What To Wear Horseback Riding Dos Donts


When riding horses, safety should always be a priority. The right attire can help protect you from potential injuries. There are certain do’s and don’ts when it comes to selecting clothing and equipment for horseback riding. From helmets to boots and beyond, the right apparel can make all the difference. Let’s explore the safety concerns and proper attire for horseback riding.

Wear a riding helmet

When you are in the saddle, it is especially important to protect your head. The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that both adult riders and youths wear a protective helmet when horseback riding. In fact, in some states, it is a legal requirement for minors to wear a riding helmet when mounted on a horse.

Choose one that meets safety standards and fits comfortably. Most standard helmets are designed for an adult rider but come in various sizes and materials to suit your individual needs and preferences. Look for one that sits level on your head – not too far back or forward – with the brim an inch or two above your eyebrows. Additionally, secure the harness strap so that you can’t slip more than two fingers between the strap and your chin; adjust the straps if needed. Before each use, be sure to inspect for any tears or cracks; replace if necessary.

Wear appropriate footwear

When it comes to horseback riding footwear, there are some specific dos and don’ts to consider. Your feet will be in contact with the stirrups for a long time, making the right shoes important. You should invest in a pair of boots that are made specifically for horseback riding. These types of boots provide additional ankle support which can help prevent falls and reduce the risk of injury.

Do not wear any type of runners or open-back shoes such as sandals; these could easily get caught in anything part of your equipment. Avoid cowboy boots unless they have a low heel and have been designed specifically for horseback riding as well; a smooth sole is safest because it has more grip on the stirrup than booties made from leather.

Proper attire also includes wearing long pants to provide protection from potential scrapes or burns from saddle rash and insects, as well as cushioning due to uncomfortable ones. This can also double as a protective layer against abrasion from rubbing against an unfamiliar saddle hours at once when learning new techniques and gaining confidence in the seat – something you can not learn overnight! It is recommended that you wear gloves while handling the reins, but remember: they must fit correctly or else they may slip off during vigorous activity.

Wear protective eyewear

Protecting your eyes is essential for safe horseback riding. You should always wear protective eyewear when mounting and riding a horse, no matter how experienced you are. While eye protection isn’t a requirement in all areas, it’s always a good idea and could help prevent serious injury if something unexpected happens while you’re mounted on the horse.

It’s important to choose appropriate eyewear that’s suitable for riding and meets safety standards, such as goggles or riding-style sunglasses with wrap-around frames. For example, ski goggles or safety goggles made of polycarbonate lenses provide superior protection against flying debris such as twigs, dirt and small rocks; polarized lenses are also helpful in reducing glare from sunshine on trails. Regardless of which style you choose, the fit of your eyewear should ensure full coverage around the eye sockets without pressing too tightly against your face – so look for adjustable straps or stretch-fit styles that provide comfort as well as security.


When it comes to clothing for horseback riding, there are a few important things to consider. Appropriate clothing is essential for the rider to feel safe and comfortable in the saddle. Comfort is also important for the horse, who needs to be able to move freely and without any bothersome clothing.

Let’s talk about what to wear and what not to wear when horseback riding:

Wear fitted clothing

For safety, comfort and freedom of movement, it is important to wear clothing that will fit snugly against your body. Horseback riding is a physical activity and requires that your clothing not be too loose to avoid getting caught in the saddle or horse’s equipment. The best clothing options would be those that you wouldn’t need to continually tuck in or adjust while riding.

Choose lightweight fabrics like cotton, polyester or spandex blends for breathability and increased mobility. Form-fitting layers without drawstrings can easily be removed as needed for climate changes during the ride. Opt for fuller-length trousers with a tighter fit at the ankles – this helps keep your ankles from catching underneath the stirrups. Avoid wearing skirts as it leaves some areas of your body exposed to scrapes and bruises which can happen when horseback riding if you are not careful and attentive.

Top it all off with a hat – straw cowboy hats are great for outdoor protection from sunburns or sharp twigs during trail rides; however, helmets should always be worn when taking jumps or partaking in more extreme activities on horseback.

