What To Wear While Horseback Riding - A Beginner’s Guide

Taking the reins for the first time? You might be nervous. But once you start trotting along the trails with your equine buddy, you'll love the rhythmic trot of hooves and the wind whispering through your hair. It's just another constellation waiting to be discovered.

As you enter the world of horseback riding, it's essential to equip yourself with the right gear for a safe and stylish experience in the saddle. This beginner's guide will help you don the perfect riding attire that will make even the most dashing stallions neigh in admiration!

From swanky jodhpurs that hug your legs like a second skin to helmets that crown you with equestrian elegance, this list will keep you both stylish and protected.

So, dust off those cowboy hats, tighten those reins, and let's gallop into a thrilling adventure.

What To Wear During Horseback Riding

1. Riding Tights

When it comes to riding attire for your lower half, you want to aim for comfort, flexibility, and a dash of equestrian style. Whether you're trotting in the arena, galloping through the countryside, or even embarking on a thrilling jumping session, choosing the right pants is key. 


You can wear these snug-fitting riding tights as your trusty steed companions. All these options are designed to withstand the rigors of riding. 


  • Tight-fitting denim with a bit of stretch to ensure freedom of movement while in the saddle
  • Yoga pants/leggings as these stretchy wonders provide the flexibility you need for those graceful equestrian maneuvers. Choose ones made of durable, moisture-wicking fabric to keep you cool and comfortable during long rides.
  • Riding tights specifically designed with features like reinforced knee patches or full seat grip, to offer both functionality and a touch of equestrian chic.
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2. Breeches and Jodhpurs

Breeches and jodhpurs snug your legs like a second skin—flexible, breathable, and ready to take on any riding challenge. These are not just your average pants, rather they are tailored specifically for professional horseback riding to deliver comfort and flexibility. You will be able to move with ease in the saddle. The materials used are carefully chosen to ensure optimal breathability, keeping you cool and comfortable even during intense rides or hot weather.


Breeches and jodhpurs also offer additional features like reinforced knee patches or full seat grip, providing you with extra security and stability in the saddle and withstand the demands of equestrian activities, whether it's dressage, jumping, or trail riding.


However, there are some minor differences between breeches and jodhpurs that are good to be aware of. You can find these in our article Jodhpurs vs breeches.

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You can shop from our collection of riding breeches here.

3. Shirts

When it comes to choosing a shirt for horseback riding, comfort and practicality are key. You want to ensure that your shirt is fairly fitted to avoid any potential entanglements or snags in your tack. 


A nicely fitted polo shirt or tee-shirt is a fantastic choice. These classic and versatile garments provide a sleek and polished look while allowing for ease of movement. Opt for breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics to stay  cool and dry during your rides.


Pro Tip: Avoid wearing tank tops as they may not provide adequate arm coverage or protection in case of a fall. As an equestrian, safety should always be a top priority, and that includes minimizing the risk of scrapes and bruises.

4. Riding Helmets

Before mounting a horse, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety by wearing a properly fitted safety hat or helmet that meets the safety standards. Riding without adequate head protection is a risk that shouldn’t be taken lightly. 


As a beginner, it’s not necessary to choose the specific style of riding hat; proper fit and protection should be your priority. Both jockey skulls and peaked helmets are good options. Considering different styles that are better suited to certain head shapes you should go for adjustable riding hats. They are particularly beneficial as they can provide a longer-lasting fit.

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You can explore our collection of riding helmets here.

5. Footwear

Imagine a horse accidentally stepping on your toe - felt the pain? Not only is it a painful experience, but it can also lead to serious injury if you're not wearing suitable boots. That's why choosing the right footwear is crucial for your safety and comfort in the saddle.


When it comes to selecting your horse riding boots, strike the perfect balance between comfort, safety, and your personal style because happy feet mean a happier ride.


You can either choose long boots and short boots. Long boots offer the advantage of preventing rubbing on the inside of your leg. However, they can be quite restrictive, especially for new riders, and they tend to be more expensive.


On the other hoof, ankle-length boots or paddock boots provide greater flexibility at the ankle, allowing for a more natural range of motion. These boots are commonly paired with soft half chaps or gaiters, which offer additional protection against rubbing on the inside of the calf. 


These handy accessories slip on over your boots and zip up the side, providing protection and support just below your knee. Not only do they safeguard your legs from rubbing against the horse, but they also help preserve the integrity of your pants, preventing wear and tear.


Whether you prefer the classic elegance of black or the timeless appeal of brown, the color is entirely up to you.


Pro tip: Always look for boots that have a small heel, as it helps prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. Additionally, it's important to avoid boots with excessive grip, as they can get stuck in the stirrup, posing a potential hazard in case of a fall.

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6. Jacket or Vest

When the weather turns cold, it's important to layer up for your ride. Consider bringing along a vest, jacket, or both to keep yourself warm and flexible to confidently tackle the trails. 


Pro tip: Pair them with riding tights or breeches that make your personality scream "look at me, I'm fabulous!”

7. Riding Gloves

Experienced riders know the toll that holding the reins can take on their hands and result in calluses between the little and ring finger. To prevent blisters and maintain clean, soft, and warm hands, we highly recommend wearing a pair of riding gloves that are specially crafted for riders. They should be stretchy enough to comfortably fit on your hands and offer excellent grip and reinforcement in the areas where you hold the reins.

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8. Body Protector

A body protector will keep you safe from the impact in case of a fall or kick from a horse. Find the right body protector that provides a comfortable fit without restricting your movements. It should contour your body shape and have adjustable straps for a secure fit.

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9. Boot Socks

When it comes to choosing socks for horseback riding, opt for nice tall socks that provide a comfortable fit without slipping or cutting off circulation.

10. Non-Chafing Underwear

Don't overlook the importance of choosing the right underwear for your ride. Chafing, pant lines, and discomfort can put a damper on your equestrian adventures. For ladies, Under Armour compression shorts are a top choice. They offer a perfect fit, lightweight feel, moisture-wicking properties, exceptional stretchiness, and no panty lines to worry about.


Gents, fear not! Under Armour has you covered as well with their men's compression shorts, ideal for those trail rides. These shorts are lightweight, moisture-wicking, incredibly stretchy, and equipped with a performance waistband to keep you comfortable and confident throughout your ride.

What not to wear when horseback riding

While we usually focus on what to wear when horseback riding, it's equally important to know what to avoid. 

Here's a list of things you should never wear while riding:

  • Big or pointed heels
  • Footwear with chains
  • Sneakers and flip flops
  • Open-toed shoes
  • Barefeet
  • Shorts, Skirts, and Dresses
  • Fashion jewelry such as bangles

Your Takeaway

Wearing the appropriate attire when horseback riding as a beginner is essential for your safety, comfort, and overall enjoyment. By selecting the right clothing and gear you can enjoy a secure and stylish riding experience. However, it is equally important to seek advice from your instructor when you are riding for the first time.

So gear up and get ready to create a profound connection with these magnificent creatures. 

Happy Galloping!