Tuesday, April 13, 2010

USEF Rule change! A new generation of dressage coats

Recently the  COTH  the Dressage forum and the Ultimate Dressage forum  have hosted discussions of the 2010 USEF Rule change concerning dressage attire (reprinted at the bottom of this post). How could I have missed a rule change with such profound shopping implications? The basic black dressage coat is now only one of many options for the fashionable dressage rider.

Technicolor coats!
What are the options? Photographer Terri Miller wrote a blog article that describes the Hue-Saturation-Value (HSV) color chart that the FEI uses to determine allowable colors (see the FEI rule on colors). The USEF is following the same guidelines. Terri says you can basically go with "any dark color" but if you're spending big bucks on a custom color coat, it'll pay to use the yafla color chart (Color Value must be between 0-32%). You can also refer to the Wikipedia color chart to get a sense of what colors fall into the allowed value range. Some people are talking about sending swatches to the USEF for approval. Good Lord,  I would not want to be the Color Czar at the USEF.

What else is in the rules? From my interpretation (aided by the forums above):
  • Now contrast colors and piping (collar, cuffs, pockets) are allowed (my personal favorite rule change).
  • Now you can wear colored shirts (so long as they're solid) when coats are waived. Pinstripes and subtle patterns are okay. No t-shirts -- shirts must have collars.
  • Cooling vests may be worn under the coat or vest.
  • Solid vests may be worn if coats are waived. This is a big deal for people who don't like to wear shirts tucked in.
  • Up to 2 small logos can be worn on the torso. 
  • Hats, stocks, ties, gloves and riding boots may be the same color as the coat.
Since you're buying a new coat anyway
Since you're going to go out and have a plum coat with pink piping and collar made, you can opt for another new trend: the shorter jacket. The newer style is more like a typical hunt coat. The one shown below is Pikeur Scarlett -- a little too short for my taste.

I rather like this blend of classic and sporty -- love the zipper! Pikeur Jalisca...

Color and pinstripes and something called "window pane" (tell me what is this???) are starting to be seen in the ring...  This is the Pikeur Epsom dressage coat in pinstripe...

Here is the Cavallo Galathea. I love the contrast trim and collar...

Here is the Pikeur Epsom in the fashion colors -- are the colors legal? I'm not sure...

ELT by Waldhausen European Jacket
Thank God for the USEF and the many shopping opportunities it has created. Here are the colors of my dreamcoat, at least until I find a new set of colors I like more. The khaki is for the coat, the yellow (or maybe tan would be better) is for the collar, which is velvet, of course....

 Here are the rule changes as they appear  in the 2010 supplement (available from the USEF Web site)...


  1. I'm not sure why, but "Stewardess" came to mind by the end of the read. . . .

  2. finally!! colors :o)

    I LOVE the jacket with a zipper, very stylish yet sporty.

  3. Oh no! My one consolation for my not-so-great fashion sense is that I'm always in style in the dressage arena because the rules haven't allowed for much differentiation. Now I'm going to be hopelessly out of fashion in the dressage arena too. There's no hope for me! Sigh.

  4. Interesting, wonder when the FEI will follow suit.

    I will share this news with all my friends on Facebook and post link to your blog.

  5. ewww pinstripes!!!
    i'm really not for the change, but fashions will come back sooner or later so i guess i'll suck it up ;)

  6. Being a hunter rider switching to dressage I was sad to see my cool colors gone, just navy and black. But now I can get exciting colors. But since I show an Appaloosa I figure I'll just let my mare have all the color I'm sticking with a black coat. Too many color choices make my brain hurt.

  7. Uh oh, I have a new dressage coat already...black. And my tailcoat is a tasteful navy blue. Of course, I'm not showing now, so it really doesn't matter much. *G*

    I can't wait to start attending the new rainbow dressage shows. It will be quite a sight!

  8. I totally loathe pinstripes. I think the FEI/USEF have done a good job enforcing tasteful base colors yet allowing for a little fun with the collars and piping. I am wondering how Edward Gal managed the decidedly out of compiance coat, though...

  9. Window pane is a faint square print,
    see example at:

  10. I will have to make sure they're compliant, but I'm really thinking about an ELT by Waldhausen European Jacket. Supposedly dressage or jumper... and I like it, even if I expect 4 buttons, not 3! I'm not sure if the link will work, but hopefully:

    I *have* to try on jackets because I'm a hard fit so I'm hoping these will work, as they're the interesting ones at the tack store.

  11. Well I'm not running out and buying new coats. But maybe I'll sew a little silver piping on mine.

  12. Bay horse, you put me to shame! My mom sews beautifully and of course these things tend to skip a generation :-)

  13. I attended the Eqxuis Dressage Masters freestyle in Wellington this winter and was shocked that one of the competitors was wearing a royal blue satin shadbelly. Yes, satin. I'm an H/J girl and I've always been under the impression that dressage dress was more subdued than the H/J riders...but, apparently, this is no longer the case.
    Some of the freestyles also included some interesting music choices, such as Lady Gaga. Yep, the dressage winds, they are a-changin'.

  14. DressageApp- I hear ya! I'd love to sport a color but the leopard spots on my horse are flashy enough for us too. I LOVE the jacket with the zipper, I've had the website up to order it all morning...

  15. OMG, is this dressage accepting the appearance of having a personality and allowing actual FUN? Horrors! I jest, at least a little -- dressage is that part of eventing they make us suffer through to get to the good parts, at least now I won't be alone on my insistence on using colour -- oh yes, that is me with my blue stripe on my saddle pad! Now USEF has finally taken my hint! ROFL!

  16. To the 10% of you who voted "Plum/Purple" on the poll, I CALL YOUR BLUFF!!!! I'll be looking for you eggplants at shows this season! Hehe

  17. If a spectator looksand says, "Wow.. That jacket almost looks...purple. Deep plum, maybe. Does it look purple to you?"

    Then it is the right shade of purple/plum.


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