With the extraordinarily high chances of injury occurring while riding a horse over obstacles, show jumping gear is critical for the safety of beginners to competition. But there are dress codes and standards mandated by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) that have to be adopted. This article will introduce you briefly to the chief articles of wear for both the rider and the horse before you step onto the show jumping track.
To begin with, these are the articles of wear that you must have for show jumping as a beginner:
- An approved safety helmet
- A standard show jumper’s jacket
- White/Beige breeches
- Long boots or gators
- A shirt with a white collar
- Gloves to protect your hands
Now let’s look at these items in more detail.
1. Safety Helmets for Show Jumping: Safety helmets have been shown to considerably reduce the chance of fatal injuries when you fall off and hence, must have considerable shock absorbing properties. The FEI requires you to adhere to any of the British (PAS), North American (ASTM), European (EN), or Australia-New Zealand (AS/NZ) standards. Helmets with a three-point harness are a mandatory requirement at all times that you remain mounted and whether the competition you’re taking part is affiliated, unaffiliated, or just for training. Over time though, these helmets can lose their hardiness and must be replaced, especially after an accident or a fall.
2. The Show Jumper’s Jacket: Jackets are required to wear more out of convention than as a rule. In extreme cold or rainy weather, you may be allowed to put on a thicker coat or a waterproof jacket. In very hot weather, such as is experienced in Texas and the surrounding areas, you may be allowed to remove the jacket altogether. Note, however, that when you do wear them you will have to choose a conservative color from among black, grey, navy, and brown. Modern show jumper jackets are made of light, breathable material and you can have your pick from any online store where available.
3. Show Jumping/Riding Breeches: Riding breeches are exclusively designed for easy mounting and leg movement when riding a horse. Accordingly, the material is usually stretchable and skin tight. As far as color goes, you can choose between white, yellow, or a lighter shade of these.
4. Shirt with a White Collar: There are no restrictions on the color of the shirt that you wear underneath your jacket as long as it has a white collar. But long-sleeved shirts must have white cuffs.
5. Riding Boots: Only black or brown colors are permitted. You can also wear long boots or gators that are a combination of these two colors. However, wearing uniform colors that match the jacket and tack is less of a distraction for the judges while grading you for your performance.
6. Gloves and Spurs: These are items that protect your skin as you handle the horse’s reins against its pulls.
Safety Requirements for Horse Gear
1. Saddles: English saddles are recommended because they allow you more freedom in getting to a jumping position. Shorter stirrups allow the rider to gain a better grip on the saddle while preparing for jumps.
2. English Style Bridles: FEI rules disallow blinkers and face masks that cover the horse’s eyes. The cheekpiece must not be greater than 3 centimeters in diameter measured from the horse’s cheek and may be made of leather, sheepskin, or other similar material. You can only use running martingales for the reins and these should not restrict the horse’s neck movement. At most two pairs of reins may be used.
3. Bits: Bits are permitted as long as they do not hurt the horse or are considered harsh. The jury on the ground will determine, with the help a professional vet, whether the bit could cause injury to your horse. However, you are allowed to use gags and hackamores. One pair of your reins must be directly attached to the bit or bridle.
4. Spurs: Spurs are meant to get your horse to move forward and away from your leg. Again, spurs must not be sharp and have smooth rollers, instead. You can also use hammerhead spurs to ensure that the horse’s skin isn’t cut.
Happy Comly Sport Horses is one of the most popular barns for hunter jumper lessons. They also have one of the best facilities for hunter derby riders and Grand Prix Horse Riders in Texas and surrounding areas. Get your gear and feel free to strike up a conversation with a pro show jumping trainer here.