What to Wear For Arena Eventing Competitions

If it’s your first time arena eventing you might be wondering what to wear! We’ve created this blog to guide you through the rules and dress code, and we’ve even included some of our favourites as examples.

Safety First!

Like cross country, during arena eventing competitions you’ll be tackling solid fences and fixed obstacles, so it’s really important your safety wear is up to scratch and ready to protect you.

Riding Hat

Your hat must conform to the following standards:

  • PAS015 (1998 or 2011) plus BSI Kitemark or Inspec IC Mark
  • VG01.040 2014-12 plus BSI Kitemark or Inspec IC Mark
  • ASTM F1163: 2004a onwards plus SEI Mark
  • SNELL E2001 or E2016
  • AS/NZS 3838 2006 onwards plus SAI Global Mark

And must also fit within the “Cross Country Protective Headwear” category, which means it must be a ‘Jockey Skull’ of an elliptical or an even round shape with a slightly abrasive or smooth surface, which must not have a peak or peak type extensions. A removable hat cover with a light flexible peak may be used.

Body Protector

A Body Protector is mandatory and must conform to the following safety standards:

  • A British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) approved and appropriate labelled ‘Level 3 Body protector’ (2009 or 2018 year) and manufactured in 2009 or after.
  • An Exo Body Cage must be declared at the Event Secretary prior to the Cross Country phase if worn.

Competitors are recommended to check their body protectors on a regular basis and if damaged they should be replaced.

Air Jackets/Inflatable Jackets

Air Jackets are an optional extra, and if worn must be worn over an up to standard body protector.

Jewellery if worn can increase the risk of injury. Competitors are strongly advised to remove all jewellery before competing. Long hair should also be appropriately secured.

All Things Matchy Matchy

Arena Eventing is the perfect time to let your personality shine through with your choice of colours! If you love all things matchy, take a look below:

Base Layer

It is customary to wear cross country colours for Arena Eventing.

A firm favourite amongst competitors is the Le Mieux Ladies Base Layer. The silky smooth anti-microbial material offers a stylish tailored fit, whilst ultra-soft seams with flat-lock stitching reduce chafing and unwanted pressure points. The 360° stretch fabrication allows greater mobility in any direction making the perfect clothing for riding and competing. The unique Moisture-Movement System of these garments actively takes sweat away from the skin and are designed to regulate body temperature & ensure optimum comfort, perfect for whatever the season.

Hat Silk

Matching your hat silk to your baselayer is a great way of pulling your outfit together.

Why not have a look at the Le Mieux Pom Pom hat silk, made from silky 4 way stretch fabric they are designed to fit of the majority of skull caps and stay put! With a fit free from creases the hat silks are finished with a luxurious detachable faux fur pom pom.

Saddle Pad

We love bright and colourful saddle pads, and the Le Mieux collection is definitely one of our favourites.

The Le Mieux ProSport Suede Close Contact pad which is cut to fit a wide range of more forward cut jumping saddles. It features a high wither, elasticated D-Ring tab, signature teardrop girth protection area and swept back profile. These saddle pads offer a sleek, professional look and with their luxurious suede top they will feel it too! For the horses comfort the pad features a bamboo lining which absorbs and controls sweat under the saddle. It also helps it stay secure, minimising friction even on sensitive skinned horses. Girth keepers incorporate inner locking loops to offer girthing options.

Ears

If you’re going all out with matchy matchy wear, then a coordinating fly hood is a must!

The Le Mieux Classic Fly Hood are soft and comfortable providing both style and protection.  Made from stretch lycra to ensure a close fit, these beautiful ears are complimented with stylish 3 way crochet and finished with elegant braiding. These versatile fly ears are suitable for training and competition use.

Boots

With solid fences and fixed obstacles involved, many people choose to use boots to give their horse’s legs extra protection while they compete at Arena Eventing.

To finish off your outfit the Le Mieux Grafter Brushing Boots are a hard working boot ideal for everyday use. Highly durable they are made to withstand daily graft but are still soft, lightweight and breathable, giving the horse maximum comfort. Suitable for use on front and hind legs they can also be used for schooling, competition and turnout, featuring two or three straps depending on size.

Another great option are the Shires Arma Cross Country Boots. Designed specifically to offer 360 degree protection, these boots feature a quick dry fabric, high impact protection, padding to the front, a breathable cooling system, and Armortex abrasion resistant strike pads.

Stirrups

With loads of colour combo’s to choose from your stirrups don’t have to be boring!

The Tech Stirrups Venice Light Safety Stirrups offer a great choice of colours. Not only are they fun, they’re functional and technical too. Featuring a revolutionary easy release safety mechanism, lightweight design, and patented tread grip.

Essentials & Extras

Arena Eventing is the perfect time to let your personality shine through with your choice of colours! If you love all things matchy, take a look below:

Breeches

There’s no specific colour breeches that have to be worn for cross country, but the majority of competitors choose to wear smart traditional colours like white, cream, beige, buff or fawn.

A top choice is the Ariat Tri-Factor Grip Full Seat Breeches. Thanks to their Elastic V panel in the waistband, stretch knit compression fabric, moisture movement technology and calf fit system these breeches are super comfy and supportive. They also sport a full seat of silicone grip in Ariat’s popular Hex Grip design, giving you extra stickability when you need it.

Riding Boots can be either plain black boots, topped boots or full grain smooth black leather gaiters with matching boots, or brown boots, or brown leather gaiters with matching boots.

