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Essential Attire for Horse Riding Lessons: Safety First!

What to Wear to Horse Riding Lessons

Taking horse riding lessons is an exciting endeavor that requires proper gear to ensure your safety and comfort. While choosing what to wear can be overwhelming, it’s important to prioritize safety and fit when selecting your horse riding clothing and equipment.

In this article, we’ll look at the essential items you’ll need to wear when attending horse riding lessons.

ASTM Certified Riding Helmet

1. The Importance of a Riding Helmet

One of the most critical pieces of equipment you’ll need when taking horse riding lessons is a riding helmet. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) sets the standards for riding helmets, so it’s essential to choose a helmet that’s certified by the organization.

Your skull’s safety is vital, and keeping it protected should be a top priority.

2. Choosing the Right Size Helmet

It’s crucial to pick a helmet that fits you correctly. Before buying a helmet, use a tape measure to determine your head’s circumference and look up a sizing chart.

This will help you select the helmet that’s the right size. To ensure a snug fit, make sure that the helmet sits low on your forehead but doesn’t obstruct your vision.

It should also cover the back of your head down to the base of your skull.

3. Don’t Buy Used Riding Helmets

Buying used riding helmets is never a good idea.

The outer shell may appear to be intact, but the inner foam material that absorbs the shock from a fall could be degraded or damaged. It’s best to buy a brand new helmet to ensure it offers the optimal level of protection.

4. Be Wary of Non-Safety Tested Helmets

While helmets designed as show helmets may look stylish, they may not pass the ASTM testing, which is a guarantee of safety protection. So make sure the helmet you’re considering has an ASTM certification before making a purchase.

Form-Fitting Shirt

When selecting a horse riding shirt, it’s best to choose one that’s form-fitting but not too tight. This will ensure that it doesn’t get caught on anything while in the saddle, ensuring the rider’s safety.

A form-fitting shirt can also wick away moisture from your skin, dispersing it for a comfortable riding experience.

1. T-shirts are Acceptable

While there may be distinct looks for horse riding shirts, the good news is that a plain, form-fitting t-shirt is acceptable attire for horseback riding. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money on specialty clothing items unless you want to.

Regular t-shirts made of moisture-wicking materials are best suited for horseback riding. The fabric should be comfortable, not too tight, not too loose, and most importantly, not too sheer.

2. Avoid Baggy Clothes

Avoid wearing baggy shirts or clothes that flail around during horse riding since they can be dangerous. Baggy clothes can catch on the horse’s tack or even wrap around your leg, causing a fall or injury.

3. Avoid Cotton Shirts

Cotton shirts, while comfortable, should be avoided when choosing horseback riding attire. They don’t possess the stretchy characteristics of form-fitting shirts like polyester and spandex.

They’re also prone to absorb sweat and water, making them heavy and uncomfortable to wear. Opt for shirts made of breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics, such as polyester and spandex blends, which will keep you comfortable and dry.

Breeches, Jodhpurs or Jeans

Wearing the right pants when horse riding is an essential factor for both your comfort and protection.

Breeches, jodhpurs, and jeans are all good options when it comes to horse riding lessons.

1. Horseback Riding in Breeches & Jodhpurs

Breeches and jodhpurs are classic horseback riding pants, suitable for riding in any style. They are designed with a stretchy fabric blend that adapts to your movements, allowing easy mounting and dismounting, and providing optimal grip in the saddle.

They also have an added benefit of featuring a suede knee patch for added grip for your legs and balance.

2. Horseback Riding in Jeans

Jeans are often worn for casual horse riding like trail riding or pleasure riding and are an acceptable alternative to breeches or jodhpurs. Just make sure they’re not too loose-fitting or too tight-fitting, as they can restrict your movement.

If you’re opting for jeans, choose ones that are a darker color and avoid wearing light-washed jeans as they can reveal dirt stains.

3. Features of Breeches & Jodhpurs

When choosing breeches or jodhpurs, it’s helpful to look for certain features that enhance your overall riding comfort and safety.

