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Schooling Show Turnout Questions

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  • Schooling Show Turnout Questions

    Ok, I know there have been a good number of posts on this topic, but in searching the archive I didn't really see answers to my specific question, so I hope you don't mind yet another post on this topic!

    And I WILL talk to my trainer about all of this, but I sorta want to be prepared in advance..not to mention SmartPak is having an in-store 10% off sale this weekend so finding out soon if I need anything specific would be nice

    Anyway - it seems very likely that I'll be doing my first dressage schooling show late this fall. I'll likely be doing Into A and B on "my" schoolhorse. Yay! I'm really excited - I eventually want to event, so this is my baby step into that The entry form/info for the show we're looking at hasn't been posted yet, but looking at an old one I dug up, there doesn't seem to be anything stated about attire for horse or rider.

    Most of my experience is in hunter/eq, so bear w/ me if any of these are really dumb questions!

    1) Can I wear my dark blue w/ a very subtle plaid show jacket? It'll be late fall in New England, so the polo shirts I see mentioned in other thread probably wouldn't work. Or should I go w/ a sweater?

    2) Do I need a stock tie? Or is a choker ok, especially if I'm not wearing a black coat?

    3) Beige/light tan breeches - are they ok?

    4) I assume I need a white square pad?

    5) Is a "normal" brown snaffle bridle ok?

    6) Are bell boots allowed?

    7) and most importantly - can I wear the Show Bow I've had since I was 10, or are they as mocked in dressage-land as they are now in h/j-land? Heheh!

    Again, sorry if these are really dumb questions, or if there was someplace else I should have looked for the answers!


  • #2
    No/Yes :-)


    • #3
      Hunt attire is totally acceptable for you and the horse. You can't wear bell boots and make sure the bit, spurs and whip are within the USDF/USEF guidelines.
      Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger


      • #4
        1) Can I wear my dark blue w/ a very subtle plaid show jacket?
        Yes. If you want to go more casual, you can always wear a long-sleeved shirt and a nice riding vest.

        2) Do I need a stock tie?
        No. Choker is fine.

        3) Beige/light tan breeches - are they ok?

        4) I assume I need a white square pad?
        Not necessarily. I don't ride in one because my horses are short-backed and I think they look better in a contour pad.

        5) Is a "normal" brown snaffle bridle ok?
        Yes, esp. if it matches your saddle.

        6) Are bell boots allowed?
        They aren't at recog. shows, so you might want to get used to riding without them.

        7) and most importantly - can I wear the Show Bow I've had since I was 10, or are they as mocked in dressage-land as they are now in h/j-land?
        No idea. My hair isn't long enough for a bun. So I either put it up in a ponytail and put a net over it or stuff it up in my helmet.

        Have a good time!
        "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
        the best day in ten years,


        • #5
          In my area, some people do wear show bows at both recognized and schooling shows, and they are often blinged up a little. I would think a nice show bow will be fine, but if it is old and ratty, I would probably say get a new one.

          All the other questions have been answered well by the above replies.


          • #6
            Basic rule of schooling shows: Look neat!

            Sure some people dress to the hilt, but the most important point is to have your horse clean and turned out well. Stock ties aren't necessary in the least. Sometimes I wear my brown breeches because they are neat and comfortable. I usually wear use a white pad, but that and black are the colors I like. Really, just choose something tasteful. Brown and hunter tack is perfectly acceptable. I never use bell boots anyway, but it shouldn't matter. Enjoy and ride a good test!


            • Original Poster

              Thanks, everyone! You have been SO helpful I appreciate it!


              • #8
                You are on the east coast, I'm on the west coast, so things might be a tad different, but here goes . . .

                1) Can I wear my dark blue w/ a very subtle plaid show jacket? It'll be late fall in New England, so the polo shirts I see mentioned in other thread probably wouldn't work. Or should I go w/ a sweater?

                Either. At schooling shows here less than 5% actually wear a jacket. Usually long sleeved shirt with a vest, sometimes turtlenecks. A nice cable-knit sweater over a shirt with a collar might look smart, too.

                2) Do I need a stock tie? Or is a choker ok, especially if I'm not wearing a black coat?

                Either is fine. Obviously if you don't wear your jacket, definitely don't were a stock tie. You can wear a choker under your sweater though.

                3) Beige/light tan breeches - are they ok?


                4) I assume I need a white square pad?

                Nope. Use what you want as long as it's clean and in good repair and fits your horse and saddle.

                5) Is a "normal" brown snaffle bridle ok?

                Yes. Try to match your saddle if you can.

                6) Are bell boots allowed?

                Often at schooling shows they are allowed -- it will state this on your entry.

                7) and most importantly - can I wear the Show Bow I've had since I was 10, or are they as mocked in dressage-land as they are now in h/j-land? Heheh!

