First recognized show questions!

I’m doing my first real dressage show in KY next week! I’m going with my barn so I do have people to help, but they are all pretty busy getting themselves ready so I don’t want to bother them too much.

We will be there for three days. I have one pair of white breeches that will likely not last the whole weekend, so I want to bring some spare pairs. Most of the ones I have that would be an acceptable color for competition are tights with no belt loops, though. Are you allowed to wear riding tights with no belt, or do you HAVE to have a belt?

I’m planning on wearing something over my breeches until I have to get on, too. But for overnight, does anyone have tips for spot cleaning white show clothes and pads when you can’t wash them?

I’ll probably think of more, but any other tips or advice would be much appreciated too. I’m not expecting great or even decent scores, my little hony is quite downhill and tries her best to go at least level but, seeing how some of the fancier horses at my barn have scored at recognized shows vs schooling shows, I’m not anticipating great things from the judges :joy: I really just want to say we’ve tried it. And to get to ride in the Rolex stadium.

Thanks in advance!


How exciting!

Yes, you can wear tights with no belt, even in the Rolex stadium! If jackets are waived and you want to remove your jacket but feel funny about no belt, you can always wear a belt without belt loops. And remember, the rules for color of breeches and tights have been relaxed, so you don’t have to wear white of light color pants.

Good luck, and have fun.


If you are wearing a jacket no one will be able to really tell if you are wearing tights or breeches. But even without a jacket they are legal!

For spot cleaning–those tide pens can be useful. You can also take a bit of detergent with you and was in the sink in your hotel room and then hang over the shower to dry overnight if you have fast drying material like a technical fabric, cotton likely won’t dry fast enough. I usually wear another type of pants and then change into my show breeches just before I get on and take them off right after I ride. So usually the only stains are black marks from the saddle/boots, which will be covered when you ride anyway.


Buy a bottle of dawn powerwash - only the powerwash, it comes in a foamer type bottle.

Apply to stain, let sit for about 5 minutes, wash with warm (not hot) water. Wring out water, then roll garment in a towel to absorb excess water. Hang to dry.

Powerwash will take red clay baseball dirt out of baseball whites, and it can tackle pretty much any horse show grime that I’ve ever thrown at it.

Also handy to wash your gloves if you wear white gloves.


Great tip! Thanks!

My experience has been there is no time to get changed between room warmup and classes. So I like a pair of sweat pants over my breeches and boots. I also have seen people wear huge utility aprons with big pockets. I have also never had any luck washing things overnight on hotel rooms.

So I would bring duplicate breeches and pads and shirts. Look u the new rules. You will be ok with any subdued color breech. I don’t know how quickly average AA will go peacock. You might find most riders still doing black and white or you might find many attractive color outfits.

Anyhow don’t put yourself in a situation where you need to wash things overnight or change in a rush.

Time management is the biggest issue at a show. Better to have a good warmup with a stain on your butt than be rushed and spotless.


If it’s too hot, or rainy, for sweats, a pair of men’s track warm up pants work great. Zippers on the leg allow them to easily accommodate your boots. Many of them are water repellent.

I hope you and pony have a great day.

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With the caveat that I am VERY short, I just wear a kitchen apron over my whites while I’m getting ready. Easy to hang on the stall when I’m doing final prep. I agree with those that have said they don’t change over and over at a show, once I’m in my whites I’m in them until the day is done.

Summer = mild sweat = I’m not getting those things off without peeling them off.


Yes, exactly. It’s horrible trying to put on breeches after you’ve sweated up. Especially if you are wearing shapewear underneath for the no panty lines look. And you need to find a private space and take off your boots, your grooming pants, then struggle back into it all. There just will not be time. I also suggest getting your hair into the bun or net or whatever you use when you get dressed and leaving it there all day. It can be impossible to leave your horse and go find a mirror or changing room. And getting changed in the stall guarantees you are going to get bits of hay all up inside your breeches.

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I wash my whites and gloves most nights at horse shows and never have an issue. If you roll them in a towel to get the extra water out they dry fine by the next day.

Unless the seats are leather. Then you’re looking at 24 hours drying time, at a minimum…


Plan ahead and consider a liberal coat of Scotchgard on your breeches to help keep them clean.


I guess it depends on your climate. Even in summer here it takes at least 24 hours to dry things.


belts are not required in any circumstance.
agree with nylon pull on pants for protection and to take off the breeches ASAP after. Spot clean large stains, dont wash down the whole of the breeches. As others said, white only is not the rule. Most conventional hunter attire will be acceptable


another fun option for covering white breeches while grooming are those flow-y hippy Indian fabric “harem” pants. Really lightweight. (Not all of them have the dropped crotch, which would be a PIA).
Tip: Pack each day’s clothes together in the suitcase so there is no scramble in the morning.
Tip: sign up for night check and feeding so you dont have to be there at dark-30 to feed (unless your barn has grooms…)
Tip: Bring a package of non-flushable gentle baby wipes. They are great for so many things. I have one package to which I add a bit of liquid saddle soap just to wipe down tack and boots. Another package can be reserved for you and horsey’s face. I use the generic brand from WM - they are thick and just fine.

Bring a small towel to wipe boots just before you get on.
Even if the barn brings a step stool, bring your own. Especially if you will be braiding yourself.

Most importantly, have fun!!

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I use a long skirt to cover my whites at shows; easy on and off.

Good luck!


That is what I was going to say. I am an eventer, and I DO NOT wear whites, but I am like pigpen and attract dirt. I learned about using a skirt from my dressage friends. A wrap skirt works best, but a full pull-on skirt also works well.


I’ve always used a denim jumper dress with big pockets. Covers shirt and breeches, pockets for whatever you need, and easy to take off when ready to ride!

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I learned some things here! I swore by my long rain pants over my whites - but I need to look at skirts. Sounds so much easier.

Another voice for - Do. Not. Change. Clothes. No time, too sweaty. It’s like skinning a fish, and unless you have a luxury motorhome to do it in, there’s no good place to fight your sweaty breeches off.

Other advice - make sure you are properly qualified for USDF or your GMO and that your horse is registered and your Safe Sport completed if you’re expecting points.

Do all the things you can in advance. Bathe, clip, sand, clean tack, pack the trailer, fill the truck, the hay net, make the meals/buy the snacks days in advance. As much as you practicably can. At a show last fall, I deep cleaned my tack a week in advance. Night before the show, I only needed to wipe down things while my barnmates were furiously deconstructing bridles and sudsing their saddle soap. I sat back and had a beer.

The more you do in advance the smoother show days go.


The long skirt is such good advice especially, but all the tips are great as well. Thank y’all so much! I’m both nervous and super pumped! Time to make a list of everything I need and plan out the days :joy:

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