Horses come in a dizzying variety of coat colours, patterns, and markings. Horse lovers use the different colours and markings to classify and distinguish horses. In this post, we provide an overview of basic coat colours and their variations, as well as patterns and facial and leg markings.
Basic Horse Coat Colours
The most common horse coat colour is bay, which is brown with a black mane and tail and black lower legs. Chestnut horses have a reddish-brown coat, with a mane and tail that are the same colour or lighter.
Black horses, as you would imagine, have a black coat, mane, and tail. A seal brown horse has a dark-brown coat with a black mane and tail and black lower legs. You can distinguish a seal brown horse by the lighter brown patches around its muzzle, eyes, flanks, and stifle (upper hind leg).
Pure white horses are rare but lack pigment in their skin, hooves, and coat.
Variations on Basic Coat Colours
A grey horse can be born with any coat colour but gradually starts growing white hairs. The eventual colour can range from nearly white to dark-grey. A grey horse may have a dappled or spotted pattern.
The roan pattern also involves white hairs mixed with a base colour. However, horses are born with this pattern. There are names for different types of roan, such as strawberry roan, which is white hairs interspersed with chestnut.
The cream gene makes chestnut, bay, and black coats lighter. For example, a palomino horse has a cream gene with a chestnut coat, giving it a light-yellow coat with a lighter-coloured mane and tail.
The dun gene typically gives a horse a darker head, limbs, mane, and tail; a dark stripe along its spine; and horizontal stripes on its legs. Dun horses come in different colours, such as blue dun, which has grey hair and is based on a black coat.
The rare silver gene turns a black coat chocolate-brown. The horse will have a whitish mane and tail and may have dapples. The champagne gene is another rare gene that causes a horse to have a shiny coat and grey-pink skin containing dark spots.
Horse Coat Patterns
A horse with the pinto pattern has patches of white and patches of another colour. Horses with smooth-edged white patches that go over their spine are known as tobiano. Those with jagged white patches seeming to start at the belly are called overo.
Horses with a combination of both patterns are called tovero. A horse that has coloured hairs mixed into the patches of white has a sabino pattern. A splashed white horse, meanwhile, looks like it has walked into white paint, with a large, smooth-edged white patch.
There are several types of spotted pattern. For example, a horse with the leopard pattern has dark spots on a white coat, while a horse with the snowflake pattern has white spots on a base colour. A horse with a blanket has a white patch over its hindquarters.
Horse Facial and Leg Markings
A horse can have 1 or more white markings on its face. A star is located between or above the eyes and can be various shapes, including a circle or a heart. A snip is a small white mark on a horse’s nose or muzzle.
A strip is a narrow white line that runs partway, or all the way, down a horse’s face. A blaze is similar but wider. A horse with a bald face has a large white patch that extends above its eyes.
A horse can have a white marking above its hooves on anywhere from 1 to all 4 legs. The white patch might be short. The marking can also be a sock, which extends about two-thirds of the way up the horse’s leg, or a stocking, which extends higher than its knee.
Do you have a favourite horse coat colour, pattern, or marking? Let us know in the comments!
Tack is the equipment used for riding a horse. There are many possible variations and additions, but basic tack can be divided into the saddle and tack that goes on the horse’s head. In this post, we describe the major pieces of tack that you’re likely to come across if you come for a ride.
The Western saddle is the largest and most recognizable piece of riding equipment. It’s what you sit on when riding a horse. All of its parts have their own names, but the ones most relevant to beginner riders are the horn, the seat, the cantle, and the stirrups.
The horn is the distinctive projection at the front of a Western saddle. It was traditionally used for holding one end of a lasso, but, these days, riders mostly use it for support, including while mounting and dismounting.
The seat is the part that you sit on and is located on top of the saddle tree, which is the saddle’s frame. The cantle is the raised edge at the back of the seat, while the stirrups are the dangling loops that hold the rider’s feet.
