What Do the Colors on Horseback Riding Jackets Mean?

Updated July 20, 2017

Horseback riding jacket colours can vary greatly depending on the style of riding. The colour of riding jackets is significant in thoroughbred horse racing, foxhunting, showing and dressage events. Each of these events require a special style of riding jacket with a particular colour scheme. Jackets are not normally worn in western style horse riding events.

Thoroughbred Racing Jacket Colors

Thoroughbred racing jockeys wear jackets called jockey silks or racing colours. Each racehorse owner has a unique design that includes bright colours and patterns to represent her horse farm. Thoroughbred owners are required to register their stable name and jockey silks with The Jockey Club in New York State prior to racing.

The brightly coloured silks worn by the jockeys make it easier for the spectators to recognise the horses and keep track of their positions during the race.

Fox Hunting Jacket Colors

Fox hunting on horseback includes many traditions that relate to the rider's attire. During the off season, hacking jackets in earth tone colours such as browns and greens are worn by both men and women during the hunt. Subtle plaids and patterns are also acceptable during this time.

During the formal season, scarlet riding jackets with the hunt's colour on the collar are worn by the masters and officials of the hunt and those male members of the hunt club who have been awarded their colours. The awarding of colours is done by the hunt masters to members who have made an ongoing significant contribution to the hunt club. Dark navy or black hunting jackets are worn by the other participants of the hunt during the formal season.

Horse Show Jacket Colors

The colours of jackets worn during horse shows do not necessarily have a specific meaning; however, riders often try to wear a jacket that complements the colour of their horse. For example, a navy jacket will highlight the colour of a palomino or other light-coloured horse. Understated or muted colours such as navy, brown, black and dark green are recommended for these events. During the show, the focus should be on the horse, not the attire of the rider, so bold colours are frowned upon. Some high level shows will dictate what colour must be worn during the show, but in most instances, the choice is up to the rider.

Dressage Show Jacket Colors

Black riding coats are often used in dressage competitions; however, other dark colours may also be worn. Black tailcoats are only worn in high level dressage competition.

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About the Author

Allison Travis has worked in the association management industry for 10 years with a focus on desktop publishing for associations. She has contributed to the "Quality Assurance Journal," "Quality Matters" Newsletter and numerous other association industry publications. Travis graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in English.