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Fashion Do's and Don't for the Show Arena

Whether you're new to competing or you're a seasoned campaigner these quick tips can (hopefully!) help you to avoid any fashion mishaps which could affect your performance and your score. There are many aspects to your show attire from your riding boots and gloves to horse riding competition shirts and stocks. Here are my fashion do's and don'ts.

Do's & Don'ts

  • DON'T wear dark underwear under light breeches / jodhpurs and horse riding competition shirts. This is a big no-no, so try to keep a stash of white competition underwear on hand!
  • If wearing a tweed jacket DO make sure that the check and colour of the tweed complements the colour of your horse and your saddle cloth. You'll find that there's a wide selection of tweeds available on the market in different colours.
  • DO make sure that your hat fits you properly. The judges should be able to see your face when they look at you from the side. It's also important that your hat fits correctly for safety reasons. Check out our hat size guide here.
  • DO avoid poor fitting riding boots. They won't just feel uncomfortable, but they will also look odd. Whether they're cutting in at the knee or baggy at the calf, it's certainly not a good look. Take the time to choose riding boots that fit perfectly.
  • DO make sure you have some trousers to wear over your breeches / jodhpurs when you're not riding your horse. At a competition, it's very easy to get dirty in between classes.
  • DO take spare breeches / jodhpurs and a spare competition shirt if possible.
  • DO make sure that your show shirt fits well. Occasionally, riders may be allowed to compete without a jacket on, and you'll want to ensure your shirt doesn't ride up and exposing your bare back.
  • DO consider the weather when choosing your horse riding competition shirts. On a hot day, you may wish to wear a sleeveless shirt and if the weather is chillier then long sleeved competition shirts are available too.
  • If you decide to go the extra mile in terms of your appearance and wear make-up at a competition, DO use waterproof mascara in order to prevent panda eyes!
  • DON'T forget to get your riding attire ready the night before. You should double check your clothing is clean and ironed, and your boots are polished.
  • DO learn how to tie stocks correctly if you are wearing them (or invest in ready tied one to go with your horse riding competition shirts). Far too many riders wear badly tied stocks which come loose and flap around in the wind.
  • DO wear gloves when competing in show classes. In fact, it is mandatory for riders to wear gloves. Make sure that you choose the right colour for your discipline. White gloves are preferred in dressage, however, if you find it difficult to keep your hands still, it makes sense to choose a glove in a colour that matches your show jacket. This will draw less attention to them.
  • DO feel free to keep up with the latest fashion trends. However, you should always check with the show rules to be certain that you can actually wear particular attire during that competition.

The Judges

You may think that when you're showing, the judges should be looking at your riding, rather than your clothes. Whilst I do agree, there are plenty of show clothing no-no’s which can distract a judge, and could affect your placing in a class. These tips should help you to choose the correct gear for the show arena. You want the judge to notice you, not your baggy horse riding competition shirts, aqua breeches or ill fitting boots.

So, do you have any show do's and don'ts of your own?

 

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