With the event season now in full swing, we wanted to bring you our top ten tips about what to wear when you’re eventing…
Stick to the rules- if you’re competing in British Eventing (BE) events, make sure you’re wearing the correct clothing for each phase. If you’re competing unaffiliated, check the competition rules a week or so before you go. This gives you time to plan.
Use your head- make sure your hat is of the current standard and, if you keep one hat for ‘best’ make sure it fits, that it’s comfortable and that it has been well cared for. Whilst you should always replace your hat after a fall, exposing it to extremes of temperature and dropping it on hard surfaces can also weaken the internal structure. Hats can be expensive, but they do an essential job, they help protect your head should you fall…and you only get one of those.
Boot up - most riders have a pair of smart leather boots or short boots and gaiters that they keep for best. There’s nothing wrong with this, but make sure you wear them a few times before you compete to make sure they are comfortable. Also, regularly treat the leather with appropriate products to keep your boots soft and supple, and help prevent cracking.
Wear what’s right for you - as mentioned above, some riders wear long leather boots, and whilst these can look really smart, some people find them restrictive. If you fit into the category, explore the ideal of wearing short boots and matching gaiters, they can be just as smart as long boots, offer greater fitting options and can provide more flexibility around the ankle. Make sure that they are gaiters and not half chaps, there is a difference…
Comfort rules - it’s nice to look smart when competing, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of being comfortable- how can you expect to do your best when it hurts to move because your breeches are digging in your waist, or you’re terrified of your shirt buttons popping open? There are lots of brands available offering slightly different styles and fits, so don’t worry, there will be clothing out there that fits you and makes you look and feel great. It’s also worth noting, especially if you feel restricted in competition clothing that many items are available with a bit of stretch…you’ll find it can make a lot of difference.
Tie it back- if you have long hair, tie it back. It’s simple to do, using a hairnet or a combination of hairnet and hair band.
Hand it to them - wearing gloves can help protect hands and improve grip, but if you’re worried that your feel with the horse is going to be compromised, don’t be. Some of the bulkier gloves can make it harder to feel what’s going on at the other end of the reins, but the thinner leather gloves don’t.
Preparation is key - make sure you get all your clothing and equipment in one place a week or so before the event. That way you can mend anything that needs it, and replace anything that doesn’t fit.
XC colours - if you think cross country tops end with a quartered rugby shirt, think again! Whilst this more traditional style is still very popular, there’s a new breed of cross country tops that wick away moisture, and some even have an integral medical card holder.
Take spares - if you can, consider taking a spare pair of breeches and another shirt, if not a whole outfit, just in case you get caught in a downpour or your horse shares some grass with you. Also, consider investing in lightweight waterproof over trousers and tops to put over your competition kit whilst you’re getting your horse ready, to help make sure that you look as good as he does when you enter the ring!