Of course dressing well matters, but when it comes to horseback riding it’s not just about fitting in or looking great on horseback.
Choosing the right outfit can help make horseback riding safer, more comfortable, and more fun.
Picking the right thing to wear for horseback riding will minimize the likelihood of painful saddle sores, help you focus on your riding, and in the case of a few particular garments can even help reduce your chances of falling from a horse.
Here’s a guide on the best things to wear to horseback riding.
Let’s start with the very basics: the essentials that are always true about what you should wear horseback riding, no matter how big or small the horse is.
Although horseback riding has specific niches, each with its own dress code, like English riding, Western riding, rodeos, and horse trail riding, there are a few hard and fast rules about what to wear that are always true no matter the horseback riding type.
The most important rules for picking what to wear horseback riding are wearing heeled boots, wearing a helmet, and wearing clothing that won’t chafe.
Your legs will thank you for covering them while horseback riding. The reason you need to be serious about covering your legs is mostly because of the leathers of the stirrups.
They will rub and potentially pinch your legs if you’re in shorts. This can also be an issue in thinner pants like linen or even leggings.
Jeans are your best bet, plenty of riders wear them on casual days in place of riding pants anyways. I think going with fitted jeans because they are less likely to shift around or up your leg meaning less chance of rubs.
Also, bugs love horses, the more skin you have exposed the more bites you’re risking getting.
And while jeans will still be fine for multi-day trips, proper horse riding pants will be better. Not only are they stretchier but they also have reinforced leather patches on the inside of the knee which will keep your legs from excess rubbing.
Keep in mind there are some pants called full seat breeches, these have a leather patch that goes all the way through the inner of your thighs and crotch.
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When it comes to tops, there aren’t any specific tops to wear horseback riding. You can just go with a simple shirt.
But despite what certain people say, riding is a workout. So, plan to wear light layers that are easily removable and breathable.
Top layers should not be anything that needs to be removed over the head. That means your jacket or sweatshirt needs to be open at the front.
You won’t be able to get anything over a helmet, and that amount of movement in the saddle can potentially spook some horses. Two other pro-tips are avoiding fleeces, they attract hair, and avoid light colors, they attract dirt.
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The goal with your legs is to leave no skin exposed. So, wear a pair of tall socks, and pull them up over the bottom of your pants. I know, it’s not the most stylish look, but I promise you will be much more comfortable this way.
The most important thing about footwear is safety. You have to wear heeled boots, as the heel of your boot will keep your foot from potentially sliding all the way through your stirrup and, in the event of an accident, a leg sliding through the stirrup is incredibly dangerous and could mean being dragged.
The most important thing you should make sure to have is a helmet. Bring your own helmet, even.
While many ride providers likely have ones that you can borrow, the chances of them fitting you exactly are slim.
This not only puts you at a much higher risk of head injury if you hit the ground for example, it also means you will be much less comfortable and it ends in nothing less than a pounding headache.
If you want that extra safety and accessorize at the same time, you should wear riding gloves.
If you don’t wear gloves, and aren’t used to riding daily without them, you’re going to get blisters. A good pair of well fitted, thin gloves will get you through and keep you much happier.
You can also wear a belt, of course to keep your pants up if you need it, but it can be a stylish addition to your look.
For kids it’s pretty similar to above, you just have to make sure they are safe. It’s essential to wear a helmet as well as pants, and something that’s comfortable for them.
Some of the most well-known brands for horseback riding gear are Ariat, TuffRider, Horseware, and Ovation.
If you want to be classy and get from a high end brand, then of course Ralph Lauren offers a variety of horseback riding clothes and footwear for you to stay stylish too.
In the end, the most important thing about horseback riding wear is to stay safe, and it’s easy to do that while being stylish as well.