The saddle sits on a saddle pad, which provides cushioning, absorbs the horse’s sweat, and can help improve the saddle’s fit. The saddle is held in place with a cinch, a band that runs under the horse’s belly and attaches to the latigo on the horse’s left side and the off-side billet on its right. A saddle may have a back cinch that connects to the front one with a strap.
A headstall is a set of straps that goes around the horse’s head. It can be part of either a halter, which is used for leading the horse from the ground and tying it up, or a bridle, which is used for riding.
A bridle can have different components, including a noseband, a browband or ear loops, and a curb strap, which goes under the horse’s chin. The rider uses the bridle to communicate with the horse by applying pressure on different parts of its face. In most cases, a bridle includes a bit - a piece of metal that goes inside the horse’s mouth and helps the rider give commands.
There are several types of bits, but 2 of the most common are snaffle bits and curb bits. Snaffle bits pull directly on the horse’s mouth, while curb bits use metal shanks that hang outside the horse’s mouth. Instead of using a bit, some bridles use a bosal - a thick band that presses down on the horse’s nose.
The reins are the straps used for directing a horse and attach to the bit, if one is used. A Western rider might use split reins, which have 2 separate straps; a roping rein, which consists of 1 short loop; or romal reins, which have a string attached on the end. A bosal is often combined with mecate reins, which were traditionally made of horsehair and include both a long rein and a lead rope.
Did you learn something new about Western tack? Let us know in the comments!
It’s not only humans that need to exercise regularly and do warm-ups, stretching, and cool-downs. In this post, we explain horses’ exercise requirements and different ways to help them meet their exercise needs.
Benefits of Exercise for Horses
Exercise can increase a horse’s stamina and endurance and improve its muscle tone and the functioning of its heart and lungs. It promotes mental alertness, disease resistance, bone and hoof development, and healthy blood circulation. With each step, a horse’s hoof pushes fluid up its leg.
Exercise also helps prevent common issues among horses that spend most of their time in a stall, like boredom, leg swelling, and constipation.
Horse Exercise Requirements
A horse’s exercise needs vary depending on factors like its age, breed, housing situation, health, and fitness level, as well as the climate. A racehorse will require more-intense workouts than a senior horse, for example.
Horses that are free to move around in a pasture should receive an additional 15 to 20 minutes of exercise daily. Stabled horses benefit from at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. Super-fit horses need about 2 hours of exercise daily.
Horses with a low fitness level benefit from a gradual increase in exercise quantity and intensity. Regardless of the horse, consistency is key. Irregular exercise can lead to issues like muscle damage or incorrect feeding.
Warm-Up, Stretching, and Cool-Down for Horses
Just like you wouldn’t start running a marathon without warming up first, horses require a warm-up before exercising. Warm-up activities decrease the risk of injury, help the horse’s limbs move more freely, and increase the oxygen going to its muscles. Options include walking or trotting the horse at an easy pace for 10 to 15 minutes or lunging it (having it move in a circle at the end of a lunge line).
Stretching a horse increases its flexibility, improves its circulation, and helps relieve pain and inflammation. Stretch a horse’s legs by picking them up one at a time and gently extending them in each direction. Other possible exercises are having the horse turn in circles or stretch its neck forward and down.
For the cool-down, keep the horse moving at a relaxed pace for 10 to 15 minutes to allow its body temperature and heart rate to return to normal. Depending on the weather, the cool-down could include spraying or sponging the horse with cool water, drying it off with a towel, or applying a horse blanket. The animal can take little sips of water but should not eat until its body temperature has returned to normal to reduce the risk of colic.
Types of Exercise for Horses
Riding - whether at a walk, jog, lope, or gallop - is a classic way for both the horse and the rider to get exercise. Variations include riding the horse over ground poles, taking it over jumps, riding it up and down a hill, and ponying another horse behind it. Other ways to exercise a horse are putting it on a treadmill, taking it for a swim, having it do lunging or driving (pulling a cart), and taking it for a walk on a lead rope.
