‘Breaking down barriers’ as dark breeches to be allowed in competition

  • British Dressage (BD) is to allow dark breeches in competition from next year – as well as jackets in any colour – as part of “breaking down the barriers to participation” in the sport.

    The 2024 BD members’ handbook, which was released today (1 December), states: “Breeches or jodhpurs should predominately be of a solid, single colour. Dark-coloured contrast seats are permitted. Stripes or bold patterned breeches or jodhpurs are not allowed.”

    BD chief executive Jason Brautigam told H&H that when considering the appropriate wording for the dress code, the BD board “agreed that we should continue our efforts to make BD as accessible as possible”.

    “Dressage is a colourful sport, where we have all types of horses and ponies competing, so we want to allow riders to wear the breeches and jackets of their choice too,” he said.

    “With over 19,000 members, and almost 4,000 now competing in our Club category, we want to continue to break down the barriers to participation in dressage and welcome as broad an audience as possible.”

    Members may wear jackets of any single colour, and “modest patterns” and “crystal decorations” are among the accents allowed.

    The breeches change follows British Riding Clubs’ (BRC) bringing in the same rule a year ago as “an important and significant move as more sports look to adapt to be more relevant and more inclusive”. BRC said at the time it expected other equestrian organisations to follow suit.

    US Equestrian had allowed dark breeches in dressage since the previous year, to give riders “more choices and flexibility, and making the dress code more welcoming to many riders, including those new to the sport”.

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