What to Wear when Horseback Riding

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While riding a majestic horse through open fields or scenic trails may seem like a picturesque scene from a movie, you must have contemplated that what to wear when horseback riding is just as important as the experience itself.

From boots to helmets, proper riding attire not only looks the part but also keeps you safe as you adventurously sit astride a thousand-pound animal.

What to Wear when Horseback Riding

In this post, we’ll cover all the necessary and optional clothing items needed for comfortable and secure horseback riding, along with style recommendations and usage tips. Our goal is to empower both beginner and experienced equestrians by providing clear, practical fashion guidance so you can confidently hit the trails looking your best without compromising on safety. Read on to discover everything you need to know about putting together the perfect riding ensemble!

What to Wear when Horseback Riding: Overview

In general, horseback riding attire is geared towards providing comfort and protection while riding. The outfit mainly consists of sturdy boots, breeches or jodhpurs, a fitted shirt, a helmet, and gloves. Riders may also choose to wear additional protective gear like body protectors or chaps, depending on the type of riding and level of experience.

Let’s Break it Down: Essential Riding Attire

1. Boots

Boots are an essential part of any riding attire as they provide grip and support in the stirrups, protect your feet from getting caught in the stirrups, and prevent injury in case you fall off the horse.

When selecting boots for horseback riding, make sure to choose a sturdy pair with a low heel and smooth sole for better traction. Avoid wearing sneakers, sandals, or open-toed shoes as they don’t provide the necessary support and can easily get caught in the stirrups.

For English riding, tall boots are preferred as they offer more coverage and stability while jumping or dressing. On the other hand, cowboy boots are popular in Western riding as they have slightly higher heels and can easily slip in and out of stirrups.

2. Breeches or Jodhpurs

Breeches or jodhpurs are specialized pants designed for horseback riding. They offer better flexibility, comfort, and grip compared to regular jeans or leggings.

What to Wear when Horseback Riding

For English riding, breeches are the go-to option as they extend below the knee and fit snugly around the calf, providing better contact with the horse’s sides. Jodhpurs, on the other hand, are popular in Western riding as they cover the entire leg and have a looser fit below the knee.

3. Fitted Shirt

A fitted shirt is crucial for horseback riding as it allows for better movement and prevents any loose fabric from getting caught in the saddle or reins.

For English riding, a collared polo shirt or show shirt is recommended, while Western riders can opt for a button-down shirt or tank top. Whatever style you choose, make sure it fits well and doesn’t have any dangling accessories that can get caught on something.

4. Helmet

You were wearing a helmet while horseback riding is non-negotiable, regardless of your level of experience. It protects your head in case of a fall or collision with any objects and can prevent serious injuries.

When purchasing a helmet, make sure it fits snugly but comfortably on your head, doesn’t obstruct your vision or hearing, and meets safety standards set by organizations like ASTM International or the American Society for Testing and Materials.

5. Gloves

Gloves are another essential item in a rider’s ensemble, providing a better grip on the reins and protection against blisters and calluses.

Opt for gloves with a non-slip material like leather or synthetic suede, and make sure they fit snugly but comfortably around your hands.

Optional Riding Attire for Added Comfort and Protection

While the above items are considered essential, there are a few optional clothing pieces that riders may choose to wear for added comfort and protection:

1. Body Protector

Body protectors, also known as safety vests, are popular among equestrians who engage in high-risk riding disciplines like jumping or cross-country. These vests offer an extra layer of protection to the rider’s torso and vital organs in case of a fall.

2. Chaps

Chaps are leather coverings worn over regular pants for added protection and grip. They come in various styles, including half chaps that cover just the lower leg or full chaps that extend to the waist.

3. Riding Jacket

What to Wear when Horseback Riding

For more formal riding events or colder weather, a riding jacket may be worn over a fitted shirt for added warmth and style.

4. Hat

Hats are a popular accessory in Western riding, providing protection from the sun and adding to the overall cowboy look. Just make sure it fits securely on your head and doesn’t obstruct your view.