  • The waist of the breeches and jodhpurs should be high, and the pants should cling to your legs, leaving no excess pockets or layers of fabric that might get in the way or lead to irritation.
  • Check for pockets or zippers that might rub against the horse, as debris in these places could cause discomfort or chafing.
  • Also, look for pants that are reinforced and have a double-stitched seam, as these features add to the durability of your pants.
  • Lastly, make sure the material used for the knee patch is durable and long-lasting.

These features ensure the pants’ longevity.

Tough Horseback Riding Shoes

Proper horse riding footwear such as riding boots or half-chaps with paddock boots is critical for comfortable and safe horse riding.

The most popular options are tall riding boots for English-style horse riding or ankle-high, lace-up boots with an adequate size heel.

Your boots should be comfortable, long-lasting, and provide enough support for your feet and ankles when riding.

Make sure your boots have good traction on the sole, which can prevent slipping from occurring.

Avoid wearing sneakers or any open-toe footwear during horseback riding, as they’re neither safe nor comfortable.

1. Tall Riding Boots

Tall riding boots are the most popular choice for horseback riding, especially for English-style riding. These boots are designed to come up high on your leg to provide stability and support during horse riding lessons.

They’re usually made of leather or synthetic materials and should have a firm, comfortable sole. These boots provide enhanced support and protection to your leg and can be purchased in both zip and lace designs.

Tall riding boots also add style to your riding attire and give a polished appearance both inside and outside of the riding arena.

2. Short Riding Boots

Short riding boots come in two kinds – Jodhpur boots and paddock boots. Jodhpur boots end just above the ankle, while paddock boots come with laces and sometimes include a zip in front of the shoe.

Both short riding boots provide versatility in your riding attire. Jodhpur boots have a classic appearance and are often used for dressage riding.

Although they are shorter, they still provide enough support to the ankle and foot. It’s best to wear Jodhpur boots with half-chaps to provide grip and stability when riding.

Paddock boots are a popular choice for those who often ride and prefer a boot that is easy to take off or put on. Paddock boots also come in an alternative design, with a zip instead of laces, making it easier to put on while also offering optimal ankle support.

Additional Things to Bring to Horse Riding Lessons

There are a few items that you may want to bring with you when you attend horse riding lessons.

1. Camera

Horse riding is a fun, memorable, and sometimes challenging experience that you may want to remember for years to come. Bring a camera to capture those moments and document your progress.

Take pictures of your horse or take a photo while in the saddle, or even document any progress during your lesson. It’s a great way to solidify your memories of the experience.

2. Water

Horse riding can be a dehydrating experience, particularly in hot weather. Consider bringing a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated during your lesson.

Dehydration can affect your ability to focus during a lesson, and drinking water can prevent this distraction from happening.

3. Completed Waiver

Before you start your first horse riding lesson, it’s common practice to sign a waiver. Most stables or equestrian centers will require you to complete a consent form before you’re allowed to ride.

The waiver of liability protects the stables from any legal action in case of an accident or injury that may occur. Make sure you have the required consent form signed, dated, and ready when you arrive for your first lesson.


Q: What kind of shoes should I wear for horse riding?

A: It’s important to wear tough horse riding shoes such as tall riding boots or short riding boots, such as jodhpurs or paddock boots.

Q: Can I wear cotton shirts for horse riding?

A: It’s best to avoid cotton shirts for horseback riding since they absorb sweat and water, making them heavy and uncomfortable to wear.

Opt for shirts made of breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics such as polyester and spandex blends, which will keep you dry and comfortable.

Q: Do I need to bring anything to horse riding lessons?

A: Bringing a bottle of water, a camera, and a signed waiver are essential items to consider before attending horse riding lessons.

Q: What are the features of breeches and jodhpurs?

A: Breeches and jodhpurs should fit snugly and not be too loose, have pockets or zippers that don’t rub against the horse, and feature reinforced double-stitched seams for durability.

Q: Is it necessary to wear a certified helmet while horse riding?

A: Yes, it’s always necessary to wear an ASTM certified helmet when riding horses to ensure your safety in case of a fall or injury.

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