Beginner’s Guide: How to Dress for a Horse Show

                Horse showing is a great way to have fun with your horse and to let your competitive side come out! Entering the showing circuit allows riders to show off their skills that they have acquired through riding and helps them to stretch their talent outside of the barn. Horse showing takes confidence, determination, as well as the proper attire. You want to make sure that you are properly dressed for the type of show that you entering and that you meet all the dress code regulations. For entering a horse show, here are some helpful tips to help you find the best attire that is right for you!


                English Show:

               English show boots often vary in size and color. High tops/knee boots are often worn by older competitors that are in the advanced classes and are usually seen in the color black. Younger riders, in the beginner classes, often wear ankle boots that can be seen in the colors brown or black. A tie may also be a requirement for the English riding dress code. Often, a ratcatcher or a white stock tie may be worn to match the shirt and the jacket.

                Western Show:

                Western boots are usually worn for all ages and classes in the western show ring. They usually come up to mid-calf in length and have a pointed toe. Western boots are flashier compared to English boots and can be seen in many different colors and designs.

Show Shirts:

                English Show:

                English shirts consist of a blousy material, and are often worn underneath a riding jacket. English show shirts are usually white, but they can also be found in light pink, purple, and blue. They present a clean-cut look and are not found to be flashy in color or style.

                Western Show:

                There are two different types of Western show shirts, Simple and flashy! Men often wear the simple, button up blouses when showing and the women are often seen in the flashy show shirts. Western cowgirls are all about the glam look! The colorful, glittery show shirts can be seen for the western pleasure classes, as well as the speed events! These show shirts consist of brightly colored fabric, with rhinestones and sequins all throughout the shirt.

English Jackets:

                Riding jackets are only found in the English riding events. These jackets are usually black, gray, or navy and can also be found in a pinstriped design. With each different riding class, there are certain specifications when it comes to the riding jacket design.

  • Hunter Jacket = Jacket has to have only three buttons down the front
  • Hunter, Mountain, and Moorland classes = A Tweed jacket
  • Jumpers = Jackets must have three to four buttons down the front
  • Pony classes = Jackets should be navy


                English Show:

                English riding breeches are made of a stretchy material that has added padding for the inner thighs and butt area. These riding breeches are a requirement for all riding classes and are one of the signature pieces of attire that are associated with English riding.

                Western Show:

                For western showing, jeans are most often the type of pants that are worn in the ring. Jeans are to be nice and clean and can often be paired with a pair of riding chaps for the western pleasure classes.


                For both English and Western Ridding, hair should be neatly pulled back and out of the face. Braids and buns are often the go-to hair style for women. A bun/braid keeps the hair slicked back, under the helmet, and presents a look of sophistication and elegance. Men usually have their hair short enough to be kept underneath the helmet/hat. In some cases, men and women may also wear a hair net to keep their hair pulled back and together.


                English Show:

                For English ridding, it is a requirement for you to wear an English riding helmet. Helmets are usually black in color and can often be seen with a suede/velvet covering. Riding helmets keep your head protected from injury and also aids in the sophisticated look of the English riding outfit.

                Western Show:

                For western riding, a cowboy hat is a requirement for all advanced classes. Your hat has to be tight enough that it doesn’t come off your head and it is usually seen in the colors black, brown, or tan. In some instances if your hat comes off while in the show ring, points are deducted from your overall scoring.

English Riding Accessories:


                Gloves are not an English attire requirement, but they do help in aiding with extra grip on the reins while showing. Gloves are also very useful when jumping. If you wear gloves, they should be comfortable for you but also look neat and clean. They should also be the same color as your boots, tack, and whip.


                Not everyone may want or may need to use a whip while showing. Riding whips are optional. However if you do decide to show with a whip, make sure it is the same color as all your accessories (boots, tack, gloves, etc.) and that it meets the whip requirement for that specific show. Depending on the show, there may be a whip length requirement that you will have to follow if you so choose to use a whip in the show ring. Just always double check to make sure that you are following all the dress code guidelines when preparing your attire for your show!

                Whether you plan on showing Western or English, make sure you have all the appropriate attire and that you follow all the dress code guidelines for your specific riding class! To check out our riding apparel, visit us at today!