What to Wear Horseback Riding in Festives and Different Occasions


When attending a festival that involves horseback riding, it is important to balance comfort and style. Opt for breathable fabrics and layers that allow for easy movement. Traditional pieces like riding breeches and polo shirts can be elevated by incorporating elements that reflect the festive spirit. Consider wearing colorful scarves, themed pins, or even a stylish yet functional hat. Accessories not only enhance your outfit but also add a touch of personal flair, making your ensemble both practical and celebratory.

Racing Shows

For racing shows, dressing appropriately is key to ensuring both safety and performance. Follow these steps to ensure you are well-prepared:

Choose Well-Fitted Jodhpurs or Riding Tights:

Opt for jodhpurs or riding tights that fit snugly but allow for freedom of movement. Well-fitted bottoms enhance both comfort and performance.

Wear a Tailored Riding Jacket:

Select a riding jacket that is both stylish and functional. A tailored fit enhances your appearance while providing the necessary flexibility for movement.

Certified Riding Helmet:

Ensure you have a certified riding helmet. This is an essential piece of safety gear that protects your head in case of a fall or accident. Do not compromise on safety.

Sturdy Boots with a Low Heel:

Choose boots that are sturdy and have a low heel. The heel ensures your feet stay securely in the stirrups, and the grip provides stability and control.


Wear riding gloves to improve your grip on the reins. Gloves also help reduce the risk of blisters, especially during the intensity of a race.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you are appropriately dressed for racing shows, combining safety, performance, and style.


In competitive settings, adhering to a specific dress code is crucial to projecting a professional and polished appearance. Follow these steps to ensure that you are suitably dressed for any competition:

Select a Classic Competition Jacket:

Choose a classic black or navy competition jacket. Ensure it fits well and allows for freedom of movement.

Opt for White Breeches:

Wear white breeches as they are the standard in most competitions. Make sure they are clean, well-fitted, and comfortable.

Choose a Crisp, White Show Shirt:

A crisp, white show shirt is essential. Ensure it is neatly pressed and comfortable for long wear.

Wear Matching Accessories:

Complete your outfit with accessories such as gloves and a belt that match the overall color scheme. Gloves not only enhance grip but also contribute to a polished look.

Maintain Your Helmet:

Ensure your riding helmet is well-maintained and meets safety standards. A clean, well-cared-for helmet is both a safety necessity and a part of your polished appearance.

By following these steps, you can ensure that you are properly dressed for competitions, showcasing an appearance that is both professional and stylish.

Dressing Tips and Considerations

  • Comfort: Always prioritize comfort, as horseback riding can be physically demanding. Breathable and stretchable fabrics are ideal.
  • Safety: Ensure that all riding gear, especially helmets and boots, meet safety standards.
  • Weather: Dress appropriately for the weather, adding or removing layers as needed.
  • Personal Style: Don’t be afraid to highlight your personal style, provided it adheres to any required dress codes.

Horse Show Spectator Outfit: Essential Tips

Comfort and Style

When attending a horse show as a spectator, it is important to find the perfect balance between comfort and style. Opt for clothing that allows ease of movement, considering that you might be walking around the grounds or standing for extended periods. A pair of well-fitted jeans or chinos paired with a smart blouse or polo shirt can achieve a polished yet comfortable look.


Choosing the right footwear is crucial for a horse show. You’ll likely be on your feet for long periods, so comfortable, supportive shoes are a must. Consider wearing boots or loafers that provide both style and functionality. If the event is outdoors, be prepared for varying weather conditions by selecting shoes that are durable and can handle different terrains.


Accessories can enhance your outfit while serving practical purposes. A wide-brimmed hat or cap not only adds a touch of style but also provides protection from the sun. Sunglasses are another essential accessory to shield your eyes. Carrying a lightweight, versatile bag can ensure you have all your essentials, such as sunscreen, water, and a light jacket, readily available.

Weather Considerations

Be mindful of the weather when planning your outfit. For warmer days, light, breathable fabrics are advisable. On cooler days, layering is key; consider bringing a jacket or sweater that can be easily removed if the temperature rises. Rain can also be a factor, so a waterproof jacket or coat might come in handy.

What to Wear for English Horseback Riding

When preparing for English horseback riding, it’s essential to wear appropriate attire to ensure safety, comfort, and proper etiquette. Here’s a comprehensive guide to what you should wear for English riding:


Safety comes first, and wearing a certified horseback riding helmet is a must. Choose a helmet that fits snugly and meets safety standards.

