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    A guide to British Dressage rules

    ArticleHow to - General Equine AdviceThursday 07 July 2011
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    by Kim Duly
    Competing in dressage competitions is a fun and rewarding way to assess how the training of your horse is developing. British Dressage runs two types of competition; affiliated and unaffiliated. To compete in affiliated competitions riders must be members of British Dressage, unless they only want to compete at prelim level in the open section.  
     
    Unaffiliated competitions can be enjoyed by any horse and rider combination without having to join but the rules are the same.  
     
    For a good guide on how to train your horse for dressage, click here now. 
     
    Below is a brief guide to the most important basic rules.
     
    1. Wearing a riding hat is compulsory. Covers should be black, navy or brown.  It is the rider's responsibility to check the safety standard of the hat.
       
    2. White, cream or beige breeches or jodhpurs must be worn.
       
    3. Riders must wear a tweed jacket or a short jacket in a conservative colour such as navy, black or bottle green with a shirt and correctly tied stock or tie.
       
    4. Gloves must be worn. White, cream or beige are preferred.
       
    5. Long leather boots or jodhpur boots with matching gaiters in black or brown must be worn. Gaiter material must match boot material.
       
    6. Spurs may be worn, and in fact must be worn from advanced level upwards. Dummy spurs may be worn.
       
    7. Whips may be carried except in Area Festivals and Championships.
       
    8. Saddles of English or Continental style must be worn and may be black, brown, grey or navy.  Side saddles and treeless saddles are permitted, but not Western or Arabian saddles.
       
    9. At intro, prelim and novice level horses must wear a snaffle bridle. For elementary to advanced level a snaffle or double bridle may be worn. Bridles must be black, brown, grey or navy.
       
    10. A drop, flash or cavesson noseband must be used with a snaffle bridle. A cavesson noseband must be used with a double bridle.
       
    11. Bit Guards, martingales, side reins, running reins and reins with elastic inserts are not permitted.  Neither are boots or bandages except when warming up. Breastplates and breast girths are permitted.  Neck straps are permitted at intro and prelim level, whereas balancing straps are permitted at all levels.
       
    12. A variety of snaffle bits may be used including; loose ring snaffle, eggbutt snaffle, racing snaffle d ring, eggbutt snaffle with cheeks, snaffle with upper cheeks, straight bar or mullen mouth snaffle, french link snaffle, hanging cheek snaffle and fulmer snaffle.
       
    13. Riders must follow general rules of the school when warming up.
       
    14. Commanders are permitted in all classes except Area Festivals, Championships and Selection Trials.
       
    15. Outside assistance by voice or signs that is designed to help a competitor may result in elimination.
       
    16. If you need any more details on dressage competitions, rules or affiliating it is a good idea to speak to a BHS registered instructor, a BD judge or to visit the British Dressage website at www.britishdressage.co.uk.
     
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