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What To Wear When Horse Show Coats Are Waived

By: Taryn Young

Coats are waived! Now what?

Featured: Goode Rider Couture Ruffle Show Shirt & Miracle Breeches in White

You enter a horse show and so it begins. You’re excited and nervous and then you school and school and work to get your horse in tip top shape. You take extra lessons and perfect your tests. You buy cute new show clothes and can’t wait to wear them. Then, the show weekend finally arrives and you take a look at the weekend weather forecast: each day exceeding 95 degrees. Moments later your inbox dings and you receive the email from show management titled ‘COATS ARE WAIVED FOR THE WEEKEND!’ Panic begins to set in and you think ‘should I wear my coat anyway since it’s more flattering and I’ll look better?’ After all, you did sign up for those show photos…

This was my struggle this past weekend at a three day show that brought the Chicago suburbs 95+ degrees each day. I immediately Googled “What to do at shows when coats are waived” and my research began.

WHAT I’VE LEARNED: If Show Management waives coats, you shouldn’t wear a coat. After investigating, judges prefer that you do not wear a coat because it is unsafe in extreme heat. Simply put, you cannot help your horse or ride your best test if you are overheated and you will not receive extra points for wearing one.


  • When coats are waived by Show Management, this applies to ALL classes – including FEI classes, where you’d typically wear a shadbelly 
  • Even without coats, competitors must wear protective headgear and a shirt with sleeves and a collar
  • You should not wear a stock tie or stock pin 
  • Your show shirt should be tucked into your breeches
  • You should wear a belt if your breeches have belt loops
  • T-shirts are not permitted

WHY IT’S FUN: Gone are the days where plain white show shirts are all that’s permitted. With the growth of equestrian apparel brands, we as riders have more equestrian clothing choices than ever! I’m all for ‘function meets fashion’ and Goode Rider offers so many choices. I found that vibrant shirt colors are accepted in the ring but your overall look must be polished and you should stick to one or two colors if you’re wearing a pattern. 

In general, I wear black, white and navy when it comes to riding apparel. It might sound boring but it doesn’t have to be with Goode Rider’s fun patterns and tailored fit. Each day, I rocked a Goode Rider show shirt and I received numerous compliments all weekend long about my overall look. 

Other fun additions to your show look are earrings and belts! Earrings should be conservative, such as pearls or simple studs, but they add some pizazz to your look. When coats are waived, belts are seen and they should be classic and match your tack or your wardrobe. I wore a skinny black belt with gold hardware on the buckle to match my stirrup irons.

In summary, the waive of show coats doesn’t have to be scary or make you feel self conscious. Goode Rider will help you look your best as you head down centerline and I can promise you, you’ll feel comfortable yet stylish. After a hot weekend, you’ll be thankful and in the end, you might even like those show photos you signed up for after all…

GET THE LOOK: Click the links below to shop the look & look your best in the show ring when horse show coats are waived!

Goode Rider Couture Show Shirt <– Click here
Miracle Breeches in Full Seat
<– Click Here

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