Riding Boots

English riding requires specific footwear. Opt for tall riding boots or paddock boots with half chaps. These boots provide ankle support and have a heel to prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup.

Breeches or Jodhpurs

Breeches and jodhpurs are essential for English riding. These pants are designed to fit snugly and comfortably, with reinforced areas to prevent chafing and provide grip. Breeches typically end just below the knee, whereas jodhpurs extend to the ankle.

Riding Shirt

A fitted, breathable shirt is ideal for riding. Polo shirts or long-sleeved shirts made from moisture-wicking materials are popular choices. Ensure your shirt is tucked in neatly.

Riding Gloves

Gloves protect your hands from blisters and provide a better grip on the reins. Choose gloves made from durable materials with good flexibility.

Riding Jacket

For formal riding, especially in competitions, a fitted riding jacket is required. These jackets are tailored to allow freedom of movement while maintaining a polished appearance.


Wear long socks that extend above the tops of your boots. Riding socks are designed to provide extra cushioning and support.

Body Protector

For additional safety, especially during jumping or cross-country riding, a body protector can be worn over your shirt. This piece of equipment helps protect your torso from impact.

Optional Accessories

  • Stock Tie and Pin: For competitions, a stock tie and pin can be added for a traditional look.
  • Spurs: Experienced riders may use spurs to aid in communicating with their horse, but they should be used with care.
  • Half Chaps: If you prefer paddock boots, half chaps are a good addition to provide extra support and protect your lower legs.

General Tips

  • Fit is Key: Ensure all your riding gear fits well. Ill-fitting attire can cause discomfort and distract from your riding.
  • Avoid Loose Clothing: Loose clothing can get caught on equipment, so opt for fitted attire.
  • Layering: In colder weather, layer your clothing to stay warm. A base layer, insulating layer, and outer shell can help regulate your temperature.
  • Color and Style: While traditional colors like black, navy, and white are standard for competitions, you can choose more colorful attire for casual riding as long as it remains functional and safe.

By wearing the appropriate gear for English horseback riding, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable riding experience. Always prioritize safety and comfort when selecting your riding attire.

What to Wear for Western Horseback Riding

When it comes to Western horseback riding, having the right attire is crucial for comfort, safety, and style. Here’s a detailed guide on what to wear:

Helmet or Cowboy Hat

  • Helmet: Safety is paramount, and wearing a certified horseback riding helmet is recommended, especially for beginners or those involved in high-risk activities.
  • Cowboy Hat: For a traditional Western look, a cowboy hat is a popular choice. Ensure it fits well and provides shade from the sun.

Western Riding Boots

  • Cowboy Boots: Western riding boots, commonly known as cowboy boots, are essential. They provide ankle support and have a heel to prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup.
  • Heel Type: Look for boots with a moderate heel and a smooth sole for easy removal from the stirrup.


  • Durable Jeans: Wear durable, comfortable jeans that fit well. Avoid jeans with bulky seams inside the leg, as they can cause discomfort when riding.
  • Stretch Material: Opt for jeans with a bit of stretch for added comfort and ease of movement.

Western Shirt

  • Button-Up Shirts: Traditional Western attire includes long-sleeved button-up shirts. These shirts are typically made from durable, breathable materials.
  • Snap Buttons: Shirts with snap buttons are common in Western riding and add a classic touch to the look.

Riding Gloves

  • Leather Gloves: Leather gloves provide protection and a better grip on the reins. Choose gloves that are flexible and durable.
  • Fit and Comfort: Ensure your gloves fit well to maintain dexterity and control.

Belt and Buckle

  • Leather Belt: A sturdy leather belt is not only functional but also a key component of the Western look.
  • Belt Buckle: Many riders enjoy showcasing a decorative belt buckle, which can be personalized or earned through competitions.

Chaps or Chinks

  • Full-Length Chaps: For added leg protection and a traditional Western style, full-length leather chaps are a great option.
  • Chinks: Chinks are shorter and lighter than full chaps, providing protection while allowing more airflow.

