1.The United States of America is known as the melting pot of the world.  This is true also regarding the equestrian arts.  As such, there are diverse expressions of equestrian traditions in the United States in the manner of working riding.  As a reflection of this diversity, these rules allow many styles of tack and attire. The tack and attire should be consistent with some form of national or international traditional working tack and attire. At this time the rules are very lenient, allowing everyone to get started in the sport wearing the standard show/working attire they are currently using. 


2. Regardless of the national tradition of an entry’s turnout, at no time shall a horse be shown, exhibited, exercised, or otherwise subjected to tack or other artificial devices that are deemed inhumane, cause visible injury obvious to the judge, technical delegate or steward or as listed in the new national rulebook. "The United States Rules for Working Equitation"


3. At no time should an entry exhibit in a mixture of tack or attire from various disciplines, cultures, diverse traditions, or nations.  As an example, it would be improper to show in Spanish tack with American attire, or to show in English tack with western attire. Violations may be grounds for elimination.


4.Tack and attire must be complete.  Tack and attire are important to the overall impression of an entry, but shall comprise a minor component of the entry’s overall impression score. The focus of Working Equitation is on the performance of the horse and rider, not on their appearance.


5.Disputes as to the acceptability of an entry’s tack or attire may be referred to the judge through a steward or other show official prior to the commencement of the competition. Any decision made by the judge shall be final.


6.All equipment should be in good repair. Unless otherwise specifically stated in a division, if equipment breaks during a class and the rider is unable to continue without stopping to make a repair, the rider will be excused and receive a DQ for that phase but may ride in the other phases of their competition.


7. There shall be no penalty for the use of protective headgear or protective safety vest for the rider in any phase.


8. No mounted exhibitor may wear or carry an electronic communication device (i.e., cellular telephone, pager, walkie talkie, etc.) while in the competition ring. The penalty for wearing or carrying a forbidden device if observed by the judge may be elimination from the class during which the device was worn or carried. Exception: A handicapped participant may use electronic devices if, prior to the class, he/she presents written justification for the necessity of the equipment.


9. Protective leg boots may be used in the Ease of Handling, Speed, and Cow phases. No boots of any kind are allowed in the Dressage phase at any level.


12. Changing of bits between phases is NOT permissible. The same tack and style of attire must be used throughout the entire competition.


13. Members of the Armed Services and police units may ride in the uniform of their service. All riders choosing to wear Armed Services or police uniform must wear the appropriate military/police cap or hat for their branch of service, or ASTM protective headgear at all times while mounted.


Below are descriptions of standard Working Equitation Attire:



  1. American cowboy tack and attire is a display of what has come from the melting pot of America. It is the true traditional tack and attire of the working equestrian of the United States.  That said in the United States this image may vary significantly from region to region, and such variations are recognized and allowed.  Where there are regional variations in tack, it is prefered the turn out should be consistent to a single region. 
  2. Rider Attire:
    1. Western Hat
    2. Long sleeved shirt with cuffs, collar and button or snap front.
    3. Tie: The use of a bolo, rosette, scarf, necktie, rag, kerchief, pin or pendant is acceptable.
    4. Trousers, pants or” Jeans” are acceptable. Black and Blue are the standard colors       
    5. Belt with buckle.
    6. Vests, jackets are acceptable, but not mandatory
    7. Any style of chaps, ‘Shotguns’, Chinks or Armitas.
    8. Gloves of a conservative color (not mandatory)
    9. Spurs (roweled spurs must be free spinning)
    10. Hobbles and reata are optional. If hobbles are used, they should be attached to the near side of the saddle. If a reata is used, it may be attached to either side of the saddle.
    11. Any proper working stock saddle is acceptable, Silver is not to count! Common western saddles are: roping, wade, slickfork, reining, equitation, cutting or trail all may show with or without a breast collar and/ or back cinch.
    12. A western Sidesaddle shall be considered legal equipment. Side saddle riders must wear an apron, either closed or buttoned type or with a double thick, chap type waist band. And may carry a legal length crop in all phases.      


