So I am from hunterland and have a few questions about show attire for dressage. I am planning on taking some of my younger horses to a show here in August. They are only 5 year olds so I will only be doing the intro level and training level. What would be appropriate show attire for this level? It is a USDF recognized show (Lazy E dressage classic).
I know for the lower levels the attire and tack is less strict but was wondering what to expect. I imagine it will be blazing hot out, so will people be wearing coats? I just bought a dressage saddle (yay!), but still only have hunter/jumper attire and would rather not spend much on new clothes since I am only doing lower levels. Are tan breeches ever acceptable or should I wear white (both of course are knee patch)? What type of shirt is acceptable (polo, long sleeved show shirt, or a special dressage shirt)? I have a several show jackets but of course they are the 3 buttoned hunter coats. I will definitely be wearing my field boots and helmet (hubby will not approve of me new boots when I just bought a new dressage saddle...).
One last question... I have lots of experience doing hunter braids. I know dressage braids are generally larger (and fewer), but is there a special way they are tied? And at the lower levels will all the horses be braided or not?
Any other advice would be appreciated- I would like to not look stupid (although I am sure I will still stick out like a sore thumb!). Thanks!
The only thing I'd worry about is your shirt. If coats are waved, which they usually are at high temps, then a short sleeve, no collar without stock tie is a must. White is standard. Would invest in this one thing, IMO. And a stock tie if you don't own one. Beige breeches are fine, as are hunt coats if they are brown or black (solid colors prefered). Don't worry about buttons, the judge never counts them. Also don't worry about type of boot if you have tall ones. Velvet covered helmets are the norm but wear what protects your head, though black, dark colors are prefered (no pink). Saw someone with a Tipperary helmet at the last rated show and no one blinked.
Braid in a way that looks nice and allows your horse to stretch his neck out for long and low. Big button braids can look nice but it's all in what sets off your horse's neck to the best advantage.
Since it's USDF Recognized, I'd go as traditional as possible. Around here, it's not so much the level you are riding, but whether or not the show is recognized or not.
Whatever you have for a helmet is fine. You'll see mostly the Charles Ownes types, but I see a lot of the Tipperarys, too, especially among the younger and newer to dressage riders.
Get a show shirt in the event of waived coats. I'd get white. The FITS waffle weave is a good choice. They may or may not waive coats -- when they do they usually wait until people are on the brink of death first. So, plan on wearing it.
Get a stock tie. Your breeches are fine. Your boots are fine.
Your jacket is fine. Black gloves.
Tan breeches are fine, as is a 3 button hunt coat as long as it isn't a light color. Fields boots are fine, and any dark color helmet will work.
Solid navy and black are traditional, but no one will balk at a faint pinstripe or plaid, or a very dark grey.
Under the coat, you can get away with pretty much any shirt with a white stock tie over it. Most people will wear a short sleeve show shirt, or high tech shirt (Kerrits with the half zip neck, etc.) in white or a pastel. However, you can wear a regular show shirt with a choker if you prefer as long as its white or pastel. Honestly, the judge won't care unless its a dark or shockingly bright color.
If coats are waived, most will wear a white polo shirt or a short sleeve white show shirt without neckwear.
Although the rules don't specifically say this, I would be sure that whatever shirt you ride in has a collar. My summer show shirts have like a mock turtleneck w/ a short zipper. I leave it just a bit open. Polo shirts are also fine. I have seen people criticized at schooling shows for wearing shirt w/ no collar.