Dressage Attire and Tack Rules

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Dressage Attire and Tack Rules

Show season is upon us! Make sure you are ready with an up-to-date and rule appropriate wardrobe. We know navigating show rules can be tricky for first time showers or someone rejoining after some time off, so we are here to help make things easier and less stressful on you. Below we will outline the basics to get you ready, and our knowledgeable staff are always happy to help you make the right choices in person, by phone or by email! When in doubt though we always recommend checking with your trainer first since some trainers will have specific preferences and standards. 




Helmet - A properly fastened helmet is required anytime riders are mounted on a horse. Helmets should be black or dark colored. Helmets should be plain, especially in upper levels, or have very tasteful and discreet decorations. 


Jackets - Jackets and/or tailcoats/shadbellies are required. They should be dark or conservative colored, but must be all one color. They may have tasteful and discreet accents, such as different colored piping or crystals. Lower level riders should have a nicely fitted short jacket, while upper level riders are allowed to show in tailcoats. 


Breeches - White breeches are required at all levels. Breeches should be clean and well fitted. 


Shirts -  A white collared shirt should be worn under your jacket. 


Stockties - A white stock tie is required. 


Gloves - Gloves are required. They can be white or the same color as your jacket or tailcoat. Most upper level riders will wear white gloves. 


Boots - Tall riding boots are required. They should be black or dark colored. They should be cleaned and polished.


Spurs - Spurs are required and must be made of metal. Shanks must be curved or point directly back. The arms of the spur must be smooth and blunt. If rowels are used, they must be blunt/smooth and free to rotate. Metal spurs with round hard plastic knobs are also allowed.


Whips - Whips may not be used while competing but can be used for warm up. If whips are used for warm up, they cannot be any longer than 120cm. 




Saddles - Dressage saddles are required and must have a long, near vertical flap. 


Stirrups - Stirrups must have closed branches, have no attachments, may not enclose the foot, and the foot cannot be attached to the stirrup in any way. 


Pad - A saddle pad is required. It should be white and clean. It can have contrast coloring or piping. 


Bridle - A bridle with a noseband is required. It must be made of leather, except for buckles. A browband and throatlatch are required. A plain snaffle bridle is required to be used with a regular cavesson noseband, a dropped noseband, a flash noseband, a crossed noseband, a combined noseband or a Micklem. A double bridle may be used in upper levels.  Nosebands should never be too tight to cause harm. 


Reins - Reins should be a continuous, uninterrupted line from the bit to the hand. No additions or attachments are allowed. Each bit must be attached to its own rein. Reins cannot be made of rope. 


Bits - Please refer to FEI rules on bits and bitting. 


Martingales and breastplates -  Martingales and breastplates are not allowed. 


Leg gear - No leg gear is permitted in the ring. It can be used during warm up but must be removed before entering the ring. 


Fly Veils - Fly veils are permitted and can help with noise reduction. They should be discreet in color and design. They may not cover the horse's eyes or be attached to the bridle. Ear plugs are not permitted.


For additional rules and information please see the FEI rulebook. Our staff is always happy to help as well, but when in doubt refer to your trainer!


  1. Kayla Lent Kayla Lent

    Hi there, each organization is a little different in terms of tack regulations. USEF has very vague terminology regarding saddles specifically. Their rulebook states that a conventional English saddle is to be used and that: "The use of a saddle with
    a horn, swell, gallerie, or open gullet, or the use of an original or modified Australian, Baroque, Endurance, McClellan,
    Spanish, Stock, or Western saddle is prohibited."

    In my interpretation, I don't see why different leather textures and colors wouldn't be allowed so long as they are on a traditional Dressage style saddle.

  2. Sam Lake Sam Lake

    Hi is there a attire rule about leatherwork on the saddle (tasteful artistic designs) are they allowed

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