Few Equestrian sports offer as much of a thrill as eventing. The cross-country phase, especially, offers such an adrenaline rush as you gallop through fields and over fences. If you've registered for your first event, chances are you already know what to wear for the dressage and stadium phases (ordinary dressage and stadium attire will do!). But since this will be the first time you ever compete for cross-country, you'll want to do a run-down of your wardrobe to ensure it's appropriate. Here's what you need:
A Protective Vest
A protective vest is required during the cross-country phase. This vest is intended to protect you from serious injuries if you should crash into a jump or another object in your path. Flexible vests with ribbed styrofoam fillers are common, but they don't offer the most protection since an element could still "poke" you between the flexible pieces of foam. For the most protection, look for a solid vest. And pay close attention to the approvals; you want one that's ASTM-approved.
As in the other phases, you'll need an ASTM approved helmet with a chin strap. Experienced eventers will usually wear a more colorful, skull-cap style helmet for this phase, but it's perfectly okay to wear your velvet show helmet or even your everyday schooling helmet, as long as it's approved. After all, one of the best things about eventing is that you're not judged on style.
While you can technically wear any shirt with sleeves under your safety vest, most riders opt to wear a polo shirt of some kind. You can wear the same collared shirt you wore into the stadium if you wish -- or you can choose something more colorful. If it's a hot day, make sure you choose something that breathes -- you'll get really hot out on cross-country.
The USEA used to require medical armbands for all riders. Now, they are only required for riders with certain medical conditions at the lower levels. But it's still a good idea to wear one just in case something happens. This is a simple band into which an ID card slides. Your medical information is printed on the ID card.
Any color breeches are acceptable, so if you've been waiting to pull out those purple full-seats, this is a good occasion to do so!
Dress or Field Boots
You'll see some riders in dress boots since they're what is technically appropriate for dressage, but field boots are totally fine, too. Again, there are no color restrictions here, so if you have some fancy field boots with a navy blue upper, feel free to pull them out.
And that's it! You'll be dressed for success and safety out on the cross-country course. Contact a company like Kastel Denmark for more information and assistance.