My daughter will be showing the FEI Junior and Team Tests for the first time in a couple of months so now we've moved waaaaaay beyond my knowledge base and pay grade. As such, I come humbly seeking answers from the enormous collective experience of the COTH BB.
First of all, at a rated show MUST a competitor show in a shadbelly and top hat to do the FEI tests -- she's not trying to make the team yet -- or can you wear a regular dressage coat and helmet? (She doesn't want to make such a huge faux pas by showing up in normal attire that the judge is blinded by her tears of angst and shock at the insufferable rudeness of the blunder.)
We'll probably try to borrow a shadbelly and hat from our trainer for this show but if anyone has a strong opinion about which brands are really worth the $$$ and which are actually pretty good for much less money, or which look really cheap and arent worth it, I'd love to hear about it.
(She rides in the washable Pikeur Diana dressage coat now and loves it but there's no way I can afford $800 for a Pikeur shadbelly.)
I've looked for used but so far nothing has shown up in any of the searches, but if anyone has any suggestions regarding where to go for used but still in good condition, please PM me. ( I noticed the COTH isn't taking any more used apparel ads but I hope that's just temporary. This is always a good place to find good used stuff.)
It looks to me like the rules say a shadbelly is ALLOWED, but not required. From the USEF rules:
2. For all tests above Fourth Level, the dress
code is: a dark tailcoat with top hat, or a dark
jacket with a bowler hat or hunt cap, and white
or light colored breeches, stock or tie, gloves,
and black riding boots. Spurs are mandatory for
FEI tests (except as noted above under Art.
1920.1). (See Art. 1920.8)
My daughter competes in the FEI Juniors. Although, you see Jrs in shadbelly's in Europe, the Jr riders in US and Canada wear show coats and either top hats or helmets [50-50 at most shows]. At last year's NAJYRC, only 2 FEI Jr riders wore helmets (my daughter was one of them, safety first with us)...all wore show coats.
Oh Gosh..Now I feel like a brainless twit! The reason for my confusion is seeing other Junior riders (not YR) compete with the "full monty" here in Region 1 in the past, and making the, apparently wrong, assumption that once you rode an FEI test you moved to the shadbelly/top hat. I don't THINK I was just having a senior moment because it would have lasted a while, but it's not impossible.
Actually, I was told that this year, Juniors were allowed to wear shadbellies. If memory serves, Juniors showed in shads at last year's European JR championships. Roberta Williams is around here often; maybe she can clarify for us.
When your daughter is ready for a shadbelly, be sure to visit a tack shop (or two, or six) and try them on, as they ALL fit differently. I'm so long I had to have mine custom made - an epic PITA. (the result is awfully stunning, though)
MediaMD - I remember, long ago, one of the tack shops in Raleigh was renting out Shads. I think it was Triangle Horse Sport, but I am not 100% sure of that.
(and since I've been out of town for over 2 years now, I have no idea what anybody is doing. I couldn't even find THS now!)
Thanks guys...I appreciate all the input and will definitely take your advice about trying stuff ON rather than buying on ebay without knowing what size works for which brand. I have NEVER heard about renting shadbellies but that would be pretty cool..However,since THS is mostly geared towards H/J I wonder if their shads would be the kind for the Marshall & Sterling Eq classes rather than a dressage one...Still worth looking into.
At least I know now that for the foreseeable future she can wear the short coat and not be looked down on, and if/when she decides to try out for the NAJYRC we can see about getting her one.
(Of course if anyone happens to stumble across an amazing used shadbelly in the 6-8 or 8-10 range, pleeeeeeeeze do let me know. Can't resist that great bargain even if it sits in the closet for a year!;-) )
Welcome to the Sisterhood of Moms of FEI Jr/YRs. I promise you will survive this and you will most probably enjoy the journey.
First, per the USEF Dressage Rules:
DR 120: The dress code for the FEI Junior Tests ... is a short riding coat of conservative color, with stock or tie, breeches, hunt cap or riding hat with a hard shell, derby or top hat.
If the competitor were riding in a CDI/J in Europe, they would be allowed to wear a Shadbelly or a short coat. The FEI allows either. Right now, you can wait and save your money for the Shadbelly since this is not Europe
Second, if you at all think there is a remote chance that your daughter will try out for a team; then contact Sharon Vander Ziel at USDF. You will need to fill out a Declaration of Intent by March 1st.
Third, contact your USDF FEI Jr/YR Regional Coordinator. That is the person that should hold your hand and get you to the other Moms in the Sisterhood. You can find your Regional Coordinator's name on the USDF website or ask Sharon. You are always more than welcomed to E-mail me, too. My address is on the USDF website.
I have been involved in this for 23 years (yikes). The main resource to whom I send all the riders to is Lisa Goretta at the Paddock Saddlery. They are located in Ohio and they do have a website. Lisa has been making recommendations on price, fit and most of all, durability for the kids for as long as I have been doing this. She does this regardless of whether she sells a coat or not. The benefit of dealing with Lisa is that not only is she a TD, but she is also on the USEF Dressage Committee making her always current with the rules, which is a nice deal for a Sisterhood newbie.
Personally, when you go to purchase a Shadbelly, I recommend the Pikeur. I have seen them be rained on, cried on, crumpled in a ball in a tack stall and horses step on them. You can shake/sponge them off and they can still look good with a minimal amount of effort. They weather teenage distruction well. They are also flattering to most figures, thereby helping with the angst issue.