Horseback riding presents you with a unique opportunity to elevate your outdoor vacation experiences. Think of how special it would be to traverse through lush forests, gallop across open fields, or gently amble along a scenic beach, all from the unique vantage point a horse’s back offers. On top of treating you to the thrill of riding, a horseback adventure will give you the chance to connect with nature, engage with local rural culture, and explore unfamiliar landscapes in a refreshingly intimate way.
Also read: packing guide for horse riding holidays
However, to fully enjoy this experience, you’ll need the right attire. As a beginner to horseback riding, you might wonder what to wear for both your safety and comfort. The answer lies in a specific selection of functional and fitting gear, including certain items expressly designed for riding. More particularly, you’ll definitely want to invest in the following pieces before embarking on an upcoming horseback adventure:
It’s impossible to overstate the ways good pants contribute to a secure and comfortable ride. Shorts and bottoms made of thin materials may cause the insides of your legs to chafe against the saddle, which is a common issue for riders.
Traditional riding pants, known as breeches or jodhpurs, are designed to prevent this and enable you to sit on horseback comfortably. These pants are typically snug-fitting, which allows for better communication between the rider and the horse. They also come with reinforced fabric at the inner knee and seat areas to enhance their durability and grip.
If you’re embarking on your first riding adventure and don’t own a pair of specialised riding pants, jeans and thick leggings make great alternatives. You can also shop for tights for riding, as long as they’re thick enough to sufficiently protect your legs. The trick is to look for comfortable, full-length bottoms that allow you to move freely and maintain a stable seat.
As with your riding pants, you’ll want to prioritize comfort and functionality when choosing shirts for horseback riding. Depending on the weather at your destination, you can’t go wrong with T-shirts or long-sleeved shirts made of breathable fabrics. Materials like cotton or technical fabrics are especially good picks, as they can wick away moisture and keep you cool. You’ll also want to choose shirts that fit you snugly and don’t restrict your movement.
If you’re going riding in a destination with a cooler climate, you’ll need to layer up. A base layer that retains heat, topped with a fleece or a light jacket, can provide you with the necessary warmth without compromising your movement. Avoid overly loose or baggy tops, as they can get tangled or caught in overhanging branches and pose a significant safety risk.
Most people would say that the perfect riding outfit is incomplete without a pair of stylish boots, but this iconic footwear serves as more than just a fashion statement. It’s also an essential safety feature, as riding boots are designed with small heels that help prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. This is crucial in preventing accidents and severe injuries.
There are two types of boots commonly used for riding: paddock boots, which are shorter and often used for casual riding or training, and tall boots, which are preferred for formal riding occasions. If you’re interested in purchasing your own, look for a pair that fits well and offers adequate support. The best pairs will both protect your feet while also enhancing your stability and communication with the horse.
Any seasoned equestrian will tell you that a well-fitted, certified helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment you should have when horseback riding. After all, a helmet protects the most vital part of the body—your head—from impact in the event of a fall. Choosing the right one can spell the difference between a minor mishap and a grievous injury.
When selecting a helmet, double-check that it meets current safety standards. It’s equally critical to find one that fits snugly on your head, as an excessively loose helmet can be as dangerous as not wearing one at all. Many modern helmets are also designed to be lightweight and well-ventilated, so you should have no trouble finding something that will keep you both secure and comfortable.
Horseback riding is an activity that you can enjoy in various weather conditions, but it requires the right gear. Choose light and airy fabrics for rides at hot destinations in order to stay cool. You may also want to add some extra sun protection to your riding ensemble, such as a wide-brimmed hat worn under your helmet or a pair of sunglasses. In contrast, colder climates call for thermal layers, a wind-resistant jacket, or even heated vests for extreme conditions. Lastly, waterproof gear is crucial for wet weather to keep you comfortable and dry.
While gloves aren’t strictly essential for horseback riding, many riding enthusiasts swear by the extra comfort and protection they provide. For one, they protect your hands from the blisters and chafing that can result from holding the reins, particularly during longer rides.
Good riding gloves should protect your hands, but not compromise your ability to feel and hold the reins securely. Look for gloves that are breathable and provide a good grip, which will prevent the reins from slipping through your fingers. For colder weather, insulated gloves can keep your hands warm without sacrificing dexterity.
Chaps or gaiters, which serve as additional protection for your legs, are another optional but beneficial addition to your riding attire. They help safeguard against scrapes and bruises, which can be especially helpful when trail riding or navigating rough terrain.
Chaps are typically full-length, which means they cover the entire leg, while gaiters cover only the lower leg and are worn over the riding boots. Both also help in stabilising your position on the horse by increasing the rider’s grip against the saddle. If you’re a beginner, you may find this extra stability especially reassuring, and it may just help you enjoy your ride even more.
A horseback riding adventure will open you up to a huge world of unique and memorable experiences, and your next trip may be all the more rewarding for it. Equipping yourself with the right attire will keep you safe and comfy throughout the entire journey, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and thrill of the ride.
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