Optional Accessories


  • Rider Experience: Spurs can be used to aid communication with your horse but should be used responsibly and are generally for more experienced riders.
  • Design: Western spurs come in various designs and can be a stylish addition to your attire.

Bandana or Wild Rag

  • Functionality: Bandanas or wild rags can be worn around the neck to protect against dust, sun, and wind.
  • Style: These accessories add a classic Western flair to your outfit.

Protective Vest

  • Safety: For added safety during activities like rodeo events or trail riding, a protective vest can be worn to protect the torso.

General Tips

  • Fit and Comfort: Ensure all your riding gear fits well and is comfortable for long hours in the saddle.
  • Avoid Loose Clothing: Loose clothing can get caught on equipment, so opt for fitted attire.
  • Layering: In colder weather, layering is key. Use a base layer, insulating layer, and outer shell to stay warm.
  • Traditional Colors: While personal style is important, traditional Western colors like denim, brown, and plaid are popular choices.

By wearing the appropriate gear for Western horseback riding, you can ensure a safe, comfortable, and stylish experience. Prioritize safety and comfort when selecting your riding attire, and embrace the rich tradition of Western riding style.

What to Wear on Horseback Riding Vacations

Choosing the Right Clothing

When packing for a horseback riding vacation, it’s essential to choose the right clothing to ensure comfort and safety. Here’s what you should consider bringing:

Base Layers

  • Moisture-Wicking Tops: Pack moisture-wicking base layer tops to help keep sweat away from your skin, especially in warmer climates.
  • Thermal Layers: For cooler destinations, bring thermal layers to maintain body heat without adding bulk.

Riding Pants

  • Breeches or Jodhpurs: Opt for breeches or jodhpurs for a snug fit and comfortable ride.
  • Jeans: Durable jeans with some stretch can also be a good option, especially for Western riding.

Essential Gear

Your gear is just as important as your clothing. Make sure you have the following essentials to enhance your riding experience:


  • Certified Riding Helmet: Always bring a certified riding helmet for safety, regardless of the level of riding proficiency.


  • Riding Boots: Both English and Western style boots provide necessary support and safety. Choose based on your riding preference and ensure they are broken in to prevent discomfort.
  • Comfortable Shoes: For walking and exploring around the stables, bring a pair of comfortable shoes.

Weather-Appropriate Accessories

Depending on the climate and location of your riding vacation, certain accessories can make a significant difference:


  • Waterproof Jacket: A lightweight, waterproof jacket is crucial for unexpected rain showers.
  • Insulated Coat: For colder temperatures, bring an insulated coat to layer over your riding attire.

Sun Protection

  • Hat or Cap: When not wearing your helmet, a hat or cap can provide crucial sun protection.
  • Sunscreen: Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to exposed areas to prevent sunburn.

Riding Gloves

  • Comfort and Grip: Riding gloves enhance your grip on the reins and offer protection against blisters. Choose gloves that fit well and complement your overall gear.

Additional Tips


  • Versatility: Layering will allow you to adjust to varying weather conditions throughout the day.
  • Ease of Movement: Make sure each layer allows for easy movement and doesn’t restrict your riding.

Comfort First

  • Fit and Mobility: Ensure all your riding gear, from clothing to accessories, fits well and provides mobility. Ill-fitting gear can lead to unnecessary distractions and discomfort.
  • Durability: Pack items that are durable and can withstand the rigors of riding and outdoor activities.

Local Recommendations

  • Ask the Experts: If unsure, ask your tour operator or local guides for specific clothing and gear recommendations based on the location and season.

By carefully selecting and packing the appropriate attire and gear, you can ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable horseback riding vacation. Prioritize safety, comfort, and functionality in all your choices.

What to Wear Horseback Riding in the Summer

Choosing Lightweight and Breathable Clothing

In the heat of the summer, it’s essential to choose lightweight and breathable clothing to keep you cool and comfortable while riding.


  • Moisture-Wicking Shirts: Opt for moisture-wicking shirts that draw sweat away from your skin and dry quickly.
  • Light-colored Fabrics: Light colors reflect sunlight and can help keep you cooler than dark colors.


