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What To Wear For Cross Country

If you're looking to try cross country this year or are coming back to the sport after a break, it's essential to make sure you're following the dress code rules. These rules are in place to keep you safe, helping to protect against injury as much as possible. We've put together this handy guide for beginners of what to wear for cross country competitions.

Cross country involves jumping a course of fixed, solid fences and water obstacles, and is one of three phases making up the sport of eventing. Cross country only competitions are known as hunter trials. Safety is paramount from even the lowest levels in both affiliated (British Eventing) and unaffiliated competition, so it's a good idea to brush up on the rules for the event you've entered to be prepared for the day. We've put together this easy-to-use guide to help advise on the correct equipment and rider wear for cross country.

We would advise checking the latest British Eventing Rulebook, Pony Club Rulebook and/or the rules for the specific event you have entered prior to arrival.

Cross Country Safety

Rider safety and injury prevention is the most important aspect of your cross country attire. The British Eventing Rulebook states that all safety equipment must be used in its original, unaltered state.

Riding Helmets/Protective Headwear

The only helmet style permitted for cross country riding is a jockey skull. It should be of an even round or elliptical shape with a smooth or slightly abrasive surface without a peak or any peak-type extensions. You can use a removable hat cover on the helmet with a light, flexible peak.

In Britain, your helmet must meet the latest safety standards stated (PAS 015 (1998 or 2011) or VG01.040 2014-12 with BSI Kitemark or Inspec IC Mark). For British Eventing and Pony Club your helmet must be checked and tagged with a visible current tag before you compete. Protective headwear must be replaced if it's damaged or following a fall.

Body Protector

A body protector is mandatory for cross country. It must be BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) approved and to Level 3 Standard with appropriate labeling, with the year 2009 or 2018 shown and the body protector manufactured in the year 2009 or after. Your body protector must be checked after a fall and replaced if damaged. We would recommend your body protector is correctly fitted so as not to affect or impede your flexibility or balance. Our body protector fitting guide can be found here.

Inflatable/Air Jackets

Air jackets or inflatable jackets are optional. It cannot be worn alone - you have to wear your air jacket over your body protector for cross country. There isn't a specific recognised standard for air jackets to meet for competitive use.


Riding gloves are optional but advised.

Jewellery & Hair

It's strongly recommended that jewellery worn anywhere on your body is removed as it increases the risk of injury. If you have long hair it should be secured appropriately to further decrease the injury risk - we recommend using a hair net.

What To Wear For Cross Country

Once you have the correct safety wear organised, the rest of your cross country outfit is pretty relaxed and simple. You have a lot more freedom of choice over the colours and patterns you wear for cross country compared to dressage and show jumping.

Sweater or Shirt

Either a sweater or shirt (or base layer) is worn and long sleeves are advised for additional protection. Choosing a unique colour and/or matching your shirt with your hat cover will help you to stand out on the course to spectators.


Your breeches should be plain white, buff or fawn for cross country.

Riding Boots

Choose either plain black long riding boots or black jodhpur boots and matching full-grain smooth leather gaiters. Your riding boots must be traditional-looking and smart.


Your rider number must be worn and be clearly visible from both the front and back when mounted.


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