Being out in a pasture is its own form of exercise since groups of horses move around as they graze. Encourage physical activity by giving horse toys like giant balls or putting the hay and water at opposite ends of the field.
What would be your favourite way to exercise a horse? Let us know in the comments!
There are several horses from ancient and recent history whose names come up again and again. In this post, we share the stories of 6 famous horses so you can know who people are talking about when they say names like Secretariat and Seabiscuit!
This tall, black horse was the beloved steed of Alexander the Great. Born in approximately 355 BCE, Bucephalus was presented as a gift to Alexander’s father, Philip II of Macedon. Philip wanted to send the horse away due to its wild behaviour, but the 12-year-old Alexander managed to tame the animal.
Alexander rode Bucephalus in many battles and promised destruction when Bucephalus was kidnapped (the kidnappers returned the horse). After Bucephalus died in 326 BCE, Alexander founded a city called Bucephala in his memory.
The Godolphin Arabian is considered one of the 3 founding sires of the modern Thoroughbred. He was born in approximately 1724, likely in Tunisia, and was given as a gift to the King of France. This small, bay-coloured Arabian horse was imported to England in 1729.
His name refers to one of his owners, the Earl of Godolphin. This horse was the father of approximately 90 foals, several of whom went on to racing success. The Godolphin Arabian died in 1753.
Man o’ War
This chestnut Thoroughbred, nicknamed Big Red, was born in 1917 in Kentucky. He won 20 out of 21 races in his 2-year racing career, only coming in second place in 1919 to a horse named Upset. By his fourth race, he was carrying 130 pounds (59 kg) as a handicap.
After retiring from racing, Man o’ War moved to a stud farm, where he received hundreds of thousands of visitors. He sired 379 foals and died of a heart attack in 1947.
This small, scrawny horse with his knees turned inward was an unlikely champion. Indeed, Seabiscuit proved difficult to train and did not win any races until his eighteenth attempt. With the switch to a new trainer, Tom Smith, Seabiscuit’s luck started to turn.
This bay horse was born in 1933, and his eventual success provided hope during the Great Depression. His main rider was Red Pollard, a Canadian jockey who was blind in one eye. After an 89-race career, Seabiscuit retired to a ranch in California, where he received over 50,000 visitors and died in 1947.
This small, stocky, dark bay horse was born in 1961 in Ontario. He was the first Canadian-born and -bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Northern Dancer won 14 out of 18 races but is most famous for the success of his offspring.
This spectacular stallion moved to a stud farm in Maryland, siring, among others, 147 horses that won stakes races. The fee for a mare to breed with Northern Dancer rose all the way to $500,000. He died in 1990 of colic, and his body was transported back to his home farm in Ontario.
This cocky chestnut horse, nicknamed Big Red just like Man o’ War, was born in Virginia in 1970. In 1973, he was the first horse in 25 years to win the American Triple Crown, which means that he won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.
Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by an astounding 31 horse lengths. He went on to have over 600 offspring and was put down in 1989. After Secretariat’s death, his heart was estimated to weigh a hefty 21 to 22 pounds (9.5 to 10 kg).
Do you know any other famous horses? Let us know in the comments!
Horses have strange smelling behaviours, pickiness about feed, and an extraordinary sensitivity to touch. In this post, we dive into horses’ senses of smell, taste, and touch.
Sense of Smell
Horses’ sense of smell is about 50 times better than humans’, although not as powerful as dogs’. Their noses can distinguish the scent of predators, other horses, medications hidden in their feed, and even possibly human emotions, like fear and happiness.
Horses have anywhere from 25 million to 100 million olfactory receptors, which help detect scents. The human nose contains 5 to 6 million receptors, while dogs and rats have about 300 million.