  1. English Hunter tradition traces back to English fox hunting.  The early American settlers established the tradition in the colonies, and it is still maintained in the United States.  
  2. Rider Attire:
    1. Properly fitted head gear which shall suit the style ridden, ASTM approved helmet or hunt cap or a derby, top hat, etc.
    2. Short riding coats of any traditional hunting style in a conservative color.
    3. Long or short sleeve shirt/blouse with tie, choker or stock tie
    4. Breeches or jodhpurs of light- or conservative colors (cream, canary, beige).
    5. boots or jodhpur boots
    6. Gloves of a conservative color (black or brown)
    7. English style Spurs (roweled spurs must be free spinning)        
  1. In extreme heat and/or humidity management may allow competitors to show without jackets. However, competitors must wear a regulation hat and should wear a solid or nearly solid colored long or short sleeved shirt with collar, without neckwear, and without decoration. Members of the Armed Services or police units may wear summer uniforms
  2. Any proper English saddle is acceptable including, flat, close contact, multi-purpose, jumping, or English sidesaddle
  3. The Working Equitation Association UK of Great Britain describes their proper working outfit used in the hunting field/working equitation as follows: A tweed hacking jacket. The tweed jacket is green, and is worn with a white shirt and a stock.  Cream jodhpurs are worn with a pair of black leather boots (or alternatively black leather Jodhpur boots and leather chaps).  The rider may use a pair of English spurs that are attached to the boots by a leather strap.  A black English riding hat is worn. The pole used to round up the cows in the Cattle Test is a cattle prod. At Advanced level the horse must be ridden in a double bridle or a Pelham bit, the rider using just his left hand to hold the reins. At Intermediate level, the horse is also ridden in a double bridle or Pelham bit.  At Novice level, a snaffle bridle, double bridle or Pelham can be used.  The saddle must be a general purpose or dressage saddle.  A numnah can be used providing it is the same shape as the saddle and not visible.



The roots of dressage are the military preparation of horse and rider for military field work, common to cavalries the world over.  Dressage tack and attire should be consistent with standard lower level Dressage show attire. NOTE: That no Dressage rules pertain to Working Equitation. Any legal bit is approved to be used with Dressage attire.

  1. Rider Attire:
    1. ASTM approved hunt cap or helmet.
    2. The short riding coat worn is usually solid black with metal buttons, although solid navy is also seen. Dressage coats differ from traditional hunt coats in that dressage coats have four buttons, while hunt coats have three
    3. Long or short sleeve shirt/blouse with tie, choker or stock tie
    4. Breeches or jodhpurs of white or light-colors (cream, canary, beige).
    5. boots or jodhpur boots
    6. Properly fitted head gear which shall suit the style  and level ridden, Helmet, hunt cap, derby, top hat, etc.
    7. Gloves of a conservative color (black or brown)
    8. Spurs
  2. Dressage horses are shown in minimal tack. No boots, training devices, breast collars etc. Dressage tack is usually black leather although dark brown is also acceptable.
  3. Saddles are an English style saddle which has been modeled specifically for Dressage. It has long and straight knee flaps, a deep seat and usually a pronounced knee block.
  4. The saddle pad is usually a square white pad, colored trim on a white pad or pads of conservative colors are also acceptable.
  5. Dressage bridles always have a brow band and cavesson and flat jointed reins.
  6. The standard Dressage bits are the snaffle bit or double bridle using a bradoon and curb bit. ANY LEGAL BIT IS ALLOWED TO BE USED WITH ANY TACK AND ATTIRE.   



It is also proper to wear the traditional tack and attire of the working equestrian of the nation of origin of the entry’s horse:  For example, it would be appropriate for an entry to show in traditional Spanish vaquero tack and attire for an entry with a Spanish, Andalusian, or Half-Andalusian horse.

There are different styles of Spanish and Portuguese tack and attire, which are traditional and correct for the Andalusian horse. It is not correct in either of these two countries to mix attire and equipment especially saddles and care should be taken in the U.S. that all tack and attire is correct.



