From Endurance to Dressage
I was reading one of the latest issues of Dressage Today and was surprised to see a small blurb about changes in the USEF rule regarding clothing at a show. The article said that as of late April, riders would be able to wear any color of shirt and breeches and that jackets were now optional at Level 1 shows. What?!
It's not that I doubted Dressage Today, but I wanted to see the rule change for myself. I also wanted to investigate how a Level 1 show was different from Level 5 show. Here's that breakdown first:
I am guessing that Level 1 and 2 shows are those that are rated by a GMO and not USDF. There are many CDS shows that aren't USDF/USEF rated, but they still follow all USEF rules and regulations. I guess if you're not sure, you need to ask the show manager.
Here is a part of USEF's Dressage Rule 120 regarding dress:
But for Level 1 Shows, there are some exceptions ...
I am not sure what the motivation for the rule change was. Was it to make it cheaper for riders coming from other disciplines, or was it simply to allow riders more creative expression in their dress? I am fairly conservative and like the look of white breeches with a black or gray coat. I don't think I'll plan to show in anything else even when at a Level 1 or schooling show.
And of course, the biggest rule change to come down the pike is the helmet rule:
I never really understood the first rule change that excluded some riders from the earlier version of the helmet rule. If it's good enough for a 4th Level rider, why should an FEI rider be excluded? I say, hats off to USEF and USDF for the newest rule change. I view dressage more as an athletic endeavor than as an art form. As such, protective gear just makes sense.
I won't be running out to Dover or Smartpak to redo my show attire. I'll stick with my black helmet, gray and black jackets, white breeches, white gloves, white ties, and black boots. The only thing I might add is a little bling here or there. I am still looking for the perfect belt ...
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
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2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
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3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: