Schooling Breeches? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-11-2020, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Schooling Breeches?

Hey everyone,
I have been riding for 20+ years with some of the years off and on. If I can find a good Dressage instructor with schoolmasters available to learn on, I will be taking Dressage lesson. Three questions:

1. What are the instructor's expectations of their students?
2.For lessons do riders wear breeches or tights?
3.What color breeches or tights would you wear for your lesson?
4.How professional do the instructor expect you to dress for your lesson?

Thank you and happy riding.
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-11-2020, 01:20 PM
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Welcome back to posting...

1. I would imagine any good instructor expects their student to come to a lesson wanting to learn and able to work "hard" learning the next concept expanding their ability to communicate with their equine partner.

2. What to wear may depend upon the level of the rider.
I would not expect a beginner student to arrive in boots and breeches, but to arrive in comfortable pants and a heeled shoe and must wear a helmet all for safety reason.

A rider who is more than a advanced beginner was expected to wear appropriate clothing within limits...
paddock boot or tall boots, breeches, half or full chaps, their own helmet and if taught how to use...spurs or bat carried and possibly gloves worn. Those were what was expected for me to ride in my lessons or clinics...appropriate attire and the horse to be properly attired too.

3. For schooling it did not matter to me or my instructor.
I usually wore darker colors during lessons/schooling because they did not show dirt as easily,.. charcoal gray, rust, dark blue..
When I was in a clinic setting I wore what I wore for horse showing...beige, silvery lt. gray were often my attire colors.

4. Again, attire was dependent upon the level of the rider, the instruction given.
I found riding in my boots and breeches gave me a different feel with my leg than riding in jeans and chaps.
That is me...never though did or do I ride in a shoe/boot that was not heeled for my safety and protection if something goes wrong..
Ever since I was a very new beginner rider I have always provided my own helmet to ride lesson helmet shared for me.
My parents were very strict on how my helmet was cared for so were assured my head was protected and ...well, nasties of lice and icks are not transferred when you only wear yours and not share.

What you did not ask and I will say is...

I was expected to meet certain dress requirements for lessons at all levels of being a rider.
That was also true of my instructors...
All my instructors were able to get astride a horse at any time to demonstrate wearing suitable attire too.
Paddock boots, jeans and chaps were often my instructors attire if they were not in breeches and boots of tall or paddock style...
A helmet often hung from a jump standard or on a fence post at the ready...
I can probably count on one-hand how many times I have sat astride a horse naked head and that was true of my instructors too...if astride you were helmeted to even the odds a bit more in your favor if something goes wrong.
Appearances do mean a lot...respect given for yourself and your instructor that you are prepared and ready to work and improve in a safe manner and environment.

Enjoy your ride time and lessons to start again...
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-11-2020, 01:39 PM
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1. What are the instructor's expectations of their students?

It really depends on the instructor themselves and their level of instructing. Depending on the personality, you may have a super chill instructor or you may have an instructor that expects improvement on a new exercise in the same lesson it is taught. Generally, most instructors expect the following:

- the student listens and respects safety rules, including saying "Heads up" before approaching the riding ring.

-Student to arrive on time or 30min before ride (if stated) to prepare horse for riding.

- A student who tries their best in the lesson and listens to the instructor

2.For lessons do riders wear breeches or tights?

Also a "it depends" question. Personally, I wear what ever feels comfortable and is appropriate for the situation. For old school trainers, I often opt for breeches, but I have also worn tights in many lessons/clinics and I do find it can be difficult to see the difference if they both fit well. On that idea, it also depends on what the tights look like. I never wear tights that show too much or in other words, show all your lines and more...

3.What color breeches or tights would you wear for your lesson?

I've never been too selective on colours. I generally don't wear super bright colours, but that is a general preference of mine and most instructors are not very picky about this. You can't go wrong with beige/tan though. The only time I have been selective on the colour has been for certain old school trainers, such as in a hunter jumper clinic (most are very old school). Most often though, I will just coordinate my outfit.

4.How professional do the instructor expect you to dress for your lesson?

This can usually depend on the instructor's level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). When booking the first lesson, I would ask what they expect in terms of attire, as this will give you the best idea of what they expect.

At the very minimum, every instructor wants their riders to have well-fitted pants and a helmet, hair tied back, gloves and a boot with a heel. This is to prevent safety hazards, such as too loose clothing getting caught or no heel allowing the foot to slide into the stirrup.

