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Dress Code

  • Candidates should wear suitable working attire appropriate to the weather conditions. It is not compulsory to wear a jacket but tops should fit well and have sleeves for comfort and safety. Nothing flatters you less than ill-fitting clothing. For the jumping sections, you must wear a shirt (with sleeves) and either a tie or stock.
  • Hats: A correctly fitted and secured hat must be worn when mounted, lungeing, leading and when handling and working around horses. Hats must comply with one of the BHS recognised standards: PAS 015 (1998 or 2011) and must have BSI Kitemark, VG1 01.040 (2014-12) and must have BSI Kitemark, ASTM F1163 (2004a or 04a onwards) and must have SEI mark, SNELL E2001 and must have official SNELL label and number or AS/NZS 3838 (2006 onwards) and must have SAI global mark. Please read our guide for further information.

    Due to a change by the European Commission regarding EN1384 and BSEN1384 no longer being an accepted standard, all hats which ONLY meet the standard EN1384 or BSEN1384, and do not comply with another standard from the above list, WILL NOT be permitted for use at BHS examinations. Hats which bear EN1384 or BSEN1384 ALONG WITH another standard from the above list, will be permitted. For example, BSEN1384 & PAS015 (1998 or 2011) along with the Kitemark would be acceptable, but not BSEN1384 on its own. Fixed peaks will not be permitted for the cross country sections of all BHS examinations in line with British Eventing standards.
  • Breeches/jodhpurs: either is acceptable. There is no restriction on colour, but plain colours are preferred. If you are taking only the Care section of the Stages exams, you could wear a pair of tidy trousers with suitable boots or shoes. 
  • Footwear: boots must be appropriate for competitive riding. If you are taking only the Care section of the Stages exams, you can wear shoes or boots suitable for stable tasks. Fitted leather gaiters are also acceptable, but not half-chaps. Boots must be clean, tidy and in good repair. For Riding there must be a minimum clearance of ¼ inch either side of the stirrup.
  • Gloves: must be worn for the riding section, lungeing and leading and when handling horses. 
  • Body protectors: These are MANDATORY for examinations containing cross-country jumping – Stage 3 and 4, and at the discretion of the exam venue for showjumping (according to their insurance policy). The BHS STRONGLY RECOMMENDS a body protector is worn for all examinations where there is show jumping. Body protectors can be worn over or under a jacket or with a plain sweatshirt instead of a jacket – it is a requirement that your arms are completely covered. The body protector must comply with discipline requirements, please see our guide for further information.
  • Spurs: these may be worn for Stage 4 upwards. They should be short and blunt with the shank set centrally to the rear. They must only be used as and when the need arises – if in the opinion of the assessors/centre you are misusing them or they are deemed unnecessary, you will be asked to remove them.
  • Whips: for the Stage 1 Riding, you should carry a whip that does not exceed 30’’ or be less than 14’’. For Stage 2 upwards in the jumping sections the length of the whip is as above and for the flat work section the whip must not exceed 39’’ in length.
  • Jewellery: must not be worn. Permitted items include a watch. Studs or piercings of any sort are potentially dangerous and should be removed.

Candidates are reminded that the examinations lead to professional qualifications. Candidates should present themselves smartly and must adhere to the above dress code. For health and safety reasons, hair that is shoulder length or longer should be tied back or a hair net should be worn.

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