Choose breathable fabrics

When choosing clothing for horseback riding, it is essential to select items made from breathable fabrics. Cotton is a great choice for shirts and pants as it will help you stay cool and comfortable during your ride. Avoid wearing textiles such as denim, flannel and wool as they can collect sweat and trap heat in the summer months. Choose loose-fitting garments so that you stay cool while riding, especially if the weather is hot and humid. However, make sure that your clothing isn’t too baggy or it might cause you to bump against the saddle or get snagged on tree branches.

Layering can also be beneficial when riding outdoors as temperatures can vary drastically throughout the day. Wear lightweight base layers such as tank tops or t-shirts under your shirt and pants to trap body heat while keeping you warm. For more protection from windy weather or in cooler climates, consider adding a long sleeve top over these base layers for increased insulation when necessary.

Wear layers

When riding, one should be comfortable and well-prepared for all potential weather conditions. Layers are your best choice for both indoor and outdoor riding. Layering ensures that you can add or remove clothing to respond to changes in temperature, wind and precipitation.

When selecting your layers, choose lightweight materials that provide warmth without being bulky; wool and synthetic fabrics are ideal. Avoid items made from cotton as it doesn’t retain heat when wet like wool does. You should also consider breathable fabrics with moisture-wicking properties to prevent sweat build up resulting in discomfort for you or your horse. When wearing multiple layers, always make sure that the outer-most layer is waterproof or water-resistant to protect against light rain or evaporating sweat.

The layers you choose should depend on the season and conditions but a good starting point includes:

  • Base Layer: Depending on the severity of the weather conditions (e.g., winter vs summer), this layer can vary significantly in thickness and material type; think snug thermal underwear made of synthetic materials such as polyester, polypropylene or silk which all wick away moisture effectively while providing much needed insulation.
  • Mid Layer: A mid layer is essential during milder temperatures as a way of adding bulk without constricting movements; this could be something as simple as a long sleeve turtleneck or form fitting fleece jacket.
  • Outer Layer: An ideal outer layer needs to protect from wind, rain, sun exposure etc., while maintaining comfort; opt for lightweight materials such as waxed cotton jackets which allow you enough flexibility in movement without having to compromise on warmth and protection from changing weather patterns or seasonal winds.


Accessories may not be the most important part of what to wear for horseback riding, but they can certainly help you stay safe and comfortable. A good pair of riding gloves, riding helmet, and even horse riding boots can all make your riding experience more enjoyable.

In this article, we’ll discuss the different Do’s and Don’ts regarding accessories for horseback riding:

Wear gloves

Wearing gloves is a must for safely and securely controlling reins. While there are several styles of gloves to choose from, leather gloves offer the best grip and are most preferred. It is important that the gloves fit well. They should fit snugly around the fingers, palms, and wrists while still being comfortable enough not to restrict movement. As with any riding apparel, it is important to buy gloves that are specifically designed for equestrian activities and that have reinforced palms.

When buying gloves it’s a good idea to try on both right-handed and left-handed varieties since you’ll use your right hand when leading your horse and still need protection for your left hand when learning how to control the reins correctly on either side of your mount’s neck. If they do not fit comfortably it’s not a problem because experienced riders usually switch between hands while riding.

Bottom line – Invest in quality pair of leather equestrian riding gloves so you can maintain proper control at all times!

Use a belt or girth

The belt (or girth) of your saddle is the single most important accessory when it comes to horseback riding. A good quality leather belt will not only help keep your saddle in proper alignment with your horse’s body, but also prevent slipping and provide extra security. The ideal belt should fit snugly around your horse’s midsection so that the saddle won’t move around while you ride. It should also be strong enough to resist the pressure caused by unplanned movement or bucking.

You can buy belts made of various materials, such as

  • leather
  • synthetic material
  • a combination of both

but make sure that whichever material you choose is able to withstand long-term wear and tear without causing harm to your horse.

Wear a riding crop

A riding crop is an important accessory when horseback riding. Riding crops can be used to encourage a horse to keep moving when it is struggling with motivation, or to help direct the animal where it needs to go.

Make sure that the crop you use has a comfortable handle and is relatively short so that you don’t accidentally injure the horse when using it. Also, choose a material that is soft and flexible so that it can provide gentle reminders but won’t cause pain or discomfort should you accidentally make contact with your mount’s side. Riding crops should not be used as punishment but rather as guidance for better respect from your horse.

