What To Wear To A Dressage Competition

A common fear with many amateur riders is not knowing what is appropriate clothing to wear on the big day.

In this guide we will take you through what to wear for an unaffiliated or affiliated low level dressage test.

Unaffiliated is a term used for any competition which is not associated with British Dressage (BD), the national governing body for dressage in the UK. Unaffiliated competitions can sometimes be more relaxed as they do not have the same rules to adhere to. However, most unaffiliated competitions will run under BD rules. If you are ever unsure, always contact the event organiser who will be happy to help.

Dressage Competition Jackets

Let’s start with a jacket. Most riders you see competing will be wearing a show jacket. This is a plain fitted blazer, typically black or navy. Most dark neutral colours are permitted; avoid any patterns or bright colours. Tweed (hacking) jackets are also an acceptable choice for dressage.

The Dublin Hanna Mesh Tailored Jacket II is a popular choice as it is versatile enough to be worn in most disciplines. It is made from a stretch mesh material which is lightweight and easy to move in, making it ideal for summer days. This jacket can also be layered up with a thicker show shirt for the winter. The princess seam construction gives a flattering, tailored look to all riders. It is double vented to sit neatly over the saddle and has a hidden zip front for a secure fit. Available in Black or Navy for Women and Children

Dressage Show Shirts

Next, we move on to show shirts. Show shirts are designed to be worn under your jacket; they are typically white or cream in colour and are made from a lightweight material. They are a diverse piece of clothing worn in dressage, show jumping, eventing, showing, the list goes on! There are a range of styles and designs available on the market. Choose from short or long sleeves, or sleeveless depending on the time of year you are competing. In the summer months, many judges will permit riders to compete without a jacket, however your shirt will need to have sleeves. Most show shirts are made of a combination of mesh and another material for comfort and breathability. Show shirts should be paired with a tie or a stock which is white, cream, or a dark neutral colour. Ready tied stocks are available for convenience.

The Dublin Tara Competition Lace Shirt is a slim fit slow shirt and great choice for summer competitions or for those who want a shirt with a touch of elegance. It features a beautiful lace bib and back panel as well as rhinestones up the front placket. Available in White for Women

The Dublin Ria Short Sleeve Competition Shirt

For those looking for a more classic look, try the Dublin Ria Short Sleeve Shirt. The stretch woven collar is suitable for a stock or a tie, and the shirt is made from a Comfort Dry fabric to keep you cool and dry all day long.

Available in White for Women and Children

Dressage Legal Breeches & Tights

Now we are talking legwear. Traditionally breeches or jodhpurs are worn for dressage. They must be plain white, beige, or cream in colour to complement your show jacket. No branding is permitted on breeches at any level. Remember to wear a pair of over trousers on the day to keep your white breeches clean until you enter the arena! New developments in technology have led to a rise in riding tights that are BD compliant. Many riders opt for tights instead of traditional breeches as they can be more comfortable to ride in. A great example of BD legal riding tights is the Dublin Performance Cool-It Gel Riding Tights.

The ultimate performance riding tights, designed to be worn all day long. The super stretch fabric offers maximum rider freedom, while the full seat PU silicone gel provides stability in the saddle. These are a pull-on style with belt loops on the waistband for a sophisticated look.

Available in White or Beige for Women and Children

Dublin Shelby Full Seat Breeches 

For those who prefer the traditional look of breeches, the Dublin Shelby Full Seat Breeches offer freedom and comfort both in and out of the saddle, with a full gel seat for extra stability in the saddle, and Comfort Dry Technology for all day comfort. The mid rise waistband features belt loops so you can style with your choice of belt. With front and back pockets to offer style and carry your essentials.

Available in White or Beige for Women

Dressage Competition Riding Boots

Now, onto footwear. You want to choose a pair of boots that are comfortable and smart. They should be either black or brown. Many riders opt for tall riding boots as they are smarter in appearance, however paddock boots and chaps are also acceptable and can be a good alternative when the weather is warm. The most important thing is that the boots you are riding in are comfortable for you. If you have a different pair of boots for competing and everyday riding, make sure you have properly worn in your competition pair. If you are uncomfortable in your boots, this will affect your riding and ultimately your test. Traditionally, dress boots are worn for dressage, these are tall riding boots that are plain with no laces on the front. the Dublin Galtymore Tall Dress Boots are designed to elongate the rider’s leg for a beautiful position.

Made from full grain European leather, these boots are contoured through the ankle with a high Spanish cut top line to give a stunning elongated leg when in the saddle. They feature an RCS Ultra footbed, our most advanced footbed technology, for all day comfort and moisture control. Complete with spur rest, durable outsole, and full length YKK zipper.

The Dublin Universal Jodhpur Boots are available in Black or Brown, for Women and Children. They are a great choice for the new rider and they feature a durable sole to withstand riding activity and are a pull-on style for easy access.

Pair your child’s boots with a pair of half chaps to complete the look. The Dublin Suede Half Chaps II are made from high-quality suede, have an elastic calf for a comfortable fit and feature a full length YKK zip for security.

Dressage Legal Riding Hats

All riders must wear a riding hat for all competitions. Your riding hat should conform to the latest safety standards. British: All PAS 015; European: VG1, EN1384 -2017. Find more information about choosing an appropriate riding hat on the BETA website. For dressage, hats with a fixed peak are acceptable.

Competition Accessories

You are almost ready for your dressage test! We just need to talk accessories. At most competitions you will be required to wear gloves. These can be any colour but stick to something neutral, no crazy patterns allowed. Most riders will choose white or a dark colour to complement their outfit. Choose a pair that you are comfortable riding in and have a good feel on the reins.

The Dublin Everyday Touch Screen Compatible Riding Gloves are made of a stretchable synthetic KT-serino material, with adjustable touch tape wrist closure and are touch screen compatible for ease of use. Available In Black, Brown or Navy for Adults. 

And finally, can you carry a whip? At most low-level dressage competitions, you will be permitted to carry a schooling whip for your dressage test. However, if you are eventing, or competing at a Championship, whips are not permitted outside of the warmup arena. It is always best to check with the organiser if you are unsure. The Dublin Leather Touch Dressage Whip is perfect for competition or everyday use. The whip features a leather touch handle wrap with a silver top. The whip comes in two colours, black and brown, and one size which is 110cm in length. 

Now you are ready for the arena, good luck with your test. Remember the most important part of any competition… have fun! Everyone begins somewhere, so do not be put off if there are more advanced riders in your class. You are only competing against yourself. Go out there and have fun, if you have a smile on your face then you have already won. Be sure to tag Dublin Clothing in any pictures you upload to social media, we would love to see them.

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