What Should a Rider Wear to Attend a Dressage Competition?

When competing under British Dressage rules, there are core dress rules for the rider; these are often also used at unaffiliated dressage competitions.

Jackets

What Should a Rider Wear To Dressage: Jackets
  • For Intro to Advanced Medium tests a short jacket or tweed coat should be worn, with a correctly tied stock, white round collar or sometimes this type of collar is referred to as an American collar, or shirt and tie.
  • For Advanced test and upwards, there is the option to wear a tail coat. You can still wear a short jacket, if you would prefer. Again a correctly tied stock or shirt and tie must be worn.
  • Only a British Team rider may now wear a navy jacket with a red collar, waistcoat points and pockets with white piping.
  • Recently the introduction of waistcoats was permitted in regular competition. The fitted waistcoat can be of any muted conservative colour, it should not have a bold pattern or be brightly coloured. Underneath the waistcoat, the shirt can be long or short sleeved, but can’t be sleeveless and must be a solid light colour and fasten at the neck.
  • At Championship, Regionals, Area Festivals, Premier Leagues or High Profile shows classes, a jacket must be worn. Unless the organiser, in consultation with the panel of judges, has given permission to ride without a jacket. In this instance a fitted waistcoat must be worn.
  • If you are competing in wet weather, plain, dark coloured waterproof coats may be worn.
  • As long as core dress rules are adhered to, then subtle embellishments and additions to any item of dress are permitted as long as they do not pose a welfare risk to the horse.*

Safety Wear

What Should a Rider Wear To Dressage: Hats

Hats

Riding hats or skull caps must be worn when mounted, this includes exercising, warming up or competing, and conform to the following standards;

  • British – All PAS 015 (1198 and subsequent updates)
  • European – VG1, EN1384 – 2017 (only in conjunction with another accepted standard from this list) American – SNELL E2001 and E2016
  • Australian & New Zealand – AS/NZS 3838 2006 onwards

The riding hat and hat cover may be in any conservative colour. Completely mirrored hats are not permitted. Top Hats are no longer permitted at national or international competitions. This also includes service hats that do not conform to the regulations. Hats must be correctly fitted and the harnesses fastened at all times when mounted.

Body Protectors and Air Jackets

Body protectors and air jackets including soft shell air jackets are permitted, as long as they are a muted, conservative colour.

Breeches

What Should a Rider Wear To Dressage: Breeches

For all levels, breeches or jodphurs are to be a plain white, cream, beige or canary yellow colour. Unless accompanying an official service uniform, in which case they may be the uniform colour. These are to be worn with conventional long boots designed for riding. Short boots may be worn with or without gaiters or half chaps that are the same colour as the boots. Suede or fringe gaiters or chaps are not permitted to be worn while competing under British Dressage rules.

Spurs

What Should a Rider Wear To Dressage: Spurs
  • Spurs are optional from Prelim to Advanced Medium. However, spurs are mandatory at Advanced level or higher.
  • The spur must be made of metal, which may be coated and must be used in their manufactured state.
  • Spurs with a smooth rotating rubber, metal or plastic ball on the shank are permitted.
  • There are no restrictions on the type of shank or rowels (those with points must have rounded ends) that are permitted providing they are free to rotate horizontally or vertically.
  • Any shank on the back of a heel must point towards the rear and the end must be clearly horizontal to the ground or pointing downwards.
  • Dummy spurs are permitted, as are correctly fitted swan neck spurs. The band around the heel must be smooth, as comb spurs are not permitted.
  • Spurs which are incorrectly fitted or used excessively will result in elimination.

Gloves

What Should a Rider Wear To Dressage: Gloves

Gloves must be worn at all times, otherwise two penalty marks will be deducted from the total test mark.

Sponsors Logos

For those riders that have sponsors, while in the competition arena or during the prize giving the name and/or logo of the sponsor(s) may appear on a surface area not exceeding:

  1. Eighty square centimetres on each of the two sides of the jacket or top garment at the height of the breast pocket.
  2. Sixteen square centimetres on both sides of the shirt collar and of the hunting stock or centrally in the middle park of the collar on a ladies blouse.
  3. For Manufacturers’ labels, three square centimetres on any clothing or equipment and may only appear once per item.*

*British Dressage Handbook 2021