Dressage belongs to the Olympic horse disciplines. Its beauty manifests itself in precise execution of given riding figures. It requires from the rider and the horse the highest level of understanding and concentration. The character and setting of dressage competitions are characterized by great elegance and chic. That is why it is usually compared to figure skating or dancing.
Dressage competitions are divided into classes. The current classes in order from easiest to most difficult are: L, P, N, C, CC, CS, Grand Prix, and Grand Prix Special. Each of these classes has mandatory elements that the rider and his mount must complete during their assigned program. The rider’s clothing must meet the requirements specified in the regulations, and some parts of it depend on the rank of the competition. It is necessary that every rider participating in dressage competitions should be dressed in:
A protective helmet or a cylinder – it is obligatory for each participant to wear a riding helmet on his head. It is also recommended to wear it by persons showing their mounts during veterinary inspection. Riders 18 years old and older who ride at least 7 years old are allowed to wear a riding helmet.
Jacket or tailcoat must be of uniform dark blue or black color, only subtle embellishments are allowed. Jacket is allowed to CC class and in regional competitions. In higher classes the rider must necessarily wear a tailcoat.
So the basic and necessary elements of dressage rider’s clothing are:
- White breeches (cream or black eventually).
- Tie or cravat – white, cream or of the tailcoat color.
- Gloves – white, cream or the same color as the tailcoat.
- Riding boots – long black or of the same color as the tailcoat.
Military or uniformed personnel are not required to wear compulsory dress. They are allowed to wear civilian or official clothes. However they must have a riding helmet.
Our horse should also be properly prepared for the dressage competition. Firstly, the only saddle allowed is a dressage saddle. There must be a white cap under it. A bridle saddle is used in the easier classes, in the LL class a bridleless saddle is used and in the more difficult classes a bridle collar is obligatory. It is not allowed to decorate our mount. Only braiding the tail and the mane is allowed.