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  1. #1
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    Default Appropriate tack/attire for schooling shows - Update!

    I did a search but couldn't seem to get anything to come up. I apologize if this question has been asked a billion times already.

    I'm thinking of entering a local dressage show that is not rated. I've been a h/j rider my entire life so this is all new to me. I've taken a few dressage lessons and am trying to bring my horse back from an injury, so we've been taking it slow. I do not own a dressage saddle. I have borrowed a couple of dressage saddles from the ladies I board with but it's going to take a lot of hours in the saddle before my body can find peace with a dressage saddle. I'm so busy fighting the saddle at this point that I can't ride my dang horse.

    I'd probably be riding Intro level at this show but could possibly be doing Training level. Will it be frowned upon for me to ride my tests in a close contact saddle?

    Also, would it look better for me to wear my h/j show attire or would I be better off just wearing a collared shirt and breeches so as not to stick out TOO much like a sore thumb? Ladies at the barn are ready to turn me into a full fledged DQ from the start so just wanted to get an unbiased opinion.

    Thanks for helping a newbie!
    Last edited by SkipHiLad4me; Nov. 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM.
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


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  2. #2
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    A close contact saddle is totally fine at intro or training (in fact, it is legal through 4th level at rated shows). Make sure you are using a legal bit.

    As for attire, call and ask the secretary what the normal attire is. At many fall/winter schooling shows around here people wear breeches/boots and sweaters or jackets. If it does require show clothes- you're hunter show clothes are completely acceptable.



  3. #3
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    Thanks so much! This is the best news I've heard all day
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!



  4. #4
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    Think of how you'd dress to ride for George, and wear that.
    www.destinationconsensusequus.com
    chaque pas est fait ensemble



  5. #5
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    I do not own a dressage saddle. I have borrowed a couple of dressage saddles from the ladies I board with but it's going to take a lot of hours in the saddle before my body can find peace with a dressage saddle. I'm so busy fighting the saddle at this point that I can't ride my dang horse
    Stop riding in these saddles - chances are they are either a poor fit for you or your horse - or both

    Depending on your jump saddle conformation, it may be relatively easy/difficult to cultivate a dressage position - definitely don't start your dressage lesson with some enforced position that just creates tension.



  6. #6
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    Default

    For schooling shows, I usually wear a white ratcatcher or polo shirt (or in winter, a turtleneck) with a vest, and coordinating breeches, white or black.

    If you can't afford two saddles but still want to jump, you might, perhaps, feel more comfortable in an AP saddle?



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Stop riding in these saddles - chances are they are either a poor fit for you or your horse - or both
    Thank you! I will gladly take this advice! I definitely know one of the saddles I tried was just completely wrong for me - probably too small and the thigh blocks were terrible. I felt like I had nowhere to move in the seat. Very frustrating. Fit my horse great though! I know it will take a lot of rides in a lot of different saddles to find one that I can learn to work with. Not to mention the time it takes to retrain your body. As long as I know I can continue to ride/compete in the close contact saddle, I would just prefer to drop my stirrups a hole (or 4!) and work on my seat from there for now.

    Sandy makes a good point though - I think I *am* going to need to buy another saddle in the future (CC saddle doesn't fit new horse as well as it fits current horse) and I may consider an AP. I'm sort of straddling the fence between h/j and dressage at this point in my riding career... current horse doesn't jump anymore and the new horse and I are a long way off from cruising around a jump course
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!



  8. #8
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    The problem many people have when riding in a CC saddle for dressage, is it's harder to really sit, especially in the canter. CC saddles have a balance point and seat designed for riders that spend alot of time in two point or a light seat, obviously the opposite of Dressage.

    If you find yourself having trouble sitting the trot or being really effective in the canter as you move up to first level, that may be something to look at, but for Intro and Training, you should be perfectly fine.

    As said above, your hunter outfit would be perfectly okay, or a light colored polo/turtleneck depending on the weather. Do check that your bit is legal, as well as your tack. No boots or martingales allowed.

    I've gone to schooling shows where local kids dress to the 9's and the BNT's wear plaid breeches and colored polos. As long as you're comfortable and neatly turned out, you should be fine. I usually bring both outfits, my coat and a polo, that way I can see what others are wearing and/or dress for the weather.

