An elegantly put-together dressage attire may take you to the ultimate victory in the world of competitive dressage.

Proper dressage attire is not just about aesthetics; it’s about projecting confidence, professionalism, and respect for the sport.

In this article, we’ll dive into the essential tips for choosing and wearing the perfect dressage attire, ensuring you’re ready for upcoming equestrian events.

Defining Dressage

Dressage is a precise and elegant equestrian discipline that showcases the  partnership between horse and rider. It’s often called “the highest expression of horse training.”

This discipline involves a choreographed sequence of the horse’s movements with the rider’s guidance. Imagine a ballet with the horse as the dancer and the rider as the choreographer.

The movements in dressage are categorized into a series of levels, each building upon the skills learned at the previous stage.

These levels are standardized patterns encompassing various gaits, transitions, and figures. Each movement requires precision, balance, and synchronization between horse and rider.

In horse competitions, judges assess dressage by the accuracy, fluidity, and quality of each movement. Scores reflect the harmony achieved, where every stride, every transition, and every movement is a testament to the dedication and skill of both horse and rider.

The Basic Concept of Dressage Attire

Timeless. Elegant. These are the two basic concepts of dressage show attire. Its white show shirt, stock tie, and sleek coat pay homage to its heritage.

The classic look

The traditional dressage attire is usually ageless. It’s an elegant look from many horse competitions: the crisp white show shirt, the meticulously tied stock tie, and the elegant black or navy coat. This classic ensemble has long been associated with the refined nature of dressage.

Modern variations

Nowadays, you might spot riders incorporating subtle color accents on their coats or shirts. These modern variations add a touch of individuality without compromising the professional appearance. Be conscious of balancing between honoring the sport’s heritage and expressing your style.

The Essential Components

Dressage attire is carefully designed to create a harmonious visual between you and your horse. Your attire’s colors, lines, and textures complement your horse’s coat and movement, presenting a unified and visually appealing picture.

This harmony underscores the connection between you and your horse, enhancing the judges’ perception of your partnership. And here are the essential components of dressage dressing.

Dressage coats

Dressage coats must fit well. The objective is to enhance your appearance and allow smooth, unrestricted riding movement. Choose a color that complements your horse’s coat and your complexion, creating a harmonious overall look.

Dressage riders are typically required to wear a dark-colored coat (black or navy) when competing in upper-level dressage tests and may have the option to wear a dark jacket in lower-level tests.

Show shirts and stock ties

Your dressage attire shirt is the foundation of your dressage attire. Make sure it’s tailored to perfection, providing both comfort and style. A white or light-colored show shirt is commonly worn underneath the coat.

When it comes to dressage attire stock ties, there’s an art to tying them just right. Stock ties or chokers are often required, depending on the level of competition.

Breeches and boots

Breeches andboots complete the lower half of your dressage attire. Choose breeches that fit well and match the color scheme of your ensemble. Traditional white or light-colored breeches are the go-to choice, but modern variations offer a splash of individuality.

Equally important are your boots. Dressage riders typically wear tall, black dressage boots that are well-fitted and clean. Ensure they’re clean; proper boot maintenance will paint a favorable picture of grace and elegance.

Accessories for Refinement

Necessary accessories for dressage include gloves and helmets. But other minor accessories are permitted within reason. Check them out below.


Gloves are worn by dressage riders to provide a steady grip on the reins and complete the overall look. Traditional black gloves are common, but variations in color and material may be allowed. 2023 FEI dressage rules state that gloves should be white, off white or the same color as your coat Choose snug gloves that fit you well for comfort and control.

Helmets and Hairnets

Approvedriding helmets are mandatory for all riders in dressage competitions. The helmet must meet safety standards and be appropriately fastened during all riding phases.

Secure your hair with a hairnet before donning your helmet to maintain a neat appearance. The overall look will highlight your commitment to the event and focus on safety.

Other accessories

Overly flashy or distracting accessories should be avoided. The following are what other accessories are allowed in dressage events:

  • Dressage whips are typically allowed in competitions, with certain length restrictions depending on the level.
  • Spurs may be worn, but they must adhere to specific guidelines regarding their length and style.
  • Jewelry should be minimal and conservative. Earrings and a simple stock tie pin are usually acceptable.

Rules and Regulations

Equestrian associations have established rules and regulations regarding dressage attire. It pays to familiarize yourself with them so you will not risk being disqualified or receiving penalties.

But specific dressage attire rules can vary. These regulations may differ depending on the competition level and the organization hosting the horse sports and games.

Additionally, the dress code might be more relaxed for lower-level or schooling shows, but it’s still important to adhere to the basic guidelines of professionalism and safety.

TheUSEF Dressage Rule Book will outline the general dressage attire rules and regulations for various levels of competition.

To ensure that you have the most accurate and current information regarding USEF dressage attire rules, visit the official website of the United States Equestrian Federation. Checktheir rulebook or contact the appropriate authorities for the latest updates.

Putting It All Together

As the competition day approaches, meticulous preparation is critical. Prepare your outfit the day before. Create a checklist to tick off each item as you pack, leaving no room for oversights.

Your attire isn’t the only aspect under scrutiny. Your horse’s grooming is equally important. A well-groomed horse compliments your appearance; its preparation will prove your readiness for the event.

Invest time grooming your horse to perfection for upcoming equestrian events, showing judges your dedication to the complete package.


Every detail counts in dressage. The harmony between you and your horse is the key to dressing appropriately for a dressage event. Your attire’s entire look must complement your horse’s coat and movement.

Looking smart and professional will get the judges to notice you and your horse, although ultimately the score will come down to the way you and your horse perform during the test. Embracing tradition and modern variations, while paying attention to minor details will certainly enhance your chance of success in dressage

Shop atCountry & Stable for your and your horse’s desired dressage attire.