Anyone who is in the business of raising, riding and competing horses knows that for any given type of horse category, there is a list of specific tack that must accompany the rider during any and all competitions. If any piece of the equipment is missing, then it is quite possible the rider will lose valuable points in the competition and at times, can even be disqualified from competing. This is because the business of riding and showing horses is serious and for many people it is their life’s passion. Additionally, the best of the best can often find themselves in International competitions that can also lead them to a spot on the United States Olympic team. The most popular horse competition is that of dressage — which is basically the formal and competitive training of a horse to perform in a relaxed state in an arena that is comprised of tests such as movement and various jumps. To this end, there is specific dressage tack that allows for greater and easier movement of the rider and provides the horse with more comfort.
However, because the dressage horse is often shown in minimal tack, you should keep yourself up to date on the current rules that govern dressage tack, otherwise you could find yourself in violation during a competition and that can decrease your standing in the competition considerably. Too, because the sport of dressage is so formal, most all of the dressage tack that you see will be comprised of black leather and must be kept in near perfect condition.
All that being said, the basics of dressage tack include the saddle, of course, which is a lightweight English style saddle that has a long, straight saddle flap, a deep seat and a noticeable knee block. You may use a saddle blanket when competing in dressage and it is often nothing more than a white square, minimalist and distinct. As for the bridle, the rules are quite clear and the most common seen on the competition circuit is a double bridle with both a bradoon and a curb bit that utilizes a smooth curb chain.