Show Clothing – A guide

When it comes to appearing or competing in shows, there are plenty of rules regarding the dress and tack that is required. There is a certain etiquette to horse riding and shows often demand a strict adherence to their dress codes. Show clothing is the answer to this.

If you are showing in a breed show, Pony Club event, or any higher-level competition, then you must ensure that you comply with all of their rules closely. If, however, you are competing in a smaller show, then you should stick to a more conservative and traditional dress code.

You should look to dress neatly and ensure that your clothes are well pressed. In order to show your respect to the show itself, its organisers and the judges, then you should take care to ensure you and your horse are well turned out. As well as wearing all of the right clothes, your boots should be well polished.

Here at Equine Superstore we have a wide variety of equine clothing and tack. Lots of this is suitable for showing. So, here is our guide to show clothing!

Dressage tack and clothing
Dressage clothing is very traditional and each rider has to wear almost identical clothing. You aren’t able to elaborate or make your dress your own. Women are restricted to securing their hair, as you will want to emphasise how smooth your horse’s gait is. Therefore, the more still your hair is, the better your horse looks. You are allowed to wear a low bun or hair net. If your hair is curly then you should wear a fine mesh net in order to prevent straggling curls from escaping. Women are also advised to keep their make-up to a minimum.

When it comes to a helmet in dressage, you should wear a black velvet design or use a black velvet cover. Your jacket should be black, however, a deep navy blue jacket is also acceptable. At some schooling shows, you can sometimes wear a subtly checked or modest tweed jacket. Dressage jackets are also quite long. When you are sat on a chair, the hem of your jacket should just about reach the seat when you have your back straight.

Your breeches, when showing in dressage, should be fawn, white or beige. White tends to be the more chosen colour, however, it is quite likely that your white breeches will be marked and dirty, so sometimes beige may be a nicer colour as it hides stains better.

Your shirt should be white and should also be neat and presentable, because in hot weather you may be excused to ride without your jacket on. You should wear a stock tie, pinned in place with a stock pin. This is where you are allowed to personalise your outfit slightly with a subtle patterned tie or a nice light pastel coloured design.


You will be required to wear classic dress boots, and aren’t allowed to don field boots with laces. At lower levels, however, laced boots may be allowed. Children are often allowed to compete in dressage wearing jodhpur boots with gaiters. Half chaps are also not appropriate for dressage, unless the show is a very casual affair. Your boots should also be polished and all of your clothing should be cleaned and pressed.

Your horse should be fitted with an English bridle and saddle and once you advance to a certain level you should wear a dressage saddle. You should also have a square dressage pad, which should be white and clean. Before you begin you should also braid your horse’s mane and bind it with elastics or thread that matches its colour. You are also advised not to use leg wraps.
Hunter clothing and tack
Hunter events are a little bit less traditional and the required clothing tends to stray a bit beyond the norm. You are, for example, allowed to be more creative with your jackets and shirts. While you are allowed to wear a conventional black velvet jacket, as approved by the ASTM, you can also opt for something a bit more adventurous. You can wear hunter green, navy or black jackets with white shirts, or you could even go for a brown check jacket with peach shirt.
Your breeches should go well with your jacket and you can choose from tan, fawn, olive, brown or other neutral colours. You should also ensure that you are wearing a nice belt and field boots.

When it comes to your tack, an all-purpose or close contact saddle is appropriate along with a regular English bridle. The rules will change, which means your tack may often change and some certain bits, martingales or nose bands may or may not be allowed.
Jumper clothing
When you are in the jumper ring, you should use the same helmet and boots that you would use in the hunter ring. For example dress or field boots, or matching paddock boots and half-chaps can be worn. Children are allowed to wear jodhpur boots with gaiters.

When it comes to your helmet, you can go for any colour and you can even use models that have decorative designs. The only requirement is that your helmet is ASTM approved. Women should tuck their hair up neatly in a net or bun, however, you are allowed to opt for a neat pony tail.

Your jacket, however, should be slightly shorter than a hunter jacket and it should also be dark in colour, however, you can also opt for check or tweed designs. You can wear field or dress boots and your breeches should be neutrally coloured – we would advise you go for a nice beige or tan pair.

You can wear shirts, however, some shows will even allow you to wear polo shirts without a jacket. If you are wearing shirts, then they should be worn with a tie, choker collar, or stock caller, and you should tuck the shirt’s tails into the top of your breeches.

View our range of show clothing here.



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