Horses’ large, flexible nostrils suck air into their large nasal cavity. Inside the cavity, turbinate bones distribute inhaled air, and tiny hairs slow it down to trap it in mucus. Horses can identify a scent’s direction because each nostril’s receptors connect to separate parts of their brain.
Like several other animals, including cats and pandas, horses have an organ known as the vomeronasal organ (VNO) at their nasal cavity’s base. In horses, this organ’s most significant role is detecting other horses’ pheromones - chemical substances that affect animal behaviour. More specifically, stallions will use the VNO to determine whether a mare is in heat.
To direct odours to their VNO, horses use the Flehmen response, lifting their head up high, peeling back their lips, wrinkling their nose, and temporarily stopping breathing. Horses sometimes also use the Flehmen response for strong, unfamiliar smells like perfume and gasoline.
Horses often sniff each other’s nostrils when they first meet. Mares fix their newborn foal’s scent into their brain while grooming it. However, horses can also form negative associations with certain smells.
Sense of Taste
Horses’ taste buds are located mainly on the roof of their mouth and the back section of their tongue. They have approximately 25,000 taste buds, compared to between 8000 and 10,000 for humans.
Horses can distinguish between different flavours, like sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. They tend to prefer sweet and salty foods, perhaps because sweet foods fill them up, while salty ones replenish their salt levels. Sour or bitter foods, however, risk being poisonous.
If there’s plenty of grass or hay available, horses will eat the foods with the most appealing taste and texture, although they tend to avoid toxic plants. Left to their own devices, horses will not necessarily choose the most nutritious option and may consume more food than is necessary to meet their needs.
Horses tend to prefer young, tender plants to mature, tough ones. They may refuse food or water with an unusual taste or smell. However, they’re less choosy when hungry.
Sense of Touch
Horses’ sense of touch is highly sensitive, especially around their nose, lips, and ears. They can feel a fly landing on their back and the rider’s slightest shift of weight in the saddle. A particular horse’s level of sensitivity depends on factors including its age and the thickness of its skin.
Horses use their coarse whiskers - found around their muzzle and eyes - to gather information about their environment. They’ll paw the ground then touch it with their muzzle to check its safety, firmness, and depth.
Those who ride and work with horses should use a light touch on the reins and ensure that tack fits correctly. Know that horses prefer being rubbed and stroked - in non-sensitive areas - to being patted or tickled.
Do you have a favourite fact about horses’ sense of smell, taste, or touch? Let us know in the comments!
Roaming in the Mongolian steppes, you may find herds of Przewalski’s horses, the one remaining species of wild horse. Other horses commonly considered wild, like mustangs, are actually feral horses - escaped domestic horses. There are also several groups of semi-feral horses, such as Dartmoor ponies, that live mostly independently but with some human intervention.
In this post, we describe different types of wild, feral, and semi-feral horses.
This endangered horse has a dun coat with a pale belly and white muzzle, a dark stripe along its spine, dark lower legs with zebra-like stripes, a dark mane and tail, and no forelock. Pronounced “Shuh-val-ski’s” horse, this short, stocky equine has a large head and thick neck.
Although these hardy horses became extinct in the wild in the 1960s, they were bred in captivity and reintroduced into Mongolia. They live in groups of mares and foals with a single dominant stallion. Younger males live in separate bachelor groups.
This prehistoric wild horse roamed in southern France and Spain and east to central Russia and is depicted in cave paintings in France and Spain. Wild tarpans died out in the 19th century, and the last captive animal died in Russia in 1909.
Ill-tempered tarpans had a long, shaggy coat. In the 20th century, the Heck brothers in Germany combined several breeds to try to recreate the tarpan’s genetic combination.
These descendants of Spanish horses brought to the Americas were often bred with other breeds, including American Quarter Horses and draft horses, leading to horses with a variety of colours and patterns, including bay, sorrel, black, and palomino. They’re generally medium-sized, hardy, and sure-footed with stocky legs.
