Dressage - Rider Clothing

Rider Clothing

Dressage riders, like their horses, are dressed for formality. In competition, they wear white breeches, often full-seat leather to help them "stick" in the saddle, with a belt, and a white shirt and stock tie with a small pin. Gloves are usually white, although less-experienced riders or those at the lower levels often opt for black, as white gloves tend to accentuate the movement of a less-experienced rider's unsteady hands. The coat worn is usually solid black with metal buttons, although solid navy is also seen. Dressage coats differ from traditional hunt coats in that dressage coats have four buttons, while hunt coats have three. In upper-level classes, the riders wear a shadbelly with a yellow vest or vest points instead of a plain dressage coat.

Riders usually wear tall dress boots, although field boots may be worn by riders at the lower levels. Spurs are required at the upper levels, and riders must maintain a steady lower leg for proper use. A whip may be carried in any competition except in a CDI or a national championship, and the length is regulated. Whips are not permitted in eventing dressage.

If the dressage rider has long hair, it is typically worn in a bun with a hair net or show bow. A hair net blends in with the rider's hair color, whereas a show bow combines a barrette or hair tie with a small bow and thick hair net, and is usually black. Lower-level riders may use a derby, hunting cap, or ASTM/SEI-approved Equestrian helmet. In the United States, junior riders at recognized competitions are required to wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet to protect against head trauma in the event of a fall. At the upper levels, a top hat that matches the rider's coat is traditionally worn, though in some competitions, an ASTM/SEI approved helmet is show legal.

If the rider is a member of the police or military, they are permitted to wear their respective uniform during competition.

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