What to Wear Horse Riding

Today I want to talk to you about safe riding attire. Call it the “what you should wear horseback riding” dress code, if you will.

Choosing what to wear horseback riding can be difficult, especially for new riders. The most important thing is to make sure you’re buying and wearing safe riding attire. It could literally save your life!

So below I’ve compiled a quick horse riding dress code, to help you put together a safe and comfortable riding outfit. Let me know in the comments if you have any more questions, or recommendations for other readers!

Table of Contents

    What to Wear Horseback Riding: Safety First!

    Horse riding is a rewarding sport, but that doesn’t mean that you might sometimes be a little uncomfortable, or get a bit hurt. It’s pretty common to fall while horse riding. Even on a normal day, your legs will get rubbed by the horse’s skin or saddle. And you need proper boots to avoid sticking and slipping from the stirrup.

    These are only some of the considerations to keep in mind when you’re riding – here is my full list!


    When you’re horse riding, you’re at the whims of a huge animal. A beautiful and hopefully friendly huge animal, but a huge animal all the same. That’s why the first thing you’ll need to get is a horse riding helmet.

    IRH 4G Helmet

    Your local tack store should sell helmets. You can also ask your trainer (if you’re taking lessons) for tips on what to look out for when buying one. If you’re buying online, here’s a review of three of my favourite helmets.

    I generally don’t recommend wearing other helmets (particularly cycling helmets) for horse riding. The way you fall from a bike and from a horse is completely different, and a proper horse riding helmet will take account of that.

    The fit of your helmet is really important for remaining safe, so I recommend either buying in store, or getting one online that is adjustable. It should not be too tight or loose and must fit your head properly. I would also recommend looking for one with cushioning and air vents – if safety goes first then comfort should definitely be second!


    Another important feature of safe riding attire is a good pair of riding boots. Your boots prevent your feet from slipping forward through the stirrup – which is very dangerous. They do this with a little heel, which butts up against the stirrup. This heel will also help with support and stability.

    There area huge number of different types of boots are available in the market. Broadly, they fall into two categories: paddock boots and tall boots. Paddock boots are short boots that go up to the ankle but tall boots can go as high as your lower thigh. If you’re interested, I have a really comprehensive guide to riding boots, including English and Western styles!

    The material of the boots will determine how much they cost, but also how comfortable they are. Rubber boots are less expensive than leather boots but if you can afford leather boots, these boots are worth the price you pay – they’ll be much more breathable, and mold to the shape of your foot. My favorites are the Ariat English riding boots.

    Otherwise, here are some of my top footwear tips:

    • Avoid boots with chains, zips, any extra decorative stuff that could get stuck in the stirrup.
    • Don’t wear open toed shoes or even shoes with a thin upper around horses, even when you’re not riding. You never know when a stray hoof will end up on top of your foot, and it can be really painful!


    What to Wear Horseback Riding

    Jodhpur pants and breeches are what you would typically wear horseback riding. These pants are designed to provide you enough flexibility and support. They allow you to move freely, they fit your body and are strong enough to help you avoid rubbing and chafing.

    If you are just starting with horseback riding and haven’t get jodphurs or breeches, I would recommend wearing thick, tight pants. You will be needing tight pants because of the rubbing involved in horseback riding. Loose pants can also get stuck to your saddle or caught in your stirrups – not what you want!

    But, keep in mind that you should wear pants that are comfortable enough so that you can move your legs freely to mount and ride. I would go for something like jeggings with tall boots.


    Like with any outdoor activity, your should choose your shirt according to the weather conditions. Try to pick something that isn’t too tight (you will be breathing pretty heavily, trust me!) and not so loose that it hangs off you – in particular, it shouldn’t be longer than hip length. Your shirt should be comfortable and fit your body properly.

    If you wear jacket or coat, be aware that you may need to layer on and off pretty frequently. I would recommend one doesn’t have a lot of buttons or an open zip. The best choice will be the one that has covered zip or buttons, and keeps them from getting caught on anything.

    Generally I would say don’t wear dresses if you’re new to riding. I know we see people riding in cute summer dresses in movies, but it’s just not worth it!


    Gloves are helpful for you for better grip on reins. I would say that gloves are optional, but if you are a beginner then you should consider wearing them to protect your hands, until you’ve developed some callous. However, unfortunately normal gloves will not be helpful because they will make your hands more slippery and it will be harder to grip the reins.

    Specialty riding gloves are a better option for better grip. Check out our review of some of the best value gloves that you can get online.

    Body protectors

    What to Wear Horseback Riding

    Body protectors are mostly worn by riders who are involved in horse jumping activities. But, iff you are a beginner, I recommend you wear body protectors as well.

    When you wear one for the first time, you might feel that they’re a little bit bulky on your knees and elbows. But these can be really helpful to protect you from getting hurt when you fall off a horse.

    I know I’ve mentioned falling a lot in this post, but please don’t let that deter you. Falling is a normal thing for riders! So, instead of being scared, just plan and be sade, and you’ll be totally fine.

    What to Wear Horseback Riding: Conclusion

    It is important to take care of yourself when you go out riding. Riding a horse is not as simple as it sounds. There are many people who get themselves injured just because they don’t take proper safety measures before going.

    Safe riding attire is one of the most important factors that help you stay safe while riding. Whatever you can do to make sure you’re kitted out appropriately will be worth it. And if cost is a concern, you can always buy used horse riding apparel. I have a great guide on where to find it that you can use!

    Now that you’re all set in safe riding attire, find the right tack for before you ride.

    Please comment below if you have any questions or comments! What do you wear horseback riding? Did I miss anything?

    Happy riding 🙂

    Like this post? Why not pin it!

    7 thoughts on “What to Wear Horse Riding”

    1. I always dreamt of being an equestrienne and now I am ready for my first ride ever! I’m so jubilant that I came across this article that provides the proper dress code for my safety as I want to ride for as long as I can. Giddyap!

    2. Thanks for sharing your article about the proper dress code for rider’s attire. I agree with what you said about the importance of safety when dealing with riding huge animals which is why it is necessary to have a horse riding helmet. My husband and I are planning to go on a vacation once our 1 month leave at work starts. We’re interested in horseback riding which we haven’t tried even before. I’ll make sure to shop the things I don’t have yet for horse riding like the helmet.

    3. You got my attention when you said that it is important to consider choosing a helmet that is fit and adjustable to ensure its safety. My sister and I have been considering horseback riding. Finally, we have divided to try it next month. I need to make sure that I would have everything that I need for a safe and enjoyable trip, so I will consider purchasing a horse lifestyle subscription box. Thanks!

    4. It was nice that you recommended the use of leather boots for horse riding since they are more breathable and can mold to the shape of your foot. This is what I supposed must be remembered by women who love riding horses. I could imagine how the right gears and outfits could ensure that they are comfortable during their horse racing games and ensure their safety at the same time. Maybe, it is best for me to find interesting stories on the pro rodeo news sites.


    Leave a Comment

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.