Mustangs live in small herds in the grasslands of the western United States. Although there are far fewer mustangs than there used to be, their population increases rapidly enough that the American Bureau of Land Management is working to adopt some of them out.
These feral horses escaped from horses brought to Australia by European settlers. With different breeds including Thoroughbred, Arabian, and Australian Draught in their ancestry, they don’t have a consistent appearance.
Hardy, intelligent, athletic brumbies are well-adapted to Australian wetlands, forests, rocky ranges, and tropical grasslands. In fact, with a population of at least 400,000 animals, they’re known to damage vegetation and cause problems for cattle farming, leading to control efforts ranging from fencing to culling.
Dartmoor and Exmoor Ponies
In 2 different English moorlands roam Dartmoor and Exmoor ponies, owned by either private individuals or national park authorities. Both breeds have a thick, woolly lower coat and an oily top coat that snow slides off, plus a coarse mane and tail. Both types of ponies were used historically in mining.
Exmoor ponies are related genetically to the Przewalski’s horse and nearly went extinct in 1946. They’re rounded up annually to establish ownership and apply tags or other marks. Both Exmoor and Dartmoor ponies are down to several hundred animals grazing in the UK, with other ponies in other parts of the world.
This ancient, greyish-white horse breed lives in southern France, grazing in saltmarshes. The animals roam freely but are gathered annually for counting and branding. They’re often used on ranches or for guided rides for tourists.
Do you have a favourite out of these wild, feral, and semi-feral horses? Let us know in the comments!
From dancing parrots to dogs shaking hands, talented animals are a popular source of amusement. Horses have had their own share of talent, from painting to performing mathematical calculations. In this post, we share the stories of 4 gifted horses.
Cholla: The Painting Horse
Born in Nevada in 1985, Cholla was a copper buckskin mustang-Quarter Horse mix. He had a black mane and tail, a dorsal stripe, and zebra stripes on his legs. After noticing that Cholla followed her around as she was painting his corral, his owner—Renee Chambers, a ballet dancer—decided to try giving him a paintbrush.
Although Chambers put the paint on the brush and stuck it in Cholla’s mouth, he did the painting independently. He appeared to enjoy painting, creating colourful abstract designs.
Cholla’s paintings have been displayed and sold internationally, and he even received an honourable mention for the Italian Arte Laguna Prize in 2008. The contest was open to all artists, although the judges did not realize initially that he was a horse. Cholla died in 2013.
Thor of Hopehaven: The Trick Performer and Painter
This American Sugarbush Harlequin Draft gelding lives on a farm in Georgia. He has a dark coat with a patch of spots around his hindquarters. His owner, Dorinda Hemmings, is a painter and has taught him a number of tricks.
Thor’s tricks include bowing, shaking hands, opening and closing a mailbox, and fetching a drink from a cooler. One day, Hemmings noticed him pick up a paintbrush, so she tried setting him up with a canvas. Hemmings picks the colours then gives Thor the brush.
Clever Hans: The Talented Tapper
In Berlin in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, awed crowds gathered to watch the performances of Clever Hans, an Arabian stallion. Hans answered questions from his trainer—Wilhelm von Osten, a high school math teacher—by tapping his hoof to indicate letters and numbers or by moving his head.
Hans gave accurate answers to math questions, stated the time, spelled names, and identified colours, musical pieces, and more. The German Board of Education studied Hans for a year and a half but did not find any hoax. However, in 1907, biologist and psychologist Oskar Pfungst discovered that the horse was responding to very subtle cues from questioners, in what is now known as the “Clever Hans effect.”
Clever Hans was drafted during the First World War and died in 1916.
Lady Wonder: The Psychic Horse
Lady Wonder, a black mare with white feet and 3 white stockings, was born in Virginia in 1924. Her owner, Claudia Fonda, worked at an iron foundry and raised Lady from a young age. Suspecting that her horse had special abilities, Fonda trained her to move blocks containing letters and numbers.
