Equestrian show jackets – types, colors, rules. What to choose?
Horse riding has always equaled elegance and every rider should make sure to keep up with this tradition. Class presented by the riders is one of the factors that attracts people to this discipline and still makes it stand out from all the other sports. It's one of the many elements that add up to the unique atmosphere of the "horse" world, and we all know that somebody who has once been enchanted by this classy and passionate aura, will always keep coming back to equestrian sports, or... miss them forever.
While looking at riders that are ready to take part in a competition, you may not realize how much effort needs to be put into preparing the whole look. Every detail must find its right place and stand out not only by how comfortable it is but also how flawlessly it looks. The matter is complicated by the fact that each discipline has its own rules and there is no place for a "versatile" outfit. Riders who dress inappropriately might be disqualified both during national and international competitions. Today, we focus on only one piece of equestrian clothing - the jacket/coat. Which are right for jumping and which for dressage? What should be its color?
For this discipline, appropriate are long show jackets, but be careful - not everybody can wear them! More and more common are short show jackets. It should be black or navy blue, or in some other dark color. If you wish to have a jacket in another color, you can report it (with fee) to you national Equestrian Federation. Then, you should get a permit allowing you to take part in competitions in a particular color for a number of years. Unacceptable are jackets with stripes, but you can have contrasting trimming or discreet ornaments. To be sure what is acceptable, visit the official website of your national Equestrian Federation and check the terms.
What's important is that kids and juniors up to 16-years-old taking part in competitions on ponies have to wear a short jacket, it is forbidden to wear long ones. For other riders, wearing long jackets or coats is allowed from class C (including class C). Riders wearing protective helmets (which is recommended instead of traditional hats) can wear short jackets regardless of class. As you can see - short jackets are more versatile and can be more suitable for people who are just starting taking parts in competitions.
International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) states in its terms that they allow long jackets or short ones that are black, navy blue, or "other dark" color. Here you can also have contrasting trimming. For more details please see FEI's dressage regulations (https://inside.fei.org/fei/regulations/dressage).
A long show jacket should have slits which provide comfort during riding. Remember that it's good to have matching gloves and helmets, so the outfit consists of coherent elements.
Show jumping jackets
Due to its dynamics, in jumping we use short jackets. For Polish Equestrian Federation acceptable colors are: black, red, green, navy blue, blue, brown, and grey. Other colors need to be registered (with fee).
International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) allows colors accepted by the rider's country federations (in Poland - Polish Equestrian Federation). What is important is that show jackets of one team must be in the same color. You can find detailed regulations for show jumping competitions of FEI here https://inside.fei.org/fei/regulations/jumping
Show jacket must fit properly. Pay attention whether the sleeves get too short and the whole becomes too tight when you bend your arms (like when you're holding the reins). It's good to choose a jacket with admixture of elastin or lycra, then it will be more elastic and not restrict your movements. Now, some jackets have a zipper hidden under buttons, which prevents distortion of the material on the chest.
Equishop offers show jackets from many producers, due to which you can make sure that you'll choose perfectly fit model. We offer e.g. a waterproof show jacket from Kingsland, traditional cuts from Equiline or Samshield, or innovative ones from Horse Pilot. Producers apply various comfortable solutions, such as mesh lining that provide proper airflow, or they combine different materials in a way that make the jacket fit the body perfectly, at the same time not restricting movements. It's worth noticing that Animo allows you to personalize the jackets. It's an interesting solution for equestrian clubs that want to use one color and still stand out.
Choosing show jacket is not easy. Particular models vary in details, fabrics, collars. If you have troubles making the choice, it's good to ask an experienced rider or store's staff for help. First of all, you need to trust your instincts: the jacket needs to be elegant, but also comfortable. All in all, you will use it for years to come.