Dressing Your Child For Their First Competition

When it’s time for your child to attend their first horse show it’s important to remember that although they are competitive they should also be having fun.

Horse shows are a good way to teach your child about sportsmanship but certain aspects are always going to be beyond your control.

Your child is bound to be both excited and nervous so an easy way to help the day go smoothly and to make them feel comfortable is to make sure that they’re dressed appropriately.


What your child should wear greatly depends on what kind of show they’re attending. Dressage is always competed in wearing formal attire which traditionally means a black jacket, white shirt, tall boots and light tan or white breeches.

For your child’s first show a navy or black jacket is acceptable as is your choice of any dark coloured hat. However, as your child progresses through the different levels they will need a hat covered in black velvet; either built-in or as a slip-on cover.

It’s not until they reach the really top level of events that they’ll need a top hat.
Paddock boots, half-chaps or chaps are acceptable for lower level dressage but should not be warn in dressage at all and when your child advances up through the different levels you will need to add either a rat-catcher to their attire or a stock tie pinned securely into place.

Cross country

Cross country horse shows are an altogether different kettle of fish as far as dress is concerned. These shows are a great way for children to really start to show their own personalities as both they and their horses can wear any colour they choose.

Your child will still need to wear tall boots, a helmet, a skull cap, breeches, a body protect and a long sleeved shirt. These can be in any range of colours as can their horse’s saddle pads, boots and accessories.

Sitting down with your child to discuss the different options and choosing a winning colour combination is a good way to encourage excitement for the show ahead.

Show jumping

A more relaxed affair than dressage events but not quite as colourful as cross country, show jumping will also require your child to be suitably dressed.

As with all events a helmet is a strict requirement and tall boots, short boots and chaps will also be needed. Riders of all ages can jump while wearing a back protector to guarantee safety and the colour code is not as strict as dressage so you will see a slight variation in jackets and breeches.

You should remember that this event is still quite conservative so don’t expect to see the neon pinks that often crop up during cross country events and opt for subtler shades instead.

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