Horse Riding: What to Wear

When beginning any sport you need to invest in equipment to get started, and the same goes for horse riding. This handy blog will give you a useful list of the clothing and equipment you’ll need for horse riding lessons. From horse riding helmets to riding boots, Eland Lodge is here to help you get the most out of your new hobby.

Horse Riding Boots

For safety and comfort reasons, it's important that you have a good sturdy pair or riding boots that have been designed specifically for the purpose. Here's some essential features to look out for:

  • A defined heel: this will help to stop your foot from sliding too far through the stirrup.
  • A smooth or slightly ridged sole: this will allow your foot to come out of the stirrup easily in the event of an accident, a thick sole or one with lots of traction could mean your foot gets stuck in the stirrup.
  • A reasonably sturdy toe: such as a leather toe or additional protection from a horse accidentally stepping on your foot.
  • Good leg coverage: the ideal boot or chaps will end just below your knee - this it to prevent the leathers of the saddle from pinching the riders leg.
  • Zip/Fastening placement: your zip or boot fastening should be located either to the outside or back of the boot. A zip on the inside of your leg could damage the saddle, rub the horse, and be uncomfortable on your leg.

There's two main types of riding boots to look out for, and it's down to personal preference and budget which ones you choose to start your riding career with:

Long Riding Boots

As the name suggests, long riding boots have a longer length, and finish just under your knee. They feature a smooth or slightly grippy sole, defined heel, and  a contoured upper. Long riding boots are most commonly made from leather, but can also be made from synthetic leathers or synthetic stretch materials.

At Eland Lodge, our collection of long leather riding boots has something for every rider. If you're just starting out and looking for something affordable, or if you're more experienced and looking for a smart pair of long boots for shows. It's also really important to get a good fit to avoid your boots pinching or squeezing; our range of long boots includes different styles, leg height choices, and calf fittings from extra slim to extra wide.

Short Riding Boots

Also known jodhpur boots, paddock boots, Chelsea riding boots or ankle riding boots, short riding boots finish just above your ankle bone. They feature a smooth or slightly grippy sole, defined heel, and can be in an elasticated pull on style, or zip fastening.

If you prefer the feel of a short boot, we have an excellent selection of jodhpur boots, paddock boots and ankle riding boots available, with a choice of suede, nubuck and leather half chaps and gaiters to match. The chaps allow the rider to have a short boot, that some may find more comfortable and flexible, while protecting the leg from the leather saddle.

Horse Riding Jodhpurs, Breeches and Riding Tights

The classic image of a cowboy in our minds has him clad in a cowboy hat and boots, and a pair of denim jeans, however here in the UK we're a long way away from the wild west! Denim was classically worn because it’s a very sturdy material, but in Britain with its unreliable weather it is usually not the best choice. Here's some considerations you need to make when choosing your riding trousers:

  • Flexibility: Riding is an active sport and you'll need to have a full range of movement through your knees and hips - are your trousers stretchy enough?
  • Seams: Depending on the material they are made from, having a seam on your inner leg or seat could be lumpy or bulky, and cause rubs, bruises or sores.
  • Width: Do your trousers give a slim fit, or are they baggy. If your trousers have a wide leg you may not be able to fit them inside your boot!
  • Weather: Is the material suitable for the weather? Is it cool enough or warm enough? Will it get heavy if it rains or will it dry really quickly.

In English riding the most popular choices of legwear is the traditional Jodhpurs, the sturdy Breeches, or the modern lightweight Riding Tights. All of these riding trousers have been specifically designed with horse riding in mind, so there's no uncomfy seams, they're super flexible, and can include features like phone pockets, grips seats, fleece linings, and moisture wicking technology. For competitions most riders wear light coloured jodhpurs or breeches in colours like beige, white, fawn or buff. For everyday riding there's a huge choice of colours and patterns available, from black or navy through to two tone or patterned riding tights.

Here at Eland Lodge we have a huge range of jodhpurs and breeches, from affordable options for the casual rider like Shires, Noble and Toggi, to the more high-end competition breeches of Holland Cooper, Cavalleria Toscana and Pikeur.

Horse Riding Tops & T-Shirts

Just like jodhpurs and breeches, what you wear on your top half depends on the weather and the exertion while riding. For colder weather, base layers provide the best, lightweight insulation, and technical mid layers and hoodies are also a popular choice. For warmer weather, t-shits, polos and stylish sleeveless tops are perfect, with some making use of new innovation’s in ventilation technology to keep you cool while you ride, for example AriatTEK Heat Series range.