Fonda built a large, piano-sized typewriter that Lady could press with her muzzle to answer questions. Approximately 150,000 people visited the supposedly psychic horse, paying $1 to have her answer 3 questions about topics ranging from romance to horse race results and the location of missing children.
She gave enough correct answers that many people believed in her powers, even some scientists. Of course, many were also skeptical, attributing her success to unconscious cues or trickery. Lady Wonder died in 1957.
What do you think about these horses’ exceptional abilities? Let us know in the comments!
- Time is the determining factor in barrel racing.
- If you knock over a barrel, add 5 seconds to your time.
Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time.
There are 2 penalties in barrel racing: knocking over a barrel and breaking the pattern. If a horse knocks over a barrel, it adds 5 seconds to the time. However, if you’re skilled enough to catch the barrel to prevent it from hitting the ground, you’re in the clear! A broken pattern disqualifies the run completely.
Barrel racing is racing your horse around 3 barrels as fast as you can. The barrels are set up in a triangle pattern in an arena – the first and second barrels are 60 feet from the starting point and the third barrel is 105 feet from the starting point. However, this even calls for much more control of your horse than you think as both horse and rider must work together to have a fast run.
Barrel racing takes a lot of time, discipline, and control. Once you begin training correctly, you will notice that it’s not just about running around barrels. A good rule of thumb for a beginner barrel racer is to perfect the pattern first and the speed will follow. The best way to learn to barrel race is with an instructor, whether it be a seasoned barrel racer or an actual instructor. However, it’s not impossible to teach yourself.
A pocket is a buffer between the horse and the barrel, about 3 to 5 feet in distance. Every barrel horse must learn how to respect and learn the pockets of the barrel as this is what teaches them to give themselves some space when turning the barrel, so they don’t knock it over.
The rate is about 10 feet from the barrel. In the beginning, stop your horse at the point so they know when to slow down and start setting up for the pocket and turning the barrel.
The best way to mark these important points out in the pattern is with soccer cones. However, just like in jumping, you should be looking past your jump and not at it. In barrel racing, you need to train yourself not to look at the barrel in front of you. Instead, look past it then as soon as you round the barrel look past your next barrel.
Start at a walk as you start training. Ensure that you have control of your horse and that you’re stopping at each point. Make sure you are leaning the pockets – going into the barrel a little wide and coming closer as you start for the next barrel. As you start teaching your horse to know where to slow down and set up for the following barrel, train yourself as well; know where to look, where to place your hands, and where to add more leg.
Sound like fun? Let us know in the comments!
Although our activities and routines vary based on the time of year, we don’t necessarily notice any major changes in the way our bodies function. Horses, however, clearly adjust their bodies, behaviour, and needs based on environmental conditions like the amount of daylight. In this post, we explore seasonal changes in horses.
Fall and Winter
The fall is a good time to prepare horses for the coming winter, including adding more hay to their diet. In the fall, pasture plants start to store more sugars, which can cause digestive problems in horses. Fall pasture grass also has fewer nutrients.
Forage, such as hay, takes a long time for horses to digest. That provides heat over a longer period - ideal for the winter. Hay also gives the horse extra calories. Note that it’s essential to make changes to horses’ diet slowly, not all at once.
Depending on the horse, it can be a good idea to increase its body weight over the fall. Some horses lose weight over the winter since they’re burning calories to stay warm. Others gain weight due to reduced exercise.
Wild horses reduce their metabolism over the winter given the harsher environmental conditions. Although domestic horses have a more consistent food supply, there is some evidence that Shetland ponies, at least, also have a lower metabolic rate in the winter.
Although horses generally prefer drinking cold water, they also tend to drink less in the fall and winter. One issue can be freezing water, so insulated bucket covers and de-icers for water troughs are available.
A more obvious change when looking at a horse in the fall is that it starts growing its fuzzy winter coat in September. Throughout the cooler fall and winter, horse owners must ensure that their horses stay warm and dry.
