Each competition year, new USEF rule changes come into force- riders need to be aware of the specific USEF Dressage Division rule changes as of December 1, 2021.
Now the rule change in DR120 will now dictate specifically what show attire is allowed at USEF-rated competitions.
There is now a greater clarification of what is allowed and not allowed. A major difference from the prior rules will be that judges will now have no discretion in penalizing violations and will be required to enforce mandatory elimination.
Let’s review the changes which have been proposed:
1.1 Protective Headgear. Protective headgear is defined as a riding helmet, which meets or exceeds current ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag. From the time horses are officially admitted to the competition grounds by competition management, anyone mounted on a horse at any time on the competition grounds, including non-competing riders, riders on noncompeting horses, mounted participants in exhibition classes and those competing in all classes and tests, including Para Dressage tests, must wear protective headgear as defined by this rule and otherwise in compliance with GR801. The harness must be secured and properly fitted. Any rider violating this rule at any time must immediately be prohibited from further riding until the headgear is properly in place. Protective headgear may be the same as or a coordinating color with the coat, and may include contrast coloring, accent, and crystal decoration. See DR136 for dress code rules for exhibitions.
1.2 Coats and Jackets. A short riding jacket or cutaway coat (modified tailcoat) with short tails is permitted at any level of competition. A tailcoat is permitted in all classes above Fourth level. Any single color jacket or tailcoat is permitted and may have subtle pin striping, checks or tweeds. Striped or multi-colored jackets or coats are not permitted. Tasteful and discreet accents, such as a collar of a different hue, modest piping, or crystal decorations, are acceptable. Riders competing in Level 1 dressage competitions or in Opportunity classes are not required to wear a riding jacket or coat.
Coats of any color are now legal.
1.3 Vests. Vests of any type are permitted but not required. Vests, including cooling vests, may be worn underneath a riding jacket or when jackets are waived.
1.4 Breeches and Jodhpurs. White, light, or dark colored breeches or jodhpurs are permitted in competition. Bright colors or patterns are not permitted. Contrast piping is allowed.
Here is an area which is subject to interpretation. How bright is bright?
1.5 Shirts and Neckwear. Shirts with tie, choker, stock tie, or integrated stand-up collar are required. Ties, chokers, or stock ties may be any color. If jackets or coats are not worn per DR120.1.2 and DR120.2.1, shirts must be without bold pattern.
Here again is an area which is subject to interpretation. How bold is bold?
1.7 Gloves. White or light-colored gloves are recommended and any solid color is permitted at Fourth Level and below. Black, brown, or white gloves are required in FEI tests or levels.
2.0 Weather Conditions. In locations with high average heat and humidity on the date of a competition, competition management may publish in its prize list that jackets will be waived for the duration of the competition. Alternatively, management may announce prior to or during a competition that competitors may show without jackets when extreme heat and/or humidity is forecasted. This waiver applies to national classes at a USEF licensed-USDF recognized dressage competition.
2.1 Competitors must wear protective headgear and a shirt with sleeves and collar, without neckwear. T-shirts are not permitted.
Remember, it is mandatory to remove neckwear when jackets are waived. Riders will be eliminated otherwise.
3.0 Sponsor logo and Non-Sponsor Logo or Brand Marks. When sponsorship is permitted in accordance with GR1306, the name and/or logo of the individual’s sponsor(s) may appear on each of the two sides of jackets and top garments at the height of breast pockets not exceeding 80 cm2 in size. Logos described under DR121 are also permitted. No other sponsor logos are permitted on any garments (including jackets or coats, vests, shirts, or stock ties).
3.1 Dress may include non-sponsor logos or brand marks of any size. Refer to GR1306.
And most importantly:
124.2 (b). Elimination by the judge at “C” for dress code violations inside the competition ring is mandatory.
This clarification makes enforcing of the DR 120 rules clear for both competitors and judges alike.
As always, riders are required to read and be familiar with all rules. If you have any questions, the show Technical Delegate can advise on these questions. Ignorance of the rules will not excuse competitors from compliance.
David Schmutz : USEF ‘S’ & FEI 4* PARA DRESSAGE
David Schmutz was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He starting riding late in life, while in graduate school for his MBA. He had the great opportunity to ride with a very prominent elderly attorney, who needed one of his three horse exercised. During many mornings, they would meet at 6am where they would ride the trails of Griffith Park in Los Angeles. After graduate school, David purchased his own horse, a thoroughbred, and continued training on the Griffith park trails and local jumping arenas.
While owning and managing “The Paddock Riding Club” in Los Angeles, he graduated the USDF ‘L’ Program with distinction and then received his USEF Dressage ‘r’ certification.
It was while working on his promotion to become a USEF ‘R’ Dressage judge, that USEF offered a clinic on judging Para Equestrian riders. Through the help of international judges Inger Bryant and Anita Own, David obtained his IPEC (International Para Equestrian Committee) approval. Not long after, the FEI also began approving these types of competitions, Dave received his FEI card as a 3* Para Judge. He presently holds a 4* certification.
David continues to enjoy his dual roles as judging in addition to clinics, helping both able-bodied and para athletes achieve their best. See more details on his website at: www.gdsdressage.com