  • Riding Tights: Lightweight riding tights made from breathable fabrics can offer both comfort and flexibility.
  • Stretchy Jeans: If you prefer jeans, select a stretchy, lightweight pair that allows for airflow and mobility.

Essential Summer Gear

Staying comfortable in the summer heat requires gearing up with the right accessories.


  • Ventilated Helmet: Choose a riding helmet with plenty of ventilation to keep your head cool and protected.


  • Breathable Riding Boots: Look for riding boots with breathable materials to prevent your feet from overheating.

Sun Protection

Protecting yourself from the sun is crucial to avoid sunburn and heat-related issues.


  • Wide-brimmed Hat: When not wearing your helmet, a wide-brimmed hat can provide excellent sun protection for your face and neck.
  • Helmet Visor: Attach a visor to your riding helmet to shield your eyes and face from direct sunlight.


  • Water-Resistant Sunscreen: Apply a water-resistant sunscreen with high SPF to all exposed areas of your skin.


Staying hydrated is vital to maintaining energy and overall health in the summer heat.

Water Bottles

  • Reusable Water Bottle: Carry a reusable water bottle to ensure you have access to water at all times.
  • Hydration Pack: Consider a hydration pack for easy access to water without having to stop your ride.

Additional Tips for Summer Riding

Avoiding the Hottest Part of the Day

  • Early Morning or Late Evening Rides: Plan your rides for early morning or late evening to avoid the peak heat of the day and reduce the risk of heat exhaustion.

Layering for Temperature Changes

  • Light Layers: Even in summer, light layers can be useful. Mornings and evenings can be cooler, so a lightweight jacket or vest can come in handy.

Cooling Accessories

  • Cooling Towel: A cooling towel around your neck can provide additional relief from the heat.
  • Breathable Gloves: Select gloves with mesh or perforations to keep your hands cool while maintaining grip.

By choosing the right summer riding attire and essential accessories, you can enjoy horseback riding while staying comfortable, cool, and protected in the summer heat.

What to Wear Horseback Riding in the Winter

Staying Warm and Comfortable

Winter riding requires clothing that will keep you warm and comfortable without restricting your movement. Layering is key to achieving this.


  • Base Layer: Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin.
  • Insulated Mid-Layer: Add an insulated mid-layer, such as a fleece or wool sweater, for extra warmth.
  • Outer Layer: Choose a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against the elements.


  • Thermal Riding Tights: Opt for thermal riding tights that provide insulation while allowing for flexibility.
  • Insulated Breeches: Insulated breeches can offer additional warmth and are designed for riding comfort.

Essential Winter Gear

Riding in winter conditions involves specific gear to keep you safe and warm.


  • Lined Helmet Cover: Use a lined helmet cover to provide extra insulation and keep your head warm.
  • Winter Helmet: Consider a winter helmet specifically designed for cold weather with built-in insulation.


  • Insulated Riding Boots: Invest in insulated riding boots to keep your feet warm and dry.
  • Thermal Socks: Wear thermal socks made from moisture-wicking materials to prevent cold and damp feet.

Hand Protection

Keeping your hands warm is crucial to maintain control and comfort while riding in the winter.


  • Insulated Riding Gloves: Choose insulated gloves that offer warmth without sacrificing grip.
  • Hand Warmers: Use disposable or rechargeable hand warmers inside your gloves for additional warmth.

Head and Neck Protection

Protecting your head and neck from the cold is essential for overall warmth.


  • Thermal Hat or Helmet Liner: Wear a thermal hat or helmet liner that fits comfortably under your helmet.
  • Neck Warmer or Scarf: Use a neck warmer or scarf to protect your neck from the cold and wind.

Additional Tips for Winter Riding

Layering for Added Warmth

  • Adjust Layers: Adjust your layers based on the temperature and your activity level to avoid overheating or becoming too cold.

Foot Protection

  • Waterproof Gear: Ensure that all your gear is waterproof to keep you dry and warm.
  • Gaiters: Wear gaiters over your boots and breeches to keep snow and moisture out.

Hydration and Nutrition

  • Stay Hydrated: Even in winter, staying hydrated is important. Drink water regularly.
  • Energy Snacks: Bring energy snacks to keep your energy levels up during rides.