    If you are going to wear your coat though, please braid. Nothing bugs me more than seeing a rider all dressed up with a horse that only got half his beauty treatment.

    I do disagree with getting an AP saddle though, especially if you are jumping 3'+ or planning to do First level and above Dressage.



  9. #9
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    I wear black or brown (Taupe) breeches, polo (black or white), black leather show gloves, and CO helmet. I wear Ariat field boots (laces) as they fit better then dress boots.

    My horse wears a white saddle pad and is clipped but not braided. I bathe and put a sheet on the horse.

    I may go for braids in 2013 as a prep for recognized.

    You hunter tack should be just fine.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipHiLad4me View Post
    Sandy makes a good point though - I think I *am* going to need to buy another saddle in the future (CC saddle doesn't fit new horse as well as it fits current horse) and I may consider an AP. I'm sort of straddling the fence between h/j and dressage at this point in my riding career... current horse doesn't jump anymore and the new horse and I are a long way off from cruising around a jump course
    well if you're accepting new saddle recommendations, try a County Stabilizer with no (or removeable) blocks - it may take some getting used to (open seat, no blocks tends to show up your weaknesses - oops) but does a great job of not interfering

    If you prefer a saddle with blocks, definitely look for removeable/adjustable blocks, also try block shape options.

    The Albion Catalogue shows options rather neatly (sorry can't seem to link the direct page, so just "flip")



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipHiLad4me View Post
    Thank you! I will gladly take this advice! I definitely know one of the saddles I tried was just completely wrong for me - probably too small and the thigh blocks were terrible. I felt like I had nowhere to move in the seat. Very frustrating. Fit my horse great though! I know it will take a lot of rides in a lot of different saddles to find one that I can learn to work with.
    You may be more comfortable in a saddle with a flatter seat and minimal or no blocks. They're a little harder to find, but they don't "lock you in" like some of the saddles with super deep seats and huge blocks.
    It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
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  12. #12
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    At the bottom of this thread I'm seeing several related threads about schooling show attire, so you might want to take a look at them. But I think you've gotten good advice here. Do you have a prize list? The tack and attire requirements might be in there. You can always call the show secretary or manager and ask what is required, and/or what most people wear. Kids dressing up and AAs and pros dressing down is pretty much the norm with our schooling show series.
    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQNutter
    The whip is held across your thigh so as you can still hold the reins without spilling your coffee!!
    SillyHorse adds: Or your wine.



  13. #13
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    I am a h/j rider who started showing dressage last year (somehow ended up with a fabulous dressage horse so here I am.. and loving it). I wear my tan tailored sportsmans, field boots, polo shirt/sweater, black gloves and gpa helmet complete with hunter hair. Haha! My experience is that the schooling dressage shows are a little more relaxed than the schooling hunter shows, way more people in polos than shirt & jacket.

    Get a dressage saddle. It will do wonders for your position. I could not stop leaning forward in my jumping saddle. It will be HARD for a while. I faught with the saddle and the stirrup length at first. It took months of riding for it to feel natural after years of being perched in a jumping saddle. Now it is so comfortable and easy to switch between the two disciplines. Don't get discouraged if it is hard at first!



  14. #14
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    Thank you to everyone for the advice and suggestions! All very helpful and much appreciated!


    alto - Thank you for the saddle suggestion. I was also reading the current thread about "starter saddles" with much interest. I have no clue about dressage saddles and being in an area with limited access to saddle fitters and tack shops, it limits my options on being able to try out a wide range of saddle types. At least if I have some ideas of what brands or options to look for, it will help me narrow down the search!

    Thoroughbred in Color - Thanks for that tip! I thought I would like the blocks when I first sat in the saddle and walked around. Then I started trotting and the love affair was over. haha! Maybe after I get more comfortable with a dressage seat and riding more correctly, the blocks wouldn't be so annoying. Thank god my horse has smooth gaits or I might have thrown out a hip

    SillyHorse- thanks for pointing those out! I hadn't noticed them!! I will definitely check into those threads also.

