Getting eliminated for improper attire is probably one of the worst ways to be sent home early from a competition. With the event season getting underway in many parts of the country it is a great time for a refresher on the proper attire for USEA recognized events. If you are in doubt about what to wear to an event the USEF Rules For Eventing should be your first stop – chapter EV114 on page 29 is where the dress is explained.
First and foremost you must wear a properly fitted ASTM/SEI helmet with the harness secured at all times while riding at every level, Beginner Novice through Advanced. A list of all certified helmets can be found on the SEI website.
For the dressage phase a coat of dark color or tweed is required unless they have been waived by the ground jury due to extreme temperatures. Your shirt should be white or light colored with a stock, choker, or tie. Breeches must be light in color or white and your boots may field or dress in black or brown. Jodphur boots with a full grain smooth leather leg piece is also permitted. If gloves are worn they should be a dark color, tan, beige, or white.
At the Intermediate and Advanced levels no tweed coats can be worn and tails are permitted. Gloves are required in white or dark color and spurs are also mandatory. Spurs must be made of smooth medal with a shank no longer than 3.5 cm with the shank pointed downwards. For full explanation of spur rules please reference page 30 of the rulebook.
Whips are permitted while in the dressage test except in Championship divisions (Nutrena USEA American Eventing Championships and USEA Area Championships). Whips can be no longer than 120 cm (47.2 inches).
A protective vest must be worn while warming-up for cross-country and while on course. Air vests are permitted but must be worn over a protective vest. Your shirt, breeches, and gloves may be of any color, but sleeves are required (aka no tank-tops or sleeveless shirts). Boots follow the same rules as the dressage test. If a whip is carried it may not be weighted and must not be longer than 75 cm (30 inches) in length.
A medical information card must be securely attached to your upper arm on the outside of your jacket. Medical cards can be downloaded from the USEA website and armbands can be purchased from the USEA webstore.
For the show jumping phase a jacket of dark color or tweed (not at Intermediate or Advanced) must be worn along with a shirt with a stock, choker, or tie. Gloves should be a dark color, tan, beige, or white. Breeches should be light color or white while boots can be field or dress in black or brown. Jodhpur boots with a smooth full grain leg piece are also permitted. Helmets and their covers must be solid colored in black or dark blue. Whip rules are the same as cross-country. Medical armbands are required as well.
For one day events where cross-country immediately follows show jumping you may be permitted to compete in your show jumping round in your cross-country attire.
For all phases of competition it is recommended that the rider’s hair be neatly contained in a hair net and under the helmet. This is especially important during the cross-country phase where long hair may block the jump judges from seeing the pinny number.
Questions about what to wear to a USEA recognized event? Don’t hesitate to contact the USEA office!