Cross discipline English show attire
I have always ridden and competed hunters as my only English discipline. I own black, zip-up Ariat field boots, a large collection of tan knee-patch breeches for show, as well as some other colours for schooling. I have three hunt coats (tan, dark navy, and brown). I have white, light blue, light pink and light orange show shirts. I have a dark havanna all purpose saddle and a standard English bridle. I show in a single-joinded D ring snaffle. The only way I know how to braid is hunter braids.
I plan to get into dressage, jumping and possibly eventing come spring. Lessons are anticipated to begin in April. I have zero prior experience in these disciplines, except a handful of dressage lessons.
What I want to know, is what colours of breeches, boots, jackets and shirts are acceptable in these disciplines. Would I be able to use any of my current attire in any of these disciplines? Are hunter braids acceptable or should I learn a different style of braid? Is an all purpose saddle acceptable for use in dressage if I plan to compete? What kinds of saddle pads are most widely used? Would my white, contoured fleece be okay? Any information you can give on the differences in show presentation between these disciplines would be helpful! Thanks!
If you have no or limited previous experience then you're not going to jump into showing at the mid-upper levels against the seasoned competitors, so all of the tack you have right now is just fine. Around here showing at the lower levels as long as you're in clean English tack it's ok. I did my last dressage show in a close contact saddle, navy hunt coat and light blue shirt. We were clean, presentable, and showing the lower levels so nobody fussesd. Only 1/3 of the people in that division were using full on Dressage gear.
So don't worry about it until you're starting to show in some higher levels! And once you're there you'll have had some experience to go off of and pick your clothes based on the area you're in.
That's good to know! I know the hunt arena is pretty strict about what attire is appropriate and what is not, even at the lower levels, so I am always concerned I may be placed lower or not at all, if my attire and presentation is not absolutely perfect, and in fashion. From what I'm hearing, it sounds like other English disciplines are more open about everything.
What kinds of clothes are traditional for these disciplines? Must dressage breeches be white if I plan to climb the levels? What's the difference between a hunt and a dressage coat and when would a rider wear a shadbelly? How about jumping? Are there colour restrictions and requirements for that, especially as you advance? I'm sure all of these questions will be answered for me as I get into it, but my curiosity is burning!
I would suggest you start with schooling shows, and your clothes are just fine.
I can't speak for other disciplines, but for dressage you're pretty close to being set assuming you're going to start with schooling shows. You'll be set wearing a pair of tan/beige knee patch breeches, a polo or white show shirt, belt, and your field boots. If you're serious about getting into dressage, then I would look into buying a dressage saddle, but until then I guess you're fine.
I see many at local shows in what you currently own and use for attire.
White breeches and shadbelly coats I see on upper level riders and competition horses, think Olympic caliber.
If you look at a catalog and search for hunt vs. dressage coats you can see much of it is buttons and how many there are, and sometimes the coat cut length, but again you start at competitions at entry levels and have what you need.
As someone else said, you acquire as time progresses and so does your abilities and finances... you will not need it overnight I would think.
Enjoy yourself and best of luck in your new adventure.
Thanks guys! This is all helpful info! I'm just super excited to start something new. I must restrain myself from buying equipment I don't need... ;)
I compete in all 3 phases of eventing in a Collegiate Senior Event saddle. Dressage cannot be judged by what saddle you choose to use.
This website sums up the attire beautifully: Eventing Refresher Course - What To Wear | United States Eventing Association, Inc. - US National Combined Training, Horse Trials: Dressage, Cross Country, Show Jumping
For dressage you should use a square dressage pad. It makes a more complete look.
Cross country you can choose a color theme and go with it! I use grey and blacks, but many people use bright, fun colors.
For show jumping, from what I understand, you wear hunt attire and use a fitted pad. (I think?) Maybe you can use your xc pad.
Best of luck! Eventing is so much fun! This year is my second year and it is far better than hunter-jumper stuff (no offense to the hunters out there!)
Thanks! Those were nice, useful diagrams! I will bookmark that!
I have actually heard that from a lot of people. This is one reason I'm so excited to switch disciplines. I've been at the receiving end of a lot of snobbery over my years in hunters, for using horses that are not solid bay thoroughbreds or warmbloods. I've been told the eventing world is much more open and supportive of fellow riders, which I hope to find true. I'm out to have fun and top my own personal bests, not compete viciously against others and put other people down.
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