Expert advice on making a good impression when taking BHS exam
Comfort, tidiness, cleanliness and safety are all important when deciding on suitable clothing for exams. Clothing must be practical, workmanlike and safe as essentially the exam is a working day.
Your riding hat must comply to either BS EN 1384 and PAS 015. The BHS say a hacking jacket is prefered but you won’t be prevented from sitting an exam in a blueor black jacket. For Stage I a V-neck sweater is acceptable, but students should have a jacket for Stage II.
A shirt with a collar and tie should be worn under your jacket. You may want to replace your jacket with a plain V- or crew-neckedsweatshirt or jumper during “care” sections. If you prefer to wear a stock rather than a tie, ensure you wear a coloured stock with a hacking jacket or a white stock with a black or blue jacket.
Breeches with long riding boots or jodhpurs with jodhpur boots are equally acceptable, and although there are no restrictions, neutral coloured legwear creates a good impression.
Candidates sitting “care” only exams, which do not include riding or lunging, could wear smart cord or twill trousers with boots or shoes suitable for stable tasks.
Gloves should be worn for riding and lunging, plus at any other times when safety would suggest it.
Current standard body protectors must be worn for all cross-country sections and are strongly recommended for show jumping. It may be worn under or over a jacket. Alternatively you can substitute a jacket for a sweatshirt but your arms must be substantially covered.
Short, blunt spurs can be worn from Stage III upwards. If you decide to wear spurs you must be capable and experienced at riding unknown horses in spurs and they should only be used when needed.
In Stage I, exams whips must be no longer than 30in. Whips of this length should also be carriedin all jumping sections at higher level exams. From Stage II upwards, a schooling whip up to 39in in length may be used when riding on the flat.
Ear-rings and jewellery are not allowed except for a watch and a wedding ring.
Don’t forget to bring waterproof jacket in case of wet weather and a waistcoat or similar if it is cold. Coats and jackets should be kept done up throughout the exam. If you are too hot ask to take your coat/waistcoat off rather than leave it undone.
If you are doing an exam which includes show jumping or cross-country an extra pair of boots to walk the course in will prevent you from beginning the day with dirty footwear.
For more information on the BHS exam system contact the BHS (tel: 08701 202 244).