Correct dress for adult show classes

  • The show ring does have its fashions but the traditional guidelines for riding clothes remain the same. Follow our checklist and you’ll look the part.

    Hunter, cob and riding horses

    Tradition recommends a bowler hat for men and a bowler or hunting cap for women. Horse Magazine recommends all riders should wear velvet- covered hats to the current highest safety standard (BSEN1384 or PAS015). You are also required to wear:

  • Tweed coat
  • Plain fawn or buff breeches – not white
  • Leather boots with garter straps
  • Spurs: can be dummy ones. Spurs should be worn high up on the heel, on the seam of the boot, and be horizontal – many riders wear them too low
  • Leather or string gloves: the professionals’ choice is brown leather
  • Plain malacca or leather-covered cane, not exceeding 32 inches in length
  • Shirt and tie.


    As above but many women prefer to wear navy or black jackets. Navy is often more flattering.

    Ridden mountain and moorland

    Dress as for hunters and cobs but spurs are not allowed. Adult riders of small native breeds often wear jodhpurs and jodhpur boots rather than breeches and long boots.


    You see a huge range of outfits for in-hand classes but the basic rule is to be neat, tidy and safe. A hacking jacket, jodhpurs or trousers, shirt and tie, hat and smart footwear you can run in are always acceptable. You should also wear gloves and carry a showing cane.Arab handlers are traditionally dressed mainly in white.


    Black or blue habit with collar and tie, bowler hat and veil. Hair should be worn in a bun, so if yours isn’t longenough you will need to wear a false one.

    Style points

    Cutaway jackets, with a canary-coloured waistcoat underneath, have become more fashionable. It’s a matter of taste but don’t wear them if you’re not happy about a less-than-flattummy.

    Ladies’ jackets should be tailored at the waist and long enough to cover the seat. In classes such as hacks and ridden Arabs, some competitors like to wear a discreet buttonhole which tones with the colour of their horse’s browband.

    Some riders feel that if the judge is faced with a class of lookalikes, such as a collection of grey Connemaras, they need to stand out from the crowd. But don’t go overboard – there’s a difference between making an impression and sticking out like a sore thumb.

    Hitting the heights

    Our guidelines should see you safely through up to county level shows. If you hit the heights of evening performances at Wembley and international shows, however, there are special dress ruleswhich apply. You will need to refer to the relevant associations rule book for details.

  • You may like...