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The Essential Guide to Equestrian Show Riding and Equestrian Riding Apparel
Competitors in all sports want to perform at their best. And looking your best includes the right clothes. Equestrian clothing is particularly important because, unlike casual riding, English riding competitors must appear elegant, refined and in control at all times. In the show ring, judges want to examine how you and your horse communicate and how well you control and direct your horse. Loose clothing has no place in riding as safety is of the utmost importance. English riders also need their competition outfits to reflect a neat, subdued and elegant air, so that their equestrian qualities and the training of the horse shine through.
Dressage, hunt seat, and pleasure classes each have specific requirements for equestrian clothing. It is up to you to check with the sponsoring organization to find out the details of your equestrian clothing needs.
View clothing from head to toe
Starting at the top, helmets are the most important accessory as they can save your life in the event of a fall. An ASTM F-1163-01 and 04a/SEI certified helmet is a mandatory part of your equestrian clothing whenever you are on or working around a horse. These helmets are tested for the rigors of riding. Helmets are sized by measuring the circumference of the rider’s head.
The importance of a show coat
The first part of show clothing that judges will notice is the rider’s show coat. A well-fitting jacket should give you a well-groomed appearance with square shoulders and a narrow waist. To check for a good fit, you should be able to take a pinch of about an inch of fabric from the sides of the shoulders, which will allow the freedom of movement you need.
Your jacket size should be your natural size. The length of your competition jacket should take it to the bottom of your buttocks. Show jacket sleeves are measured one inch below the wrist. Show coats are usually tan, gray or dark in color. Dressage competition coats are black.
Under your show coat
Under the pageant coat, women wear a ratcatcher and men wear a button-down shirt. Getting the right fit is crucial to creating the right image while allowing you to ride safely and efficiently. Rattraps are extra long sleeved shirts with a short, straight collar. Rattraps and shirts should fit snugly while still allowing the rider the freedom of movement needed with show clothes.
The sleeves of riding shirts are usually two inches longer than normal clothing, to allow you to reach reach when jumping. After you put on your show jacket, a quarter to half inch from the cuff of your shirt should show. Rattraps are normally white or light in color. A lapel pin must be worn with your ratcatcher. Men must wear a button-down shirt with a tie or lapel pin.
Jodhpurs And Breeches
Jodhpurs are jodhpurs with an elastic cuff that are worn over your riding boots. They are also essential if you wear paddock boots. When sizing jodhpurs, measure your inseam plus one inch with your paddock boots. If you wear your jodhpurs in the ring, try to find a color to match your show jacket.
Riding breeches are available in many styles, including front zipper, pull-on, side-zip, low-rise, and full-bottom. You’ll want to make sure your breeches maintain the overall finish and professional look of your equestrian apparel. Show panties are normally beige. When shopping for most show wear, including jodhpurs and breeches, fabrics with Lycra are ideal for providing a snug fit and stretch for movement.
Boots made for riding
Your tall black field or dress boots should fit snugly. Since manufacturers differ, you should use the size chart for the riding boots you purchase. Most riding boot size charts ask for calf and height measurements, as well as your normal show size. Calf measurements are taken at the widest part of your calf, wearing socks and riding breeches, in a seated position. Height measurement is from the base of your heel to the top of your lower leg plus one inch.
Tall riding boots should fit perfectly in all the right places to give you the look and support you need to perform well in the show ring and to complement the rest of your equestrian clothing. Those with hidden zippers will give a perfect fit and be easy to put on.
Dressing in the correct equestrian clothing for competitions will not only show off your mastery of the sport, but will also give you the security you need when jumping. Wearing appropriate show clothes also shows respect for the elegance and control of English riding.
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