Show jumping is a discipline that demands precision, skill, and adherence to tradition, and the attire worn by riders is no exception. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential elements of proper show jumping attire, from helmets to boots, as well as the rules and etiquette that govern dress codes in competition settings. 

What is Show Jumping?

Show jumping is an equestrian sport where horse and rider navigate a series of obstacles, typically jumps, within a defined course. The goal is to complete the course with the fewest penalties possible. These penalties can be incurred for altering the height or width of any jumps, your horse refusing a jump, your horse landing in the water over an open water obstacle, or exceeding the time allowed to complete the course. You can be eliminated for falling off of your horse, jumping obstacles out of order or in the wrong direction, and after two refusals to jump. Show jumping is known for its combination of precision, athleticism, and strategy, requiring both horse and rider to have excellent communication and coordination. It’s a popular and exciting discipline in both recreational and competitive horse riding.

Learn all about this incredible sport in our Ultimate Guide to Show Jumping →

Show Jumping Attire & Dress Code

In show jumping competitions, riders typically wear traditional attire that combines practicality with style. Safety in show jumping is just as important as presentation. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) oversees the rules and regulations regarding show jumping; you can find a complete list of the current dress code on the FEI Jumping Rules hub.

Riding Helmet

A properly fitted ASTM/SEI-approved helmet is mandatory during show jumping and all other equestrian competitions for rider safety. You should be wearing your helmet at all times when mounted.

Show Shirt

Riders should wear a show shirt underneath their jacket. Long sleeve, short sleeve and sleeveless show shirts are acceptable. White or light-colored shirts are traditional, although some competition divisions may allow other subtle colors. The shirt should either have an integrated stand-up collar or be able to accommodate a stock tie.

Maddie show shirt

The Maddie 37.5 Show Shirt is the perfect show shirt to wear for show jumping competitions. This shirt features 37.5 thermoregulation technology which helps you maintain the optimum body temperature for peak performance. It also features UPF 50 sun protection to shield you from the sun.

Show Jacket

A hunt style show coat is traditionally worn during show jumping competitions. Hunt coats typically feature a three-button or four-button front closure, notch lapels, and a single vent at the back for ease of movement. Conservative colors like black, navy, or dark green are most popular. The jacket should fit you well and be tailored appropriately so you have a neat and professional appearance. When representing a country in a Nations Cup event, riders may wear varying jacket colors, such as the pinque coat worn by US riders. 

Victory show coat

Check out the Victory Orange Label Show Coat when looking for your next show jumping coat. This lightweight Italian jersey show  jacket is incredibly popular with show jumpers because it is comfortable, stylish, and helps you stay cool. The unlined construction provides freedom of movement where you need it most.

Breeches or Jodhpurs

In show jumping, adult riders should wear white or neutral colored breeches in competition; bright colors and patterns are not permitted. Breeches should be form-fitting but not too tight, allowing for ease of movement. Silicone knee-patch breeches are ideal for show jumping, as they allow riders freedom of movement in the saddle while providing grip and control along the knees and calves. 

Younger riders can wear knee-patch jodhpurs with paddock boots in lieu of breeches. The same rules apply regarding color and fit. 

Learn more: Breeches vs. Jodhpurs: What’s the Difference?

Hayden knee patch breeches

For maximum comfort and security in the saddle, check out the Hayden Silicone Knee Patch Breech. These Euro-seat breeches feature quick-dry stretch fabric and tummy control pocket design to provide comfort and structure.  The custom design silicone knee patches offer stability in the saddle while elevating your show-jumping look.

Riding Boots

Tall leather riding boots are standard during show jumping competitions. Your boots should be clean and polished and either black or brown in color. Field boots or dress boots are both acceptable. No matter the style, the boot should have a distinguishable heel and should fit properly for safety.

Learn more: How to Choose the Right Riding Boots (+ 8 of our favorites)

Riding Gloves

Though optional, gloves provide grip and protection for your hands while riding. Your gloves should fit well, be clean, and be appropriate for the weather conditions. Matching your gloves to the rest of your show-jumping outfit is a great way to maintain a professional and cohesive look.

You may also like: Equestrian Fashion Lookbook: An Outfit for Every Discipline

Show Jumping Rules & Etiquette 

In addition to the dress code, riders are expected to adhere to the following rules and etiquette regarding attire and tack.

Tack and Equipment

All your tack and equipment must be clean, well-maintained, and in good condition. This includes the saddle, bridle, and any additional equipment like martingales or breastplates. Tack should fit your horse properly and be appropriate for the level of competition.

Exhibitor Numbers 

Riders are typically required to display an exhibitor number with their horse’s assigned competition number. This should be positioned clearly and securely on your back or fixed to your horse’s saddle pad for easy identification by judges and officials. Show coats with number holes on the back are perfect for those looking to maintain a clean and sophisticated look even with an exhibitor number tied to their back, as they allow the string that secures the number to be hidden mostly under the coat. Check out the New Monterey Show Coat if you’re looking for a coat with this elevated feature.

Cleanliness and Presentation

Both horse and rider should be well-groomed and presented neatly. This includes grooming the horse thoroughly, cleaning tack and equipment, and ensuring that personal attire is tidy and appropriate for competition.

Hair

Your hair should be neat and contained within a hairnet to maintain a tidy appearance. Keeping long hair tied up is also for safety reasons, as long ponytails or braids can snag or get tangled in horse tack.

Safety Vest

Wearing a safety vest is not required when show jumping, but riders can wear one if they choose. These vests are usually black or navy, similar colors to show coats so that they don’t distract from the overall outfit.

Spurs

Spurs are allowed to be worn during show jumping competitions but they are not required. If worn, your spurs must be made of metal and the shank must be either level with your boot or angled downward. Rowels must be blunt or dulled in such a way that they can’t cause harm to your horse.

Jewelry

Remove your jewelry if possible. Use clear spacers or small studs in your piercings if necessary.

Riding with Confidence

Proper attire in show jumping is not merely about aesthetics, but also about safety, tradition, and respect for the sport. From essential safety equipment like helmets to the tailored jackets and polished boots, each element serves a purpose in maintaining a professional and cohesive appearance in the arena. By adhering to dress codes and etiquette guidelines, riders demonstrate their commitment to the sport and contribute to the overall atmosphere of professionalism and sportsmanship at competitions. 

Investing in the right show jumping attire not only keeps you safe but also helps you perform your best in the show ring. Trust R.J. Classics with all your equestrian apparel needs so you can always ride at peak performance, from flatwork to grand prix.

 

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