  1. For the Spanish, there are three major types of Spanish saddles in Spain: vaquera, royal or sidesaddle with variations of them all. The saddle is rectangular in shape covered with sheepskin, having a raised, rounded cantle at the back. It has a canvas under side and is placed directly on the horse without saddle pads. The colors of the leather showing at the cantle or pommel may be dark brown, black or natural. The stirrups are blackened steel, triangular in shape. Crupper strap to match. The royal saddle (includes espanol and portrera) faintly resembles a dressage saddle from the side, but it has a raised cantle and pommel, the overall length exceeds the width of a dressage saddle. It is traditionally, but not necessarily, covered in sheepskin. The stirrup is the triangular blackened steel. Crupper strap to match.
  2. Breast collars are only used, with side saddle and royal saddle, plain or covered with sheepskin. Silver is not used. Plain leather is preferred in Spain, though decorative tooling can be used with the Gala event attire.
  3. Bridle: The bit is a blackened steel snaffle, Pelham, or curb, with low, medium or high port. In Spain, two sets of reins are used for the younger horse, one set attached to the leather covered or wrapped serreta at the nose band. Serretas are not allowed in any level of Working Equitation.  The regular reins are flat leather and buckled together to make one continuous rein. A leather-covered muscarola may also be placed on the nose band depending on the training level of the horse.
  4. The bridle leather is dark brown, natural or black to suit the horse with or without throat latch. Vaquera without throatlatch, royal and sidesaddle with or without throat latch. Plain leather is preferred in Spain, though decorative tooling can be used with the Gala event attire. All hardware is of blackened steel. With each of the three types of saddles, an appropriate bridle will have a brow band with a mosquero (fly screen) made of long leather fringe or of horse hair (having three circles in a pyramid at the top and tassels) not to extend below the nose band.
  5. Attire: Vaquera, Feria, Gala or Exhibition: the attire for the rider in the vaquera or royal saddle, male or female is almost identical.
  6. Traditionally the high waisted short jacket is of conservative colors, May be solids, hounds tooth or faintly striped. Black jackets are generally for evening events. The jacket ends above the waist and has five buttons on each sleeve. If the jacket is that of vaquero style, it has five buttons down the front and two side pockets. The jacket is worn open for the women and buttoned at the top button for the men. The female style may have a small collar ,usually it has no collar and no cuff. Some exhibition and gala jackets do not have buttons, they may have black or contrasting trimmings, embroidery, and a vest may be worn.
  7. The pants rise high into the waist with suspenders. The pants are of the color that compliments the color of the short jacket, dark gray with a black stripe, brown stripes, green stripes, navy stripes or solid colors. The pants are of two different styles, pantalon and calzona depending on the discipline in which the rider is riding. Pantalon style ends with a turned up white cuff and the calzona at mid calf panel with buttonholes, in which dangles cariles. There is no belt worn. A colorful scarf or sash is worn around the waist and tied on the right side.
  8. The shirt is plain white with a turned down collar (not button down), for the men and lightly ruffled for the women.
  9. The hat is flat crown, with flat brim. Conservative color to match the attire of the rider. Black and shades of grays are the most used.
  10. Boots are of natural leather (brown) never black. There are two styles of boots. Boto compero are tall, rough out, low heeled boots and worn with pantalon style pants (white cuff). Botins are ankle height, rough out boots always worn with half-chaps called polainas and these are worn with the calzone style pants. The polainas are plain or tooled to varied degrees with fringe at the top of the spat (which is worn under the pant).


