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.