The stunningly sumptuous Mountain Horse Sovereign High Rider Long Riding Boots are perfect for competition wear, or to add some glamour to your everyday ride. These stylish tall boots are made from a hard wearing, premium full grain leather that gives a beautiful shine. The contrast leather detailing, feature stitching, neat front lacing and the elegant Spanish top ensures that these boots will make you stand out from the crowd in the ring.

Numbers must be clearly visible, we suggest you purchase the Shires Number Bib which is ideal for use at equestrian competitions including eventing, cross country, hunter trials, arena eventing, pony club & loads more. This practical & comfortable number bib features a clear plastic front & back plus adjustable shoulder & side straps.

Spurs are optional at all levels. Spurs must be made of smooth metal, blunt and incapable of wounding a horse. Metal spurs with round plastic, metal or rubber knobs are allowed. Rowel spurs which rotate freely and are round and smooth are permitted. Dummy spurs are permitted with a shank less than 4cm long and point towards the rear and if curved must point downwards.

One Whip may be carried which must not be any longer than 75cm and not weighted

Gloves

As Arena Eventing is predominantly a winter sport, we strongly recommend you wear gloves to keep your hands warm and protected.

The Woof Wear Event Glove provides optimum feel, dexterity and grip in all conditions. The durable 4-way stretch fabric upper ensures superb fit and flexibility, making them ideal for use at when you’re riding cross country fences.

Arena Eventing Horse Tack Rules

There are certain tack requirements for your horse when competing in an Arena Eventing class.

Saddle

An English or Continental style saddle with a pommel, cantle and flaps. This includes treeless saddles. Side saddles are not allowed. The saddle should be either black or brown, navy and grey in colour.

A gel pad/memory foam or sheepskin seat is permitted as long as it is unobtrusive and matches the colour of the saddle.

Unless a dispensation had been granted, velcro straps from the girth to the stirrup iron or a mechanical means of fixing the rider’s boot to a stirrup iron is not permitted.

Bridle

The horse must wear a conventional bridle with a bit, noseband and browband. The reins are to be attached to the bridle via the bit. The bridle colour is predominately black or brown (again navy and grey are also permitted). Discreet padding on the noseband and headpiece/poll area is permitted. Padding is not permitted on the cheek piece area or the front of the noseband.

Bits

A snaffle bridle can be worn for Arena Eventing. Permitted snaffle bits include:

  • An ordinary plain straight bar or jointed centre snaffle
  • Ordinary snaffle with double-jointed mouthpiece including French link and with a lozenge
  • D Ring Racing snaffle
  • Egg-butt snaffles with or without cheeks
  • Snaffle with upper cheeks only
  • Rubber, leather, plastic or steel unjointed or jointed snaffles
  • Hanging cheek snaffle

British Eventing Rule 7.19.7 allows competitors to use any normal jumping bit, Pelham, American or continental gag, hackamore and any form of bitless bridle. Reins may be attached to leather ‘D’ rings. Competitors may not use a Market Harborough or a curb rein which passes through the rings of a running martingale. Stirrup leathers must hang outside the flap of the saddle.

British Eventing has produced a table which defines the saddlery that is permitted, not permitted or compulsory at each phase. Arena Eventing uses the same tack as the Cross Country phase in eventing.

Riding In Exercise Areas Show Jumping & Cross Country
Bit guard & tongue guard Y Y
Nose net Y Y
Ear covers *1 Y Y
Ear plugs N N
Fly fringe Y N *3
Face masks *5 NOT PERMITTED
Snaffle bridle/ Micklem multi-bridle/ST-Zaum/Freeflex/Stubben Freedom/PS of Sweden High Jump/ PS of Sweden Jump off/ Collegiate Comfitec/ Jeffries Gentle Bridle/Grackle. Bridles must be used with a permitted bit, without bit clips and with a throatlash Y Y
Double bridle Y Y
Running and Irish martingale Y Y
Bib martingale Y Y
Side, running reins and chambons N N
Neck strap Y Y
Seat covers Y Y
Boots, Bandages Y Y
Equiboots/Hoofboots Y N
English style saddle COMPULSORY
Flash, crossed (incl. grackle/Mexican) or dropped noseband only with snaffle bridle PERMITTED
Cavesson noseband PERMITTED *2
Breast plat PERMITTED
Blinkers NOT PERMITTED
Tongue Strao and/or tying down the horse’s tongue NOT PERMITTED
Draw reins NOT PERMITTED
Standing martingale NOT PERMITTED
Any other form or martingale or gadget NOT PERMITTED
Sheepskin cheekpieces and any other attachment fitted to the cheek pieces that may affect the horse’s vision NOT PERMITTED
Sheepskin noseband *6 Y Y
Coloured stirrups Y Y
Body bandage/spur pad Y Y
Stirrups which can be attached by magnets or other means to riders’ boots NOT PERMITTED

Source: British Eventing Members Handbook

*1 Ear Covers / Protective Fly Hoods are permitted and may provide noise reductions. The ear covers should be discreet in colour and design. Ear covers may not be attached to the noseband.
*2 Compulsory with a double bridle
*3 Only permitted if specially authorised for all competitors in exceptional climatic conditions by a BE Steward
*4 Double bridles are only permitted at Intermediate Novice and above for dressage
*5 Equivizor is permitted for warming up on the flay with clear lenses
*6 Sheepskin shall not be used on a Grackle/X noseband other than on the crossover section.