How to Dress for Horse Riding

In the saddle, you want to be safe and comfortable, and dressing correctly is the key to this. You need to wear a helmet or hat, jodhpurs (tightly fitting trousers which look a bit like leggings), long or short boots, and a T-shirt for warm weather or a hoodie for cold weather. Also, dressing correctly gives a good impression and sets a good example to other riders. You may also want to wear gloves, as these protect your hands.


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    If it is your first ever lesson, don't worry about buying jodhpurs and a hat. Dress in sensible shoes (not trainers), and comfortable trousers (leggings or tight fitting jogging bottoms are best.) Don't worry about a hat, most riding schools will let you borrow one for your first lesson, but you will need to buy your own.
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    If you need a hat, go to a reputable saddlers or tack shop. Hats come in different shoes and sizes, so you will need to ask a person to fit one for you. The person will measure across your head, and then find a hat to fit your head type. Don't be tricked into buying a cheaper one, as these will have less safety kite marks and standards than expensive ones. Make sure you wear your hat at all times when on a horse, as they will keep your head safe!
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    Get the right boots for your type of riding. The next most important thing are boots. These are easy to fit as they are your shoe size. You can buy long boots (which tend to be more expensive) or short boots and half chaps. Half chaps will protect your leg from pinching from the stirrup leather. You can buy boots which are steel toe capped, which protect your toes from your horse's feet!
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    Buy some jodhpurs. These come in a variety of colours, but cream is traditional. These will either come in dress sizes (e.g: 6, 8) or sizes in inches. To find out your jodhpur size, you need to measure you waist with a tape measure. You can also buy breeches, which are best for long boots, as they don't create a bulge inside your boots.
  5. Image titled Dress for Horse Riding Step 5
    If you want, you can also buy a body protector or a safety vest.These are good for jumping, cross country and riding unpredictable horses. Most saddlers will have them, and will fit them for you. However, body protectors do cost a lot, so you don't really need one until you start jumping.
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    The next thing to buy is gloves! Special riding gloves will protect your hands from chafing and being pulled through the reins or a lead rope. You can get cotton ones or leather ones, and they vary in price. They all have reinforced pads where the reins sit in between your fingers. They usually come in x-small, small, medium, large and x-large.


  • Riders with medium or long hair should always wear a hairnet, or tie their hair up in a ponytail or bun, to keep it off their collar and out of their eyes.
  • If you buy a body protector keep it indoors, as body protectors respond to heat, and can become brittle in stiff in cold weather.
  • Always try on jodhpurs and gloves to make sure they fit correctly.
  • Buy a hat bag for your helmet, especially if it's velvet, to protect it from knocks.


  • Never wear floppy clothing (keep coats and hoodies done up), as this could make horses spook.
  • If you fall onto your head or drop your hat on a hard surface, it will need changing. This is because the foam will have contracted, so there won't be as much protection as before.
  • ALWAYS safely do up your helmet, so it's not too tight, but not loose. If your hat was loose and you were too fall off, it wouldn't offer as much protection.
  • When hacking, wear a long sleeved top as branches and bushes are likely to scrape your arms.

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Categories: Riding