How to Choose Safe Riding Clothes

Four Methods:HelmetTorsoPantsBoots

Horses can be dangerous animals under certain circumstances. So, if you're going to be riding a horse try using the following steps to ensure you stay safe.

Method 1

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    Ensure your helmet fits correctly. Try to get your hat fitted by a professional the first time you buy one in order to get the best fit.
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    Use a helmet with a strap where possible. The vast majority of show classes permit any rider to wear safety headwear in any class, as long as that helmet is conservative and otherwise complies with discipline rules regarding rider attire. This allowance includes disciplines such as saddle seat and dressage, where a helmet may not be considered traditional.
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    Look for the safety standard. A riding hat that has been tested to national safety standards will have a mark on the inside, so remember to look for this whilst you are buying. Know the standard used by your country, and ensure that your helmet has been certified to that safety standard.
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    Make sure the helmet fits. To check it if fits, try the helmet on and adjust it to fit. This may include a knob at the rear of the helmet, laces, straps, buckles, etc. Turn your head rapidly to the right and left, and nod your head quickly. Ensure that the fit is snug, but not too tight. Make sure that you are able to breathe comfortably and that your helmet straps do not put uncomfortable amounts of pressure on your throat. If the helmet wobbles all around after the straps have been adjusted, it is too big on you. If you can grasp the sides of the helmet and wobble it in any direction once the straps have been adjusted, the helmet is too large.

Method 2

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    Choose something comfortable. A shirt that's too constricting or too loose will make riding difficult and unsafe. Choose something you feel comfortable in. Do not choose clothing that hangs from the body; it may catch or snag on objects, leading to an extremely dangerous situation.
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    Wear a body protector where possible. Although they are very bulky, they do make riding safer. This is particularly true if you're hacking out, as falling on objects on the ground poses a greater risk than usual. Note that body protectors may be mandatory for some disciplines, most notably those involving jumping.
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    Wear coats and jackets with a covered zip all the way down. A complete zip means you will not have to pull the jacket over your head, but all zips should be covered to prevent them from catching as you ride.

Method 3

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    Wear jeans with few attachments on them. Don't wear jeans with lots of zippers or attachments (such as chains, lots of buttons, etc.), as these can get caught on tack and cause accidents.
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    Ensure your jeans/jodhpurs/breeches fit correctly. Jeans should be slightly looser, in order to allow you to move freely when you ride. Jodhpurs and breeches are generally designed to stretch, or otherwise cut to allow for free movement. These should fit more closely, for both looks and comfort.

Method 4

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    Choose well-fitting boots. Ensure that your riding boots fit properly. They should be snug, with a small amount of toe space for comfort. They should support your ankle without interfering with your ability to flex at the ankle and drop your heels.
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    Wear suitable footwear. The heel on the typical riding boot is designed to prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup; if the heel becomes worn down, it is time to replace the boots. While not recommended, it is possible to wear any boots with a small heel as long as they are comfortable. Take care to ensure that they will not slip through or catch on a stirrup in the event of a fall.


  • Contact your trainer or instructor if you need help with choosing safe riding clothes or if you are unsure if a garment is suitable for a show or lesson.
  • The consignment rack at your local tack shop is a good place to get good quality, gently used riding apparel. Get your helmet new, though.
  • If you want to wear gloves whilst riding don't wear ordinary gloves as they will cause you to lose friction with the reins completely. Instead, use leather ones made for the purpose or even better, a kind with 'pimples' on the palm for added grip.
  • Don't wear skinny jeans because you can't move as well in them as regular jeans.


    1. Horse riding gear can become expensive if you buy correctly but try not to be tempted to cut corners as this can become dangerous.

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Categories: Riding