Formal Dress Code for Equestrian Eventing How to Dress for Each Phase of Equestrian Eventing

Originally Published on March 15, 2016
Updated on March 14, 2017

This past weekend, Tallahassee, Florida once again hosted the Red Hills International Horse Trials.  While I did not cover the event as press, it did get me nostalgic for the two years that I did report on the event.  These amazing photos were shot by my husband, Ian Anderson.  I decided to republish this post because it was a popular post in its explanation of the sport of Eventing and contains some beautiful photographs!

Red Hills Horse Trials

For two years (2014-2015), I covered the Red Hills International Horse Trials in Tallahassee, Florida as part of my previous blog and former radio show “The Success Design”.  It was fascinating to learn about the sport which is called “Eventing” in the equestrian competition world.

What is Eventing?  It is an equestrian sport in which competitors must take part in each of several contests, usually dressage, cross country, and show jumping.  If you care to learn more about eventing, please visit here.  This post is going to focus on the traditional dress for the dressage, show jumping and cross country phases of competition.

Day One:  Dressage

The United States Eventing Association describes Dressage as follows:

The dressage phase begins every eventing competition. In French, dressage means “training.” Originally designed to show the horse’s ability to perform intricate movements on the parade involved with reviewing troops, today the dressage test comprises a set series of movements performed in an enclosed arena. Precision, smoothness, suppleness and complete obedience show off the horse’s obedience. Ideally the horse appears to perform the test moments of its own accord, working in harmony with its rider.

The purpose of the dressage test is to demonstrate the level of communication between the horse and rider to and display the power and grace required to perform each movement with balance, rhythm, and suppleness. Due to the demands of the sport, the three-day event horse is extremely fit, and only strong and tactful riders possess the skills needed to harness and direct that energy into a both polished and powerful performance.

Dressage

 Here are the dress requirements for the Dressage phase of competition:

  • Protective headwear, dark blue or black in color
  • Black or dark blue coat with white stock or tweed coat with color stock or collar and tie
  • Gloves
  • Buff/fawn breeches
  • Plain black or brown boots, leather gaiters with matching boots (not half chaps)
  • Service Uniform

 

Day Two:  Cross Country

The United States Eventing Association describes Cross Country as follows:

The object of Cross Country is to prove the speed, endurance, and jumping ability of the horse over varied terrain and obstacles.  In order to accomplish this task, the horse and rider must be at peak condition. The horse must be brave and obedient, and the rider must use knowledge of pace in order to expend only as much of the horse’s energy as necessary, if they expect to finish well.

The cross-country course covers approximately 2.75 to 4 miles, along which sit 24-36 fixed and solid obstacles.  This phase is ridden at a gallop, with exact speed requirements depending on the level of competition. Cross-country courses require horses and riders to be bold and smart, while testing their physical stamina.

Red Hills Horse Trials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the dress requirements for the Cross Country phase of competition:

  • Protective headwear with cover
  • Cross country colors
  • White, buff, or fawn breeches
  • Plain black or brown boots, leather gaiters with matching boots (not half chaps)
  • Level 3 Body Protector
  • Gloves

Here’s some photos from the 2015 Red Hills International Horse Trials’ Cross Country Competition:

Red Hills Horse Trials

 

Red Hills Horse Trials

Red Hills Horse Trials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Three:  Show Jumping

The United States Eventing Association describes Show Jumping as follows:

A show jumping course comprises a series of colored fences usually made up of lightweight rails that are easily knocked down.  The test takes place in an enclosed ring and the course must be negotiated in order for the horse and rider to successfully complete the event.  This final phase tests the stamina and recovery of the horse after the endurance phase and shows that it is fit enough to continue work.

The courses are designed to test the horse’s and rider’s ability to negotiate a variety of fences of differing heights, widths, and technicality. This requires the horse be balanced and supple for tight turns and short distances between fences. He must be able to lengthen or shorten his stride in an instant. Therefore, the rider must know exactly where he is on the approach to a fence, with an obedient horse that will respond to his commands.