Spring and Summer
Horses start shedding their winter coats in response to increasing daylight. The process starts in late December but only becomes noticeable in May. A horse tends to shed at the same time every year and often in the same pattern.
In the spring, horses may eat too much new grass too quickly, leading to health issues like colic and laminitis. Horse owners should limit their horses’ access to the pasture in the springtime, only gradually increasing it.
Mares are typically in heat on and off between April and October. With an 11-month gestation period, they give birth the following spring or summer.
Like humans, horses suffer in summer heat and humidity. It’s important to provide them with sufficient fresh, cool, clean water. Loose or block salt can also be beneficial, as can electrolytes if the horse is sweating a lot.
Horse owners and riders should limit horses’ activity to the cooler parts of the day if possible and ensure that the animals cool down properly, perhaps by misting or sponging them. Horses living outside should have access to shade or a shelter to escape the heat, while horses indoors enjoy having a fan running. Another part of horse summer care is applying sunscreen to vulnerable patches of skin.
Did you increase your understanding of how horses and horse care change over the course of the year? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re a beginner rider, you may be wondering what to wear for a riding lesson or trail ride. Appropriate attire varies depending on the riding discipline and weather. In this post, we outline what to wear from head to toe while horseback riding.
To protect your brain, wear a helmet designed specifically for horseback riding every time you get in the saddle (we provide them at Shelby Ranch). The helmet should fit well and be certified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and Safety Equipment Institute (SEI).
Torso and Arms
The type of shirt that you wear while riding does not matter hugely - a t-shirt or long-sleeved shirt is fine. Your clothing should not be too loose, to avoid getting it caught in the saddle, but also should not restrict your movement. Avoid wearing a tank top since they do not protect your arms from the sun or branches.
When going on a trail ride, in particular, wear layers to let you adapt to the weather conditions.
You could wear a sweater, vest, jacket, raincoat, or scarf or some combination. In the summer, try a cooling neck wrap.
Riding gloves prevent the reins from rubbing your hands or slipping. Try crochet-backed gloves in the summer and lined gloves in the winter.
Some riders choose to wear a padded safety vest that protects their chest, organs, ribs, and spine in case of a fall. If you’re riding at night, wear reflective, light-coloured clothing, such as a vest.
Those doing English riding tend to wear fitted breeches or jodhpurs, or the more-comfortable riding tights. Riding pants do not have a seam along the inside leg. They often have patches of textured material on the inside of the knees and sometimes around the seat to achieve better grip.
Western riders often wear jeans. Ordinary jeans are fine if you’re only riding occasionally, or there are special riding jeans available with flat inside seams. Western riders sometimes also wear chaps, which are protective leather coverings that go on top of pants.
Whatever pants you choose, they should be fairly tight-fitting to avoid getting fabric caught in the saddle. Shorts, capris, and cropped pants are not recommended since the saddle and stirrups rub against any bare skin.
Boots with a 1-inch (2.54 cm) heel are the safest footwear for horseback riding to keep your feet from slipping out of the stirrup. Hiking boots or rain boots with a proper heel can work, although rain boots are not ideal. They’re not as durable as riding boots, tend to be loose at the top, and do not have the best grip.
English riders tend to wear either paddock boots, which are ankle height, or dress boots, which are knee height. They may slip half chaps on top of paddock boots to protect the lower legs from rubbing. Western riders wear various boot styles but often select cowboy boots.
In any case, the boots or shoes that you wear for riding should be sturdy and closed-toed to protect your feet from horse hooves. That means no sandals or flip-flops.
What would your dream riding outfit be? Let us know in the comments!
Hello, My name is Shelby Gatti, and I am the owner of Shelby Ranch. I love being able to share my passion for animals with you and your family. At Shelby Ranch you can expect a ton of family adventure from horseback riding to mechanical bull riding & axe throwing.