Horse Riding Coats

Unless you have the luxury of an indoor school, for the majority of the time you spend with horses you will be at the mercy of the British weather, meaning a good quality coat is an essential! Some things you'll need to consider when choosing a horse riding coat:

  • Waterproof: If you'll be riding or looking after your horse in the rain, it's a good idea to invest in a quality waterproof jacket. Look out for features like a hood, taped seams, DWR coating, goretex lining, storm cuffs and storm flaps for extra waterproofing.
  • Windproof: In the winter months the wind can be very cold when you're up on a horse, so it's a good idea to make sure your coat will protect your from the wind.
  • Breathable: Even on a cold day you can get warm riding your horse, so it's important to look for a breathable jacket that lets the moisture out to keep you comfy.
  • Bulk: So you want the warmth, but not the bulk! Choose a jacket with a good technical insulation to give you the best freedom of motion. Some modern jackets also feature a lighter fill in the arms to allow you greater movement.
  • Length: For active riding like lessons, schooling and jumping a short coat is usually the best choice as this allows you the greatest freedom of movement. For trekking, hacking and gentle rides, a long coat can be a great choice as it keeps your legs warm and dry, and your saddle protected from the elements.
  • Pockets: Does your coat have enough pockets for those riding essentials (gloves, tissues, phone, treats for your horse), and very importantly for when you're riding, do they close securely?

Horse Riding Gloves

Riding gloves are for functionality as well as for style. They stop your hands from slipping through the rains when in wet weather, as well as protecting your hands from becoming blistered from rubbing on the leather. Many competitions require you to wear gloves as part of your turn out.

We have a huge range of gloves for all weather and disciplines, including leather riding gloves, thermal gloves, waterproof gloves, technical gloves, event gloves, grip gloves, cotton gloves and breathable summer gloves. Our gloves are available in a range of colours and sizes, so are suitable for everyday riding, dressage, show jumping, eventing and showing competitions. So whatever you want to get into, your sure to find the right gloves for you.

Horse Riding Safety Wear: Riding Helmets, Body Protectors and Air Jackets

Some things in life you should not skimp on, and horse riding safety wear is one of those things. Horse riding is a high risk extreme sport - you're riding half a ton of flight animal that can move at speeds of up to 30mph, jump well over 6 feet into the air, and quite often makes questionable life choices! It pays to buy the very best safety wear that you can afford, so that in the event of an accident you known you've got the very best protection. There's 3 main types of safety wear available to horse riders - a helmet, a body protector, and an air jacket:

Horse Riding Helmets and Hats

One of the most important pieces of equestrian equipment you will own is your riding hat. Your riding hat’s sole purpose is to protect your head in the event of an accident or fall from your horse, so it’s vitally important to make the right choices to get the best riding hat for you. There's some key considerations you'll need to think about when buying a riding hat:

  • Does the hat fit? Your hat will only protect you if it fits correctly. All hats should be fitted by a qualified hat fitter to make sure they're just right for you.
  • What safety standards does the hat offer? Different riding hats will all have different safety standards, so it's really important to check what your hat offers - look inside for the symbols. Despite appearing the part, some hats (often found online, in supermarkets or general sports stores) may not offer any equestrian safety standards at all! The different equestrian safety standards (like PAS015, VG1, ASTM, SNELL etc) all test for different specific riding accident situations, like falling from height, onto objects.
  • What type of hat is it? Unless you're going to be doing cross country or racing, the type of hat you have is down to personal preference. A jockey skull cap is top choice for people having riding lessons, everyday riders, happy hackers, up to top level competition riders. A velvet riding hat is the traditional choice and offers a smart and classic appearance. The lightweight riding helmet is growing in popularity amongst beginner riders, everyday riders, and people who compete in dressage and showjumping events.
  • Is the hat new? Buying a second-hand riding hat is not recommended, as you do not know how old the hat is, if the hat has been stored correctly, dropped or fallen on. All of these factors could compromise your safety.

You can find out lots more about Riding Hats here.

Body Protectors for Horse Riding

Body Protectors, also sometimes known as back protectors or body armour, are designed to reduce any injury to your body in the event of a fall. They are made of shock absorbing foam and can particularly help when falling from speed, onto objects like poles or jumps, and if the horse catches you with their hoof.

Air Jackets for Equestrian Sports

A relatively new invention, an equestrian air vest is worn by the rider and inflates as the rider falls from the horse. It inflates in less than one second, so by the time you reach the floor you have a nice cushion of air around you. Air jackets are great for giving you extra protection for everyday riding, and especially good for cross country riding where there is a higher risk the horse may fall onto you.

Get the fit right!

Riding Hats and Body Protectors should always be fitted by an expert, such as a BETA Approved Equestrian Retailer. Here at Eland Lodge all of our retail staff go through rigorous training and certification in fitting hats, body protectors and air jackets. We’re meticulous about your safety and will ensure that any riding safety wear purchased from us fits you individually, fulfils your needs, and is fit for purpose.

Horse Riding Accessories

There's lots of accessories you may need once you have started horse riding, here's a few of the most popular:

A Whip

Whips and crops are definitely a necessary riding aid, from the most stubborn riding school ponies to high level eventers, we all need a bit of help. We have a large range from smart dressage whips, to diamante and crystal embellished whips. A classic choice would be the Shires plain stem whip, available in a variety of colours to suit all styles.

Riding Socks

Riding socks are specially designed to give you support and padding where you need it, but be comfy and light enough to be worn under your boots.  There's loads of different designs and colours to choose from.

Grooming Kit

If you like to spend time bonding with your horse before your lessons, grooming is a great way to do this. Having your own grooming kit means that you'll have everything you need to hand, and you can choose your favourite colour brushes!