  1. For the Portuguese, there are three major types of saddles: Portuguesa (bullfight style), Dressage (Portuguese or English style) or sidesaddle (Portuguese or English style). The Portuguesa (bullfight) saddle has a high cantle and pommel in the front. The seat of the saddle may be rough-out leather of varying colors or smooth leather.
  2. The Portuguese saddle will have a loin pad of leather (or animal skin) between the saddle and the crupper. If the rider is in eighteenth century attire, the saddle covers (silk) will have great embroidery in designs to suit the rider’s attire.
  3. The stirrups are either brass or chrome, oval shaped under the foot or close-toed, rectangular (box) wooden stirrups with brass or chrome overlays in varying degrees of intricacy to match the leather accessories.
  4. Breast collars and crupper if used should match bridle.
  5. Saddle pad may be used but must conform to the outline shape of saddle.
  6. Bridle and Bit: The bridle is flat, brown, natural or black leather, with wide buckles of brass or silver (chrome, nickel) at all adjustment points. There are different styles of bridles, flat plain (simple), half-presentation (a little fancier) or full presentation (very decorative and ornate with feather penacho). A white leather bridle is used for exhibition only. No mosquero or fringe is allowed. Stylized brass and chrome bits are used to match with presentation equipment.
  7. Bullfighting and Haute École Exhibition: The coat, called the casaca, reminiscent of French court of Louis XV and Louis XVI is traditionally vibrantly colored satin or silk but may also be of fine velvet, heavily embroidered along the front, at the cuffs, and down the back. Lace is attached to the cuffs. There is a black ribbon from the top of the coat at the center of the head. There is a single vent in the back. The rider wears a vest embroidered to compliment the coat. The shirt is plain white with lace showing at the collar. The pants are white, beige, blue or black to compliment the jacket. The boots (Frederica) extended in height to the knee the front of the boot is cut in a “V” shape. The heel shelf on which the spurs rest and square toe. White stockings are worn above the knee.  A black tri-cornered hat, edge trimmed in white feathers, is worn.
  8. Horsemen’s Riding Attire. (Caveleiros)  The jacket is cropped short at the waist.  With a variety of collar styles: shawl collar, two-pointed lapels, polo type, round band. Double breasted lapels or simply collar-less. The two-pointed lapel collar frequently has velvet or velveteen on the upper half. Some jackets have applications of different fabric and color on the front (pockets, etc.) and elbows of the sleeves. The jacket has two bound or trimmed breast pockets. Sleeves are cuff-less and plain or may have a stripe of fabric with buttons mounted. The Portuguese pants are straight cut without cuff falling to the ankles. The waistband is high snuggly fitting with three buttons visible above to the waist. Two small horizontal pockets at the waistband. Breeches can also be worn lighter complimentary tone of the jacket; with long stockings showing above the boot. The shirt is plain white with a turned-down collar; fastening could be single or double closures of plain or covered buttons or collar links of enamel up to a gold or silver,. Also “Sunday best” has a wide ruffled front with or without pleats or with or without lace. Buttons may be plain or decorative. Sleeves are large and roomy ending in simple or double cuff. Waistcoats have different shapes of neck to suit the wearer. Can be single breasted, double-breasted, with or without collar as the jacket dictates. Usually the front is made of the same fabric as the jacket. Some have pockets. The sash is placed over the waistcoat and the waistband of the trousers. The color is black for cavalerios. Silk, wool or cotton wrapped snuggly around the waist with fringed amount to the left. The sash is two meters long and 30 cm wide. No scarves or bandana. Gloves are optional.  The hat, two styles are predominant. “Mazzantini”, flat brimmed cylindrical crown straight across the top, wide ribbon band, decorated with three buttons placed vertically. “Portuguesa” soft wide brimmed, indented convex crown, encircled by ribbon band. Colors in black, gray or brown.  The half-boot, with the top shorter than the above “Frederica”, is a greased calf boot with shelf-heeled, square or round toe, and may have pins and loop closures. More formal may be in patent leather. Ankle boot with leather gaiters with pin and loop or lace closure attachments. Colors in black, gray, or brown are the norm.

*The Spanish and Portuguese Descriptions are gleaned from the IALHA Rule Book.



Full and proper Charro attire should be used for competition. Charros may compete in traditional competition attire which consists of:

1.    Authentic Sombrero

2.    Shirt/camisole with dress or military type collar and tie

3.    Charro pants and belt

4.    Chaps

5.    Spurs and Botines (Charro boots)

6.    Charro jacket maybe worn with dress collar and vest. A vest is required when using a Charro jacket.

Colors should be earth tones of serious and modest nature. Sky blue, pink, bright green or other bright/loud and black are not approved colors. This includes color of boots.

**The Charro description is per the Charros Federation USA, Inc.


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