Calgary Dressage…Basic Horse Turnout for Showing

Half Pass
Good turnout shows respect for the sport

Basic Horse Turnout for Showing

-Mane neatly pulled, trimmed, and braided.*

-Braid mane with elastics or yarn that matches your horse’s mane. White elastics are acceptable in dressage, but avoid them if you are not a skilled braider.

-Horse is clean!

-Tack is clean!

-Clean white or black saddle pad for dressage events.

-Hot towel or wipe down prior to your class to remove dust from dark horses.

-Feathers clipped.

-Ears, “beard”, and bridle path trimmed neatly. Do not shave the muzzle for dressage.

-Tail is brushed and banged, tails are not braided in dressage.

-Clear hoof polish may be applied, never black for dressage or English events. Do not oil hooves, as sand will stick to them. (Black looks tacky.)

*Always braid regardless of level or type of show. It shows respect for the judge, yourself, and your horse.


-Unless you are showing a Shire, or Clydesdale, clip your horse’s feathers. It will accentuate your horse’s conformation, not to mention clipped legs are easier to keep clean.

-Do not shave the muzzle hairs as it leaves a horse blind.

-Do not shave the inside of a horse’s ears because the hair keeps bugs and wind noise out of them. (Trim the outside hair only.)

-If your horse has a large barrel, avoid swallowtail pads. They’re unflattering.

-If your horse has a thick neck, avoid white braiding elastics.

-If your horse breed has a long mane, running braids are an acceptable alternative to button braids.

-Bang the tail according to the tail carriage of your horse in the trot. The tail should fall between the bottom of the fetlock and the middle of the cannon bone.

-Braiding the top of the tail can accentuate the hindquarters. Avoid shaving or pulling the sides unless your horse is a Hanoverian.

by Victoria Cox