By selecting the right winter riding gear and following these tips, you can enjoy horseback riding even in the coldest months, staying warm, comfortable, and protected.

Comfort is Key: Personal Preferences and Style

While safety should be the paramount concern when choosing your equestrian attire, comfort and personal style are also important considerations. Here’s how you can ensure your riding wear is comfortable, functional, and perfectly suited to your style:

1. Choosing the Right Fabrics:

When it comes to riding clothes, the fabric can make a significant difference in your comfort level. Look for breathable, flexible materials that move with your body and don’t restrict your mobility. Moisture-wicking fabrics are especially beneficial as they draw sweat away from your body, keeping you dry and comfortable during your ride.

2. Finding Your Fit:

Just as with any sportswear, the fit of your riding clothes can have a major impact on your performance and comfort. Your clothes should be snug enough to stay in place and not interfere with your ride but not so tight that they restrict your movement or cause discomfort. Remember, every rider is unique, and what works for one person might not work for another.

3. Expressing Your Individuality:

What to Wear when Horseback Riding

Equestrian wear doesn’t have to be all about functionality; it can also reflect your personal style. Whether you prefer the classic English look, the rugged Western style, or something entirely unique, there are countless ways to express your individuality through your attire. Just remember to maintain the balance between style and safety. Adding personal touches to your riding wear can be fun, but never at the expense of practicality and protection.

Beyond the Basics: Additional Considerations When Riding on a Horseback

In addition to choosing the proper clothing and gear, equestrians must consider other important factors to ensure safety and ease of movement. Here are some additional considerations:

1. Jewelry and Accessories

While accessories can add a touch of personality to your outfit, it’s crucial to avoid anything that dangles or could get caught in your equipment. Opt for close-fitting items such as simple earrings or wristbands. If you must wear a necklace or bracelet, make sure it’s tucked securely under your clothing.

2. Hair and Grooming

Long hair can interfere with your vision and get caught in equipment, so secure it in a braid or a low ponytail. Avoid wearing scarves or loose ends that could get tangled. If you have a beard, consider braiding or tying it back for comfort and safety.

3. Sun Protection

Year-round sun exposure can lead to serious skin damage, even on overcast days. Protect your skin by applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and don’t forget a lip balm with sun protection. Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and glare. Remember, sun protection is a year-round necessity, not just a summer consideration.

What Not to Wear Horseback Riding

While choosing the right equestrian attire is important, it is equally crucial to know what to avoid wearing when horseback riding. Here are some items that are best left at home:

High Heels:

High heels may be a fashion statement, but they are thoroughly impractical and unsafe for horseback riding. They can easily get caught in the stirrups, making it difficult to maintain balance and potentially leading to accidents. Stick to proper riding boots with a low heel, which offer better grip and safety.


Wearing shorts while riding might seem like a way to stay cool, but they leave your legs exposed and unprotected. This can lead to chafing, scrapes, and increased sun exposure. Opt for long pants or breeches that provide sufficient coverage and protection.

Flip Flops:

Flip flops are a definite no-no when it comes to horseback riding. They offer no support, protection, or grip, making them extremely hazardous. Proper footwear, such as riding boots or shoes with a heel, is essential to ensure your feet are secure and protected.

Très Chic:

While it’s understandable to want to look stylish, equestrian attire should prioritize safety and practicality over fashion. Avoid overly fancy or restrictive clothing that can compromise your ability to move freely or safely. Aim for a look that combines comfort, functionality, and a touch of personal style without sacrificing safety.

Long, Flowing Clothing:

Steer clear of long, flowing clothing such as dresses, skirts, or wide-legged pants when horseback riding. These items can easily get entangled in the saddle or stirrups, posing a significant safety risk. Instead, opt for fitted riding pants or jeans that provide both safety and comfort while you ride.

Excessive Layers:

While it’s important to stay warm during chilly rides, wearing too many layers can restrict your movement and make it difficult to maintain proper form. Choose a few high-quality layers that provide ample insulation without adding bulk. This allows for greater freedom of movement and ensures you can maintain control and balance.

Dangling or Loose Accessories:

Accessories like long scarves, dangling earrings, or loose belts can become caught in your riding equipment or spook your horse. Such items can not only cause discomfort but also create dangerous situations. Always secure any loose ends and avoid wearing accessories that can dangle or flap in the wind.

