We’ll all have seen movies with characters riding on horseback, whether it’s a western or a period drama it seems that riding a horse is often the most dramatic method of transport. The trouble is that they can often present a false image of what clothing is best for horse riding and if emulated in real life can have bad consequences from discomfort to serious injuries.
Your riding style may dictate different fashions but essentially the clothing you’ll be wearing will be similar.
Riding Jodhpurs, Breeches or Jeans
Typically western style riding is associated with wearing jeans, it’s important not to wear loose jeans as these can cause nasty chaffing. Western riding is typically associated with chaps too, made of leather these do well to protect against the elements but also any brush or branches you may encounter. English riding is often associated with jodhpurs which are fitted trousers with a cuff near the ankle. This allows the wearer to wear shorter boots as opposed to knee high riding boots.
Shirts, Jackets and coats
For the upper body it’s normal to wear a long sleeve shirt to protect the rider from the sun, especially in hotter climates. For cold weather conditions a jacket or coat may be more suitable to wear over any usual garments. With coats and jackets it’s important to keep them closed/buttoned up and that you are able to move freely so you are able to keep control. It’s advised to refrain from short sleeved shirts or t-shirts as these don’t provide protection to the arms from objects or brush.
Footwear and horse riding boots
Footwear is important and careful consideration needs to be taken with regards to the sole of the shoe or boot. Flat shoes are not advised as in the event of some sort of accident then your foot could slip through the stirrup and get your leg caught. The solution is to go for a proper horse riding boot or cowboy boot with a defined heel of around 1 inch; this would keep your feet in the correct position preventing your foot becoming caught.
Headwear for protection and safety
Typically western styles depicted in TV and film show horse riders wearing cowboy hats and whilst this protects the rider’s head and neck form the sun it becomes pretty ineffective in the event of an accident or a fall. New riders and experienced riders alike will normally wear a riding helmet; make sure that they are fully certified to current standards when buying.
There are many retailers who sell horse riding supplies who will be able to inform you of the correct gear to buy and what safety equipment you should buy for the safety of you, the rider and your horse.