Beyond that, instructors like when a student wears their shirt tucked in with a belt and for their student to maintain clean boots.

I generally dress a bit more formal for more advanced instructors out of respect, or for clinics/ instructors I am not familiar with. So, I will usually braid (french) my hair back and tuck it in for them. I will also wear classic coloured breeches (beige - I only risk the dirt-prone white breeches for shows) with a belt, and tuck in a long-sleeved 1/4 zip top. I will wear matching gloves and clean up my helmet and boots, if dirty.

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post #4 of 8 Old 10-11-2020, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by horseponycrazy27 View Post
Hey everyone,
I have been riding for 20+ years with some of the years off and on. If I can find a good Dressage instructor with schoolmasters available to learn on, I will be taking Dressage lesson. Three questions:

1. What are the instructor's expectations of their students?
2.For lessons do riders wear breeches or tights?
3.What color breeches or tights would you wear for your lesson?
4.How professional do the instructor expect you to dress for your lesson?

Thank you and happy riding.
I imagine your instructor will want you to show up to your lesson on time, with a good attitude and willingness to learn. Seems small, seems obvious but that's actually a lot!

Breeches, tights, yoga pants...something stretchy that moves with your body, no bunching or pinching that can lead to painful sores. This is completely up to you, but if you are going to be riding big moving horses (which good dressage horses are), you may want to choose full-seat breeches for helpful "sticking" in the saddle. You will be working a lot with your seat--and a grippy seat will help you when your instructor asks you to sit those big trots and canters!

I would personally wear a lighter colored (tan, light blue, grey) breech for my lesson. Most dressage saddles are black, and this will make it easier for your instructor to see your seat and legs.

First impression is the lasting impression. You want your instructor to be professional, so you must be too! I would wear clean boots (I prefer tall boots--but it's totally your preference!), my light colored breeches, belt, long sleeve tee and vest. Add some gloves and a helmet and there you go...a nice presentation that says I'm here and ready to work and learn but is functional (you can remove the vest or add more clothing depending on temperature and comfort level).

I hope you enjoy your lessons!
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-11-2020, 02:07 PM
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I just wear comfortable clothes. I live in Texas, so that usually means lightweight (cotton, linen, hemp) with pants that have some give to them and are narrow enough for me to put half chaps over. Obviously a helmet. I've taken dressage lessons, jumping lessons, and equitation lessons.

I suppose some instructors might have an actual dress code, but I can tell you that I would personally not choose such an instructor. I prefer a more casual environment.

ETA: I guess you could just ask your instructor if there is anything in particular she wants you to wear...

"Saddle fit -- it's a no brainer!"" - random person

Last edited by ACinATX; 10-11-2020 at 02:12 PM.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-11-2020, 02:42 PM
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
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I'm not too experienced -- I've only had two regular teachers and just a few riding clinics, but I always try to avoid anything baggy like a loose blouse or sweater, that obscures my upper body, as I think that makes it harder for an instructor to see what I'm doing.

Short horse lover
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-11-2020, 02:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Rural SW Oregon
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Recently I asked my trainer to check saddle fit and prepared to mount the horse in cross ties using a bucket and wearing no helmet. Here lecture began with "I can't believe you have lived this long".

She likes new students to wear sticky seat tights and britches. They have decorative patterns made of silicone on the inner thighs and seat.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-18-2020, 08:01 AM
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You don't want to blend into the horse or equipment so the instructor can see your lines as you move. All shirts tucked in for the same reason. Appropriate foot wear and a helmet. Gloves are optional for lessons.

As for what the instructor expects - that should have been covered when you arranged for lessons. Some have differing requirements for different ages and level of rider. Here, younger or low level that are just starting out it can be come on time to a few minutes early and ready to ride as in you aren't changing into riding gear or doing your hair. If that needs done then you come early. I say this as some come straight from school (or adults from work). Then the first part of the lesson is grooming and tacking a horse that is already tied put for you. Later on there are lessons in safely leading. The longer you ride the less prep is during the lesson and ride time increases which means you come anywhere from 15 minutes to 1/2 hour early depending on what you need to do to get you and the horse ready. Advanced riders come earlier than that as they are also expected to have themselves and mounts warmed up.

If you aren't sure call and ask. Every barn has their own way of schedule timing.

Some horse people change their horse, they change their tack and discipline, they change their instructor; they never change themselves.
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