted safety is paramount, but BSI standard helmets are not compulsory in dressage tests.
However, make sure you check with the event host as their rules may be stricter than your dressage association rules.
Always be prepared for warm weather
Make sure your white shirt, stock and stock pin are presentable; as, at the discretion of the organiser and especially in very warm weather, competitors may be permitted to ride without a jacket.
That well worn, creased look doesn’t really sit well on a beautifully groomed horse. Especially if the grooming was done with your jacket off and shirt exposed to the dirt.
No VPL Please
Your underwear should not be visible, so try to avoid visible panty lines. Female riders should also wear a well-fitting sports bra to form a neat line and to ensure minimum bounce.
Bad Hair Day
Every lady competitor should ensure their hair is secured within a hairnet, or neatly tied back. Straggly ends or swishing pony tails look unprofessional and can be extremely dangerous if your horse stands on it after an unplanned dismount. Female riders have been scalped because of uncontrolled hair.
Tasteful, understated jewellery is perfectly acceptable dressage attire. Neat stud earrings, for example.
Diamante is a-la-mode, eg, on belts and browbands, but check your dressage association rules before spending the money. Remember, it’s your riding that will impress the judge not your bling bling.
No flappy Numbers
Secure your number neatly and come prepared with elastic and scissors.
Coloured string or twine is definitely not correct dressage attire and does not make for a professional look.
Bridle number disks are a good idea, just ensure you buy one that can be seen easily and is not so large that it obscures your horses features, or interferes with the horses eyes or ears.