I heard that “old groom’s tale” again this week, the one where the dressage judge won’t notice your busy hands if you wear black gloves. It always makes my teeth gnash. Really?! Anyone who believes that one must think judges are really stupid.
Come on, people. All the judges out there have heard the same thing. Thus, wearing black gloves is like shouting to the judge to laser beam the rider’s hands. Besides, the judge is focused on that rider and horse for five whole minutes. If there are any serious concerns about the hands, the judge can’t help but notice, no matter the color of the gloves.
The color of your gloves should be a fashion choice (except at FEI levels), not an effort at camouflage. Wear the gloves you prefer. The judge certainly doesn’t care. I happen to prefer white when I show, just because I think it looks better. I feel black gloves give an unfinished appearance to an otherwise nice turnout.
White gloves don’t have to be expensive or even hard to keep clean. White string knit gloves with PVC dots look just fine, can go in the washing machine, never slip with sweat or rain and cost all of around $5. Cotton knit gloves with gripper dots and a Velcro wrist cost between $6 and $12.
The way to get the judge to ignore your hands is to ride better, not buy black gloves.