The written rules governing competitior dress for all three phases of eventing cover riders' dress and equipment from head to toe. We're breaking it down here for you, starting with protective equipment, spurs, and whips. Text has been taken directly from the USEF Rules For Eventing, with emphasis added by the USEA. Stay tuned for the Attire Edition, which will lay out everything you need to know about dress for all three phases.
1. PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR.
a. At all levels of eventing competition, from Beginner Novice through Advanced, at Federation Endorsed competitions and recognized competitions, riders must wear headgear as follows, except as may otherwise be mandated by local law (see also GR801):
b. Upon arrival, anyone riding a horse must wear properly fitting protective headgear which passes or surpasses ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)/SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) standards for equestrian use and carries the SEI tag. Harness must be secured and properly fitted.
c. It is the responsibility of the rider, or the parent or guardian or trainer of the junior exhibitor to see to it that the headgear worn complies with appropriate safety standards for protective headgear intended for equestrian use, and is properly fitted and in good condition, and the Federation, Show Committee, and Licensed Officials are not responsible for checking headgear worn for such compliance.
d. The Federation makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, about any protective headgear, and cautions riders that death or serious injury may result despite wearing such headgear as all equestrian sports involve inherent dangerous risk and as no helmet can protect against all foreseeable injuries.
e. Violation of this rule at any time, at the discretion of the Ground Jury, shall be penalized and may result in elimination.
2. PROTECTIVE VESTS.
a. A body protecting vest must be worn warming-up for and in the cross-country test. Stable, team or club colors are permitted. The Federation recommends that the vest should pass or surpass the current ASTM standard F1937 or be certified by the Safety Equipment Institute. Inflatable vests are permitted only when worn over a body protecting vest.
b. Violation of this rule shall be penalized at the discretion of the Ground Jury, and may result in elimination.
One whip no longer than 120 cm (47.2 in) including lash may be carried when riding on the flat at any time. One whip no longer than 120 cm (47.2 in) may be carried during the Dressage Test except in USEF/USEA Championships and USEA Championship divisions. As an exception, riders competing sidesaddle may carry a whip in the dressage test at all competitions, including championships. A standard lunge whip may be used when lunging a horse. If a whip is carried in the Cross-Country and/or Jumping Test, or while jumping any obstacle before these tests, it must not be weighted at the end or exceed 75cm (30”) in length. An adjustable-length whip may not be carried by a mounted rider.
a. Spurs are optional for all three tests. Spurs capable of wounding a horse are forbidden. Spurs must be of smooth metal. If there is a shank it must not be longer than 4 cm (1 9/16 inches, measured from the boot to the end of the spur) and must point only towards the rear. If the shank is curved, the spurs must be worn only with the shank directed downwards. Metal or plastic spurs with round hard plastic or metal knobs “Impulse spurs” and “Dummy spurs” with no shank are allowed.
b. Rowel spurs - Spurs with rowels are allowed in the three Tests and when practicing/warming up. If they are used, rowels must be free to rotate and the rowel must be round and smooth (no tines allowed).