Do’s and Don’ts

Horseback riding is a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but it’s also important to be aware of the clothing you wear when riding. The right clothing will help you stay comfortable, safe and minimize any potential risks that could be encountered.

Let’s look at the do’s and don’ts when it comes to clothing for horseback riding:

Do wear a jacket

When horseback riding, it is important to wear a jacket for safety. Jackets should be breathable and cooler in summer months or warmer in chilly temperatures. Generally, cotton is not ideal for jackets as the fabric does not provide protection from the elements or from rubbing against the horse.

A good jacket for horseback riding should fit snugly and allow a full range of motion but still keep you warm so you can stay comfortable in whatever weather conditions you may encounter. Look for features such as breathable waterproof-coating, elastic cuffs, adjustable straps on shoulders and/or waists and reflective safety strips.

It is recommended to also wear some type of neck-guard when wearing a jacket while horseback riding to provide extra protection in case of an unexpected accident or if your motion becomes more than expected. This will help protect injured areas like your neck if necessary.

Don’t wear loose clothing

When horseback riding, it is important to remember that loose clothing can create a hazardous situation. Sleeves and pant legs that are too long can snag on the saddle or get caught in the stirrups, creating a dangerous situation for both horse and rider. Always make sure that your clothing fits snugly, but not tightly; snug-fitting pants, shirt and jacket give added protection in case of a fall. If you’re planning to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, light-colored shirts and tight-fitting long sleeves are best because they will keep you cooler while providing adequate protection from the sun’s rays.

It is also important to wear boots that fit properly. Boots should be well-fitted with a low heel – typically no more than one inch – so as not to cause discomfort for the horse or allow your feet to slip out of the stirrups during a ride. In addition, make sure that any jewelry or accessories you wear are secure so as not to become tangled on items around the stable or on bridles and reins while riding.

Do wear a hat

When it comes to head and neck protection while horseback riding, wearing a hat is essential. For those who like the traditional look, a riding helmet or Western hat works well. For those who prefer more of a modern look, polo helmets are also becoming more popular.

Hats should provide head and neck coverage, be lightweight and comfortable and have ventilation in order to keep you cool. When choosing a hat for horseback riding, make sure it fits snugly so that it won’t fly off when you hit a rough patch on the trail. Lastly, look for hats with straps so that they will stay in place even when you get jostled around in the saddle.

Don’t wear jewelry

One of the essential pieces of safety gear to wear while horseback riding is a properly-fitted helmet, and it’s important that your helmet fits snugly to ensure your head is protected in the event of a fall.

In addition to a helmet, there are several do’s and don’ts related to what you should wear while riding. Jewelry is one item you should definitely avoid. It can get caught on saddles or bridles, or snag on clothing or other equipment or even the horse itself. As such, if you must wear jewelry when you ride, choose items made from leather or opt for pieces that feature breakaway components so if something does get caught, it won’t put unnecessary stress on the horse as you try to free it. Avoid wearing anything loose or dangling such as long necklaces.

In addition to avoiding jewelry altogether when possible, take some basic safety precautions with regards to clothing:

Frequently Asked Questions

, and Safety

Q: What type of clothing should I wear when horseback riding?

A: When horseback riding, make sure to wear clothing that is comfortable and won’t restrict your movement. Pants are ideal, as they protect your legs from chaffing. Shirt-wise, long-sleeved shirts are best, as they protect you from the sun and also protect you from any branches or other obstacles you may encounter. Additionally, don’t forget to wear a sturdy, comfortable pair of boots when horseback riding.

Q: What safety gear should I wear when horseback riding?

A: It’s important to wear the proper safety gear when horseback riding, as it can help protect you from injury in the event of a fall. Make sure you have a good quality riding helmet that is properly fitted. Additionally, wear gloves and a riding vest for extra protection. Shoes should be closed-toe and have a low heel.

Q: Are there any clothing items I should avoid wearing when horseback riding?

A: Yes, there are some clothing items that are not suitable for horseback riding. Avoid wearing loose clothing, as it can get caught in the saddle or the horse’s reins. Additionally, avoid wearing any jewelry and scarves, as these can also be a hazard. Lastly, avoid wearing sandals or flip flops, as they provide no protection and can also be dangerous.