Wearing the appropriate attire is probably more important for horsemanship than any other category in a rodeo queen competition.

Read the rules and guidelines from the coordinator very carefully.  When in doubt, check with the coordinator to clarify your questions. 

Basic Horsemanship Clothing Rules:

If a plain white cotton shirt is specified, make sure that is what you are wearing!  A pocket may be allowed, but nothing else.   Fancy, silver, or decorative buttons, embroidery, rhinestones, designs, or other embellishments are not allowed it the rules states a “plain white shirt.”   Tuxedo shirts are also not allowed.  The National High School Rodeo Association and all of the state high school rodeo associations adhere the plain white shirt rule. 

Horsemanship shirts need to be form-fitting and tucked all of the way in.  No blousing out!  It may be the style, but not in the arena.  The judges want to be able to see your posture and body position easily.  If your shirt is baggy, have some tucks sewn in so it is tighter fitting.

If you are able to wear an outfit or shirt of your choice make sure you choose colors that will coordinate with your horse.   There are some colors that just aren’t appealing at a distance on some horse colors. 

A simple, showmanship type of shirt is better than one that could be distracting to the judges.  Make sure that you can use and move your arms comfortably without restriction.  Are the sleeves the right length?  You want them down to the wrist, not spilling over onto your hand or pulling up to short. 

A monochromatic outfit is the best choice, as you won’t look “cut in half” while riding your horse.  Bring the color into your outfit by having the yolk and cuffs of the shirt made in a contrasting or brighter color.  It will also make a shorter contestant look a little taller and a heavier contestant look slimmer!   Heavier contestants should never wear white Wrangler pants and darker colors are much more slimming.

When choosing your outfit take the conditions of the arena into account.  An indoor arena tends to be darker and a brightly colored outfit will be more eye-catching and stand out better.  Use plenty of rhinestones to catch the light on your yokes in a dark arena. 

Wear Wrangler 5-pocket jeans.  Wrangler is a major sponsor of rodeo and should be your jeans of choice!  Many contests will require black or blue Wranglers.  Make sure that they are new as faded jeans are not acceptable.  If blue is specified, make sure it is the dark denim blue. 

Make sure your pants fit well.  If they are too tight, you will have a hard time mounting and dismounting.  If they are too baggy, they just look unattractive.

What time of year is the contest being held?  Will the weather be extremely hot or cold?  You might be on your horse for several hours so you will want to wear an outfit that you will be comfortable wearing.  Heavy leather in hot sunshine can be suffocating but in cold weather will be very welcome.

Make sure that you do not have anything on you or the horse that will bounce or make movement to distract the judges’ eye and that shows too much movement.  This includes fringe, scarves, tassels, ribbons, hair, earrings, etc. 

Wear your hair pulled back into a clip or bow to prevent it from bouncing while you are riding.  Make sure it is poofed or ratted up.  Curls tend to bounce.

Jewelry needs to be kept at a minimum.  Small silver earrings, a hairclip, and a small neck pin are really the only acceptable pieces.  In many contests a neck pin is not allowed.  Do not wear a watch, rings, or a bracelet.  The judges want to focus on how you hold your hands and not your jewelry. 

Wear plenty of make up when in the arena, as you can look washed out.   Use a little brighter color of lipstick and blush. 

If you are wearing a banner make sure it is tucked in securely.  No flapping tails hanging out!

Wear a belt and boots that match the color of your Wrangler pants.  Rhinestone belts may or may not be deemed acceptable so check with the contest coordinator.  Always wear a belt buckle.

No lace-up boots - ever!  Make sure that your boots are clean and polished and the bottoms blacked.  The judges get a good view of them.  Dress or riding boots are acceptable but no fashion boots. 

Wear a hat that coordinates with your outfit.  A white hat will stand out better in a dark arena.  It is okay to use a hat protector during inclement weather.  Make sure your hat is clean and shaped.  A stampede string is not acceptable. 

Overall, make sure that your clothes are clean, well pressed, in good condition and fit well.  It’s the little details that can make the point difference between you and the next contestant.