Competitor’s Guidelines

In the Concours d'Elegance Society of GB, we refer to the Rules as Guidelines as nothing is written in stone.  After all, we are aiming to recreate a picture from history.

These guidelines are for both Judges and Competitors to ensure we are all working towards the same standards to create a fairer way of judging and competing


1. Hats to BRC current standards must always be worn when mounted by ALL junior riders (under 18 years), with the chinstrap secured. Top hats, bowlers and costume hats may be worn by adult riders, and a disclaimer must be signed if you choose not to wear a safety hat. The Society shall accept no responsibility for riders choosing NOT to wear an approved hard hat. Please refer to the shows own rules which may require ALL riders to wear safety headwear and overrule the rules of The Society. Hat bands create a more elegant look if made to match the costume however, some people are very creative with over-hats but they can look out of proportion with some costumes.

2. Ridden Novice Classes are performed in walk only – no trotting at all in these classes. In hand classes – walk and a short trot from front to back of group. All ridden classes (excluding the novice class) are walk and trot in the ‘go round’. The class will be judged with competitors at walk and trot with consideration to ability, on both reins. Canter may be shown in the individual show, but it is entirely at the rider’s discretion. Ladies can execute their show in sitting trot to create a more elegant picture, however the comfort of the horse and rider should be the first consideration.

3. Plumes are not permitted on horse’s heads as these were traditionally used for funeral and circus work only.

4. The aim is to give a correct presentation for the chosen historical period. Concours d'Elegance is a costume competition, not fancy dress or ‘cosplay’. The picture created should represent history perhaps depicting a film, painting or period drama. Any historic/traditional period may be portrayed up to the 1950's. Costume, tack, rider and horse/pony will be taken into consideration.

5. Participants enter individually, if an unmounted leader is required, he/she may wear correct costume for the period and their role.

6. Inspection of the costume and horse tack will take place when the class is lined up. Details such a silhouette, fabric (colour, trimmings, weight and materials) appropriate style and drape will be examined. Period make-up may be included to help create the ‘look’. Appropriate accessories may include jewellery, hairstyle and headwear, bag, belt, footwear, etc. Veils are acceptable as the overall look is often designed to create to look of a rider riding side saddle. No jodhpurs or boots should be visible unless they form part of the costume.

7. Horse Tack: Bits and saddles MUST be safe and fit the horse. Any suitable tack is acceptable, and you may wish to use themed tack to enhance your costume. Decorated and embellished browbands are acceptable for any type of horse/pony. The welfare of the horse and safety of the rider is always paramount.

8. Competitors are encouraged to submit a brief resume about their costume, for the commentator and/or judge.


9. Costumes should be tasteful, traditional and have the wow factor. No flesh should be on show ie no bare arms or cleavage. Concours is meant to replicate wearing your ‘Sunday Best’. It is not a competition sparkle and bling.

10.In hand classes: Competitors should enter the arena on the left rein to enable the judge to get a clear view of your costume and not obscured by the horse or pony.

11.The Judge’s decision is final. All classes are judged on the overall picture of elegance with a strong historical influence.

12.  Jewellery is permissible but should be minimal and tasteful and only if appropriate to your costume

Please remember that the possession of a sense of humour, fair play and good sportsmanship are mandatory for all involved at these shows. Please try and remember that a smile and a good word demonstrates the height of humility and good manners, which are always in fashion.