                Dressage people around here wear show bows if they have enough hair. Usually ones with bling either on the bow or on the netting. The popular thing is this show scrunchie thing with the netting and bling on the netting. I think it's horrid and ugly and I wouldn't wear it, but to each their own.

                On a side-note, I'd recommend braiding (nothing fancy, just very basic) and making sure your horse looks clean. If he's white or gray, at least get the stains off and wash up any socks.


                • #9
                  Personally, I love wearing a sweater with a polo or button down shirt underneath for fall schooling shows and it's always looked really smart - especially if I match the sweater or shirt to my saddle pad. Granted, I've only done fall hunter schooling shows myself (the ones I've been to are pretty laid back), but based upon the dressage schooling shows I've observed, a sweater wouldn't be out of line. I just did my first dressage show in forever the other day, and I ended up wearing a pink polo to match my pink saddle pad. Plus, my friends surprised me by arriving early at the barn and braiding my horse for me, so we looked pretty sharp and got so many compliments from the judge and other riders. Had this been in the fall, I'd have done the same thing except thrown a brown sweater over the polo to match my brown velvet helmet and the brown piping on the saddle pad.
                  In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.


                  • #10
                    The only other rule is please post pics!


                    • #11
                      i took my gelding to a schooling show in June, we're doing 2 more schooling shows at the end of july and august. this is what we wore, and what i intend to wear.

                      We're in the Pacific Northwest. Some were in hunter tack/clothes, some were just in a shirt/vest, and some in polos- really all across the board.





                      Just look neat and clean and you'll be fine. Have fun and remember to share pictures!
                      My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage


                      • #12
                        Agree with the above.

                        Show Bows are commonish here too. I also dislike the scrunchy thing that has become popular...particularly if the scrunchy is white! Reminds me of how they do up Clydesdale tails...

                        I would suggest gloves too. Dressage riders seem to show in gloves at all levels. I would wear black or dark brown if your hands aren't too steady.
                        Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                        • Original Poster

                          Ok, I LOVE the idea of matching a sweater to the saddle pad - definitely have to ask my trainer if that'd be ok

                          hehe, and I too think Show Bows are horrible looking, but I am fond of them for purely sentimental reasons - they remind me of my youth!

                          Gloves - yes! Definitely will not forget those.

                          And if we do go, I promise to post pics

                          Thanks again!


                          • Original Poster

                            Also - myhorsefaith, your horse is truly adorable


                            • #15
                              Stupid question: what is a show bow? I did "hunter hair" at my first dressage show and got one of those velvet bows with a net hair basket thingie since I got razzed for it.


                              • #16
                                6) Are bell boots allowed?

                                Often at schooling shows they are allowed -- it will state this on your entry.
                                if you are showing in New England/MA take the boots off. I have yet to see a judge allow them at schooling shows. Better safe than sorry.
                                Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger


                                • #17
                                  Normal schooling show attire around here is a polo shirt (or some other nice collared shirt) with breeches. If you really want to use the bells, just call the show manager/ sec. and ask- some shows allow, some don't
                                  "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                                  So you might as well have a good time"


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Megsabelle View Post
                                    Stupid question: what is a show bow? I did "hunter hair" at my first dressage show and got one of those velvet bows with a net hair basket thingie since I got razzed for it.
                                    That "velvet bow with a net hair basket thingie" would indeed be a show bow. Hair basket!
                                    Donald Trump - proven liar, cheat, traitor and sexual predator! Hillary Clinton won in 2016, but we have all lost.


                                    • #19
                                      Go with a smile!

                                      Neat and clean is wonderful, but remember that it's fun, too! I just had my first dressage show experience last Saturday, on my homebred mare, Stella, and it was a great first time! My trainer was also showing a couple of green youngsters, so I knew I had to relax, breathe, and enjoy--and enlist plenty of helpers. It was a schooling dressage and CT show, and the atmosphere was very relaxed, with lots of helpful folks. Many thanks to Clay, my volunteer photographer, and to the wonderful lady with the booming, clear voice, who called my second test for me. I was nervous after Intro A, and just asked someone I'd seen calling tests very effectively for other folks, and she graciously agreed. I didn't get her name, but she was a lifesaver for this old hunter rider turned dressage rider, starting all over again at fiftysomething...






                                      I only violated my "smile rule" once... when it was all done, and the tears came. We'd gone through a year of rehab, followed by a year of building up slowly again, and lots and lots of cavaletti work. Sure, it was Intro, but it felt so, so good.

                                      Oh, and enjoy that cool weather! Even my trainer agreed it was too darn hot for gloves last Saturday in the Carolinas!
                                      "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." - Churchill


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks everyone!

                                        I think we'll be able to safely ditch the bell boots for the day, so that shouldn't be an issue.

                                        And I'm still so tempted by the show bow! We'll see if my instructor lets me - she did a lot of eq as a junior before moving to eventing, so she may still be biased against them

                                        And thanks for the pics, Helen! You and your mare looked lovely - and relaxed and happy! Congrats on making it through the rehab