    Wannabe - I appreciate the info from the point of view of a fellow h/j! It's definitely a lot more of an adjustment than I expected. I find myself also wanting to tip forward. As you and OreoCookie both eluded to, I'm sure the balance point on the CC saddle doesn't help this and more miles in a dressage saddle would be the best answer.


    The prize list I have says this in regards to attire:
    "USEF rules apply except coats/braiding optional; whips, wraps and dressage callers allowed. Hard hats with harnesses are required for any jumping." The couple of times I've been to these shows to watch, I don't remember seeing anyone choosing to wear coats and/or braid. Not sure if that would've changed based on which level of tests I was watching.
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipHiLad4me View Post
    The prize list I have says this in regards to attire:
    "USEF rules apply except coats/braiding optional;
    Braiding is always optional. USEF rule states that it is permitted.
    Quote Originally Posted by SuzieQNutter
    The whip is held across your thigh so as you can still hold the reins without spilling your coffee!!
    SillyHorse adds: Or your wine.



  16. #16
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    Does your dressage instructor have lesson horses (with saddles that are at least an appropriate size for you) that you might ride while exploring new saddle position(s)?

    With limited access to saddle fitters and tack shops, online fitting consults for your horse are very helpful, there are also "roving" saddle fitters that may travel through your area (just communicate clearly when booking the appointment what your goals are & what size you & your horse both are - FP is a "bad" model, so the fitter shows up with a 100 (or more) saddles & exactly none fit, but we jam a couple on just so we all feel like it wasn't a total waste of time & money )

    Call/email saddle companies for reps that may/will be in your area & book an appointment - again, make sure the rep is likely to have something for you to actually ride in (they can bring in saddles specific to you & your horse).

    Go to any big shows/events/clinics in your area - saddle vendors & fitters often come out to these: again, contact in advance & they will try to have saddles suitable for you.

    If/when you do ship in saddles, always get as many in a box as possible

    Depending on your budget, invest in a saddle rental/lease as this will allow you more time to ride before committing to a purchase.

    Of course if your new horse is young/starting work - be prepared to adjust/change your saddle regularly over the next few years



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    Does your dressage instructor have lesson horses (with saddles that are at least an appropriate size for you) that you might ride while exploring new saddle position(s)?
    Unfortunately, no She travels in to the barn once a month or so and gives mini-clinics for us (small barn - owner + 3 boarders) and a few others who live nearby and want to lesson with her. So I've only ridden in 2 different saddles on my horse and one on my BO's horse. BO's saddle seems most comfortable to me so far (while riding her horse!) so I need to find out what kind of saddle it is. I think it might be a Wintec. It had thigh blocks but they were perhaps removable? Seems they were located more under the flap more like knee rolls and not as prominent like the saddle I disliked, which I think was a Bates Innova after some quick research.


    Thanks for the shopping tips. I actually believe there is a County rep in my area. She's closest to the new horse's barn if I decided to go ahead and get him fitted (I've been holding off until he's closer to home and in regular work!) but an hour or so from my older horse, who is fortunately no problem to trailer out.
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!



  18. #18
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    I went to two dressage shows this year. I rode in my hunt seat saddle, wore tan chaps, and my blue hunt coat. I did feel like I stuck out like a sore thumb but the only person that seemed to care was me. In fact I got a lot of compliments on how nice my mare and I looked. I was riding intro in both shows.
    Maggie Bright, lovingly known as Skye and deeply missed (1994 - 2013)
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  19. #19
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    For schooling shows, my horses were always turned out (braided), etc. and riders in the attire that they would wear to a recognized show.

    Not sure that is really necessary for schooling shows, but it was a nice presentation.



  20. #20
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    Just wanted to update my thread and say thanks again for everyone's help.

    I only rode the Intro B and Intro C tests but we placed first in both (scored a 68 and 70 I think?) and were Champion in the Intro division for the day. Most of the judge's comments were in regards to a lack of impulsion (he died on me in that 20x40 arena! ha!) and her wanting to see him be more round/over the back at certain times. Not bad for beginners luck though huh? The good news is that I think I might be hooked, so assuming my older guy stays sound for a bit longer, I think we'll hone our skills and aim for Training level next spring!

    Thanks again
    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

    Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!


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