Yoga Pants:

Yoga pants are popular for their comfort and flexibility, but they might not be the best choice for horseback riding. While they offer a close fit and allow for freedom of movement, they often lack the durability and protection needed for riding. For more on this, check out “Can You Wear Yoga Pants Horseback Riding” to explore the pros and cons of this clothing option.

Tennis Shoes:

Tennis shoes should be avoided when horseback riding, as they do not provide the necessary grip and protection. They can easily slip through the stirrups and lack the heel required to keep the foot secure. Proper riding boots are a much safer choice.

Fanny Pack:

Fanny packs can seem convenient, but they can interfere with your balance and get in the way of riding. It’s best to avoid wearing one altogether and opt for other storage solutions, like a saddlebag.

Hiking Boots:

Unless you’re using riding/hiking combo boots designed for both activities, it’s best to avoid wearing standard hiking boots when horseback riding. They can be too bulky for the stirrups and lack the proper heel support, making them unsafe during a ride.

Baseball or Floppy Hats:

While baseball or floppy hats can offer some sun protection, they do not provide the necessary safety features. Instead, always wear a helmet specifically designed for horseback riding to protect your head in case of a fall.

Cutoff Shirts:

Cutoff shirts that expose your arms are not suitable for riding. They offer little protection against the elements and potential scrapes. Opt for long-sleeved shirts that protect your skin and can provide additional warmth when needed.

Cargo Pants:

Cargo pants are typically bulky and can interfere with your movement while riding. The extra pockets and loose fit can cause discomfort and hinder your ability to maintain proper form. Fitted riding pants or breeches are a better choice.

Low-Rise Jeans:

Low-rise jeans may be trendy, but they are impractical for horseback riding. They can slip down easily and may not offer the coverage or comfort required for a smooth ride. High-waisted or mid-rise riding jeans provide better support and security.

Bathing Suit Bottoms Instead of Pants:

Wearing bathing suit bottoms in place of proper riding pants is highly inadvisable. They offer no protection, can cause chafing, and do not provide the necessary insulation and coverage. Always choose riding pants designed for comfort and safety while on horseback.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What if I don’t have riding clothes?

You don’t need to worry if you don’t own any riding clothes yet. Some riding schools offer rental options for essential gear. You could also borrow from friends who ride. Alternatively, consider repurposing existing clothing. For instance, a pair of comfortable, tight-fitting jeans can work as an alternative to jodhpurs or breeches. Just make sure any clothing you choose won’t interfere with your safety or mobility while riding.

2. Can I wear sneakers or yoga pants?

It’s crucial to prioritize safety when choosing your riding attire. While comfortable, sneakers may not provide the heel to keep your foot from sliding through the stirrup. Similarly, yoga pants might be too slippery and lack the durability required for riding. An appropriate alternative could be a pair of ankle boots with a small heel and sturdy, fitted pants or jeans.

3. Where to buy riding clothes?

Several online retailers specialize in equestrian clothing and equipment. Websites like SmartPak, Dover Saddlery, and Horse.com are popular choices. You can also visit physical equestrian shops if there are any in your area. Another cost-effective option is consignment shops, where you can often find gently used gear at a fraction of the original price. Always try on clothes before purchasing wherever possible to ensure a proper fit.


In conclusion, when it comes to deciding what to wear when horseback riding, the balance between safety, comfort, and personal style is both an art and a science. The right attire can make your riding experience enjoyable while also ensuring your safety. It’s essential to consider the climate and weather conditions, with appropriate gear for sunny, winter, and rainy days.

The fabric and fit of your clothes can significantly impact your comfort and performance, so choose breathable, flexible materials that move with your body. Adding a personal touch through your equestrian wear can make your riding experience even more enjoyable, but it should never compromise your safety. Also, accessories, grooming, and sun protection play crucial roles in safe, comfortable riding.

Whether you’re a novice rider or an experienced equestrian, prioritize safety alongside personal style in your riding attire. Your comfort and safety on the horseback ride are paramount, and with careful consideration, you can ensure an enjoyable and stylish ride every time.

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