Horse Show Jumping Attire – Rules And Etiquette Explained!

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Last Updated on April 6, 2022

If you’re new to the world of equine competitions, it can be very confusing working out what show jumping attire to wear! Let’s find out the rules that you must follow for both you and your horse when dressing for a show jumping competition.

What Is The Dress Code For Show Jumping Attire?

The type of clothing you should wear for show jumping will depend very much on the type of competition you are entering. The rules for unaffiliated show jumping attire are relatively relaxed, and you should just ensure that you are smartly dressed in pants and a shirt. However, once you step up to affiliated show jumping, things start to get a bit more serious!

For affiliated show jumping competitions, the rider is expected to wear a traditional riding jacket in a dark color, such as navy blue. Under this is worn a light-colored shirt with a collar and tie. Long pants should be worn, normally cream or fawn-colored.

In terms of footwear, the rider should wear long riding boots. Gloves are optional and should be dark in color if worn. Junior riders may also wear Jodhpur boots and half chaps, either black or brown in color.

Some types of spurs are permitted to be worn by show jumping riders. Excessively severe spurs are banned, such as those with serrated edges or upward pointing shanks.

The hair of the rider should be secured neatly in a hairnet or bun.

Read more about What Is A Wave Mouth In Horses, And Can It Be Corrected?

What Safety Equipment Should You Wear For Show Jumping?

All horse competitions will have a mandatory rule that the rider must wear an approved standard of riding helmet when entering a competition. This is to ensure the competition organizers comply with their health and safety obligations, as well as fulfilling the requirements of the insurance company.

The type of helmet that must be worn will be clearly stated on the show schedule or the organizer’s website. Remember to check your hat regularly to ensure it complies with the most recent standard. If the helmet incurs any type of forceful blow, either through the rider falling off or accidentally dropping the helmet, it should be replaced immediately.

Air vests and body protectors are not compulsory for show jumping, but more and more riders are choosing to wear them. Recent advancements in body protector technology, such as air vests, have made them much more comfortable to wear. Most body protectors will fit neatly under a tailored show jumping jacket.

Gloves are also optional but will protect the hands from blisters and injuries caused by the reins. This can be a particular problem on a hot day when the reins can become slippery with sweat.

Troxel Sport Horseback Riding Helmet

What Tack Can Horses Wear For Show Jumping? – Show Jumping Attire

The rules around what tack horses can wear for showjumping are designed to ensure that the competition is fair, and also that the horse is not being mistreated.

The most common items of tack worn by a horse for show jumping competitions include:

  • Saddle

  • Bridle – The most common types of nosebands are permitted for show jumping. These must be made from flat leather, although sheepskin padding is permitted at the intersection of a cross noseband.

  • Bit – Most bits are allowed under FEI show jumping rules, unless it is deemed to be harmful to the horse.

  • Reins – Two sets of reins can be used for showjumping, and one of these must be attached directly to the bit or the bridle. Draw reins are forbidden.

  • Martingale – Only unrestrictive martingales such as running martingales or a breastplate with a martingale attachment may be used in show jumping competitions.

  • Girth – There are no specific rules regarding the types of girth that can be used in show jumping competitions.

  • Stirrup Leathers and Irons – These should hang freely from the stirrup bars, and not be attached at any other points of the saddle.

  • Boots – The rules around the types of boots that can be worn by the horse for show jumping competitions are very complex, and depend on the age of the horse. Boots are not allowed to have more than two fasteners and should be no more than 20 centimeters long. If you are considering putting boots on your horse for a show jumping competition, it would be sensible to check the FEI rules first.

What Tack Can Horses Wear For Show Jumping

Show Jumping Attire Summary

So, as we have learned, choosing the right show jumping attire is essential to comply with the rules of the competition, especially when competing at a higher level. You should also ensure that your safety attire meets the requirements of the competition organizers. There are also rules which govern the type of tack and accessories you are permitted to use on your horse.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about show jumping attire! Do you love to get dressed up in your show gear on a competition day? Or do you think the rules are silly and you should be allowed to wear whatever you want? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!


What Do You Wear For Unaffiliated Showjumping?

The rules for unaffiliated showjumping are more relaxed, and you can wear smart pants and a shirt. Jackets are not mandatory for unaffiliated competitions, but you will find that many riders still wear them.

Do Showjumpers Wear Body Protectors?

Currently, body protectors are not mandatory for showjumpers, but horse riding authorities do strongly urge riders to wear them. Many top level showjumpers like to wear air vests, that expand like a car airbag if the rider falls off the horse.

Do You Plait For Show Jumping?

It is not compulsory to plait your horse for show jumping, but many riders do so all the same. A plaited horse is traditional when it comes to show jumping. Showjumper plaits should be used, and the horse should have between nine and thirteen plaits in the mane, plus one in the forelock.

How Do You Do Showjumper Plaits?

Showjumper plaits are a series of small plaits along the mane of the horse. Each plait is rolled into a ball, and secured in place using rubber bands or sewing thread. The plaits should be evenly spaced, without any stray hairs.

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