How to Fit a Show Coat

A show coat/jacket is the single most important item of competition apparel. Properly fitting a woman's jacket can easily improve how you are judged in a competition.
Ladies Horse Show jackets are based on a traditionally cut men’s suit coats. In the original European jacket designs, the horse show coat had 3 front buttons and a double vented back. It is tailored with a narrow waist and is a bit broader in the shoulders for ease of movement. Traditionally made from wool, now many coats are made from extremely highly technical fabrics that wick away moisture. The new tech coats are machine washable and mostly available in navy and black. Women’s show coats are available in a range of colors; black, dark gray, navy and occasionally hunter green. Most equitation riders show in a dark navy jacket. The idea is that all competitors will look the same. The judge is then free to focus on performance rather than fit.
8 Steps to Fitting Show Jackets
  1. We fit a show coat from the shoulders down. The shoulder cannot easily be altered so it must first.
  2. When you put a jacket on and button it, you should be able to pinch fabric at each shoulder. The outside of each shoulder of the coat should be about ½” wider than the rider.
  3. For a traditional fit, the length of the jacket should just pass the bottom of the rider’s bottom. When seated in a saddle there should be 1 ¼” of extra fabric lying on the saddle.
  4. For a modern fit on a tech coat, the length is determined by the cut of the coat. Some may be as high as totally above the rider’s bottom.
  5. The waist or the narrowest part of the jacket needs to hit the rider exactly where they are the thinnest.
  6. There should be extra room in a wool coat enough to grab the front buttons in your hand and pull it away the rider’s body. If there is too much it is easiest to tailor by just moving the buttons over. Extra fabric in the front is evident by the bust seams not lying smoothly over the line of the breast.
  7. The tech fabric jackets fit much tighter. That fabric allows for complete movement. These jackets should lay closer to the rider’s bodies without causing bumps and pulls and wrinkles.
  8. Sleeve length is determined by the rider’s wrist bone while they drop their arms relaxed by their sides. You want the sleeves about an inch below the wrist bone.