Hunter Apparel: What to Wear in the Show Ring

Planning to go to your first horse show and don’t quite know what proper riding apparel to wear? Here is a complete list of everything you will need to go into the show ring.

This list of apparel can be applied to hunter pleasure, hunter jumper, hunt seat equitation, and show jumping. Follow this list and you will be show ready in no time!

The necessary apparel required in the hunter pleasure, hunter jumper, or hunt seat equitation show rings include: a helmet, show coat/jacket, gloves, breeches/jodhpurs, show shirt, boots, and a belt.

1: Helmet

This rider is wearing a traditional hunter helmet

A helmet is a mandatory piece of equipment that must be worn at all times when participating in these classes. Unfortunately, you can’t show up wearing just any helmet. A quality, SEI certified show helmet is usually required for the show ring.

While these helmets usually cost around $200-$400 on average, the TuffRider SEI certified show helmet is much more affordable. This is the helmet I use personally for my shows and I have never had any issues!

2: Show Jacket

This girl is wearing a hunter green show coat/jacket

A show jacket is one of the most important pieces of riding apparel used in these shows. This piece of apparel is what gives off the traditional equestrian look.

The colors most commonly seen used in shows are navy blue, hunter green, and black. The coat should be stretchable, well-fitted, and long enough to cover your backside. The show jacket ensures a polished put-together look in the show ring.

3: Gloves

This rider is wearing white gloves

Though this might seem like a minuscule detail, riding gloves should be worn in the show ring to ensure a good grip on your reins. Black gloves are the most common color seen, though white, brown, or beige can sometimes be worn too.

4: Breeches/Jodhpurs

This rider is wearing the traditional beige-colored breeches

Breeches/Jodhpurs are essential for the show ring. Usually, the traditional light colored breeches (such as the tan or beige colors) are the ones required. Breeches with the suede knee patches are the most common style worn in the show ring.

My personal favorite brand of breeches to wear in the ring are my beige ovation breeches. They have belt loops, suede knee patches, and they are so comfortable to wear.

5: Show Shirt

You can see the pink and white collar of this rider’s show shirt underneath her blue show jacket

A show shirt is required to be worn underneath the show jacket in the ring. Traditionally, the collar would be white and will come up around the rider’s throat. The collar should be pretty much the only part of the show shirt you can see. Though you can find show shirts in other colors, white is the most common, and sometimes the only color allowed.

Show shirts can come in long sleeve, short sleeve, and sleeveless designs. The sleeve-length can be chosen based on the rider’s personal preference.

6: Boots

This is a close up image of traditional black leather English tall boots

In shows, tall boots are the preferred footwear. Sometimes, in children’s classes, paddock boots are allowed, but in most other cases, tall boots are required.

In the show ring, black boots are going to be the color most commonly worn. Black is the most traditional English riding boot color.

Depending on where you buy your boots from, tall boots can cost you anywhere from $100 to $500, or even more!

The tall boots that I have are actually made of synthetic leather. The synthetic leather boots are typically more affordable, but look pretty much the same as your classic leather boots.

My boots are the synthetic leather tall boots from Dover Saddlery. I wear them almost every day and they’ve lasted me well over two years now!

7. Belt

The last piece of apparel you need to enter the hunter show ring is a belt. If your breeches have belt loops along the waist line, you must wear a belt with them.

It doesn’t really matter the color or style of the belt you are wearing, as long as your show jacket is covering your belt.

I personally prefer leather belts for riding as I like the look of them better. A more affordable option however are the trending elastic belts.

Hailey Sipila

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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