Red Hills Horse Trials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dress requirements for Show Jumping phase of competition:

  • Protective headwear, dark blue or black in color
  • Black or dark blue coat with white stock or tweed coat with color stock or collar and tie
  • Gloves
  • Buff/fawn breeches
  • Plain black or brown boots, leather gaiters with matching boots (not half chaps)
  • Service Uniform

Here’s some photos from the 2015 Red Hills International Horse Trials’ Show Jumping Competition:

Red Hills Horse Trials

Red Hills Horse Trials

Red Hills Horse Trials

 

Red Hills Horse Trials

Photo Credit:  Ian Anderson

Additional Resources

United States Eventing Association

Boyd Martin Eventing

Alexandra Knowles Eventing

 

44 Comments

  1. This is such an interning post because I’m not familiar with this sport, so it was nice to gain a bit more insight. I love horses, so this really must be the perfect sport for any horse lover! Thanks so much for sharing, beauty, and I hope you’re having a great start to your week so far!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    http://www.thestylecontour.com

    • Thanks, Jalisa. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post! The horse trials were here in Tallahassee this past weekend which gave me the idea for the post. Fashion can be found almost anywhere!

      xo
      Beth

  2. Super interesting! I always wondered about the differences in dress in different competitions. Thanks for breaking this down. 🙂
    xo
    Nataliya
    Style Tomes || Instagram

    • I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! It was a fun blog post to do. I didn’t realize how strict the dress codes in the sport of eventing were until I did the research. Have a great weekend!

      xo
      Beth

  3. Very interesting, I didn’t realize that people wore different outfits for each event.

  4. These photos are fantastic! I never knew the subtle differences in the dress code (not familiar with the sport.) But I would love to use this as inspiration for equestrian inspired street wear! It’s so elegant.

    Next Garden

  5. This was so informational! I am not familiar with riding competitions or with their dress codes. As a fashionista, I do own some “riding boots” that I wear casually. The action photos are stunning!

  6. My best friend competes in equestrian events all the time, so I know the importance of the correct dress code. Great post, girl. The photos are awesome, too! 🙂

    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

  7. Wow! I would have never guessed so much goes into the wardrobe. It is a fierce look though – so nice job.

  8. I didn’t know anything about Equestrian competitions or Eventing – its a fascinating sport and I love the formality of the dress. The photos are absolutely stunning – especially the horses jumping.

  9. This looks like a wonderful event to attend. I’ve never been to an Equestrian before. I’ve seen it on TV, though.

  10. Thank you for sharing us these tips. I once invited as a media influencer for a Polo Match and I did made cramming study what Polo is all about 🙂 But it was a great experience! And I like it 🙂

  11. I had absolutely no idea about the sport or the wardrobe that goes into it. Thanks for sharing.

    ❥ tanvii.com

  12. I didn’t realize there were different kinds of clothing for different equestrian events! So interesting.
    xo Jessica
    http://www.whatsfordinneresq.com

  13. I’ve never been to an equestrian event, but I will say that the photos your husband took are amazing.

  14. I have always been fascinated with riding. I, unfortunately, was not interested in it at a young age. My mom used to ride and did all of the competitions. I remember seeing pictures of her all dressed up and it was always so neat.

  15. Your husband took some amazing shots, Beth! I loved reading your previous article where you described the competition in detail, and I loved having this thorough recap. I would love to attend the event and see these beautiful horses in action!

    xo
    N
    Style Tomes ||ST on IG

  16. I used to beg my mom to let me do English riding. It’s the only activity she didn’t let me do. I love to see them dressed to ride.

  17. These are great pictures of some amazing animals here. And it’s a lot of great information about competing in these competitions.

  18. Been seeing this sport but I never knew some facts about it. Glad I came over this post. I learned something new again.

  19. I didn’t know that Tallahassee hosts this sport every year! Maybe I’d love to visit next year. I also loved your pictures. All the running shots are amazing!

  20. I love the pictures. The daily details are great information. The dress wear is very stylish and cute.

  21. This is such an interesting post. I had a vague idea about riding and was absolutely clueless about the outfit looks. Thanks for sharing!
    XO,
    Shreya|https://mymagicaltrunk.com/

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