Correct dress for all riding occasions
With so many different riding disciplines within the equestrian field, it’s sometimes difficult to make sense of it all – certainly in terms of what you should wear. Add into the equation, competitions, riding lessons, hacking and things like winter and summer riding, and it’s very difficult to generalise at all about what constitutes correct riding dress. That’s why it’s important to invest in versatile riding attire that you can use whenever you need it.
Why is it important to wear the right clothing?
Horse riding is an expensive hobby. Most riders will confirm that. But it’s one where safety has to come first and that starts with understanding that what you wear is not just fashion and comfort (although they are naturally part of it), it’s about keeping you safe when you are riding.
Start at the top and work down
Every rider will require a safety helmet. This is universally accepted as one of the key elements of your riding wardrobe. You shouldn’t ride without it and not make any compromises when buying one. Most riding associations look for safety standards such as SEI ASTM F1163-15 and VG1, but check with your riding association before buying as the rules can change.
The top half!
Your riding shirt or top is more straightforward than your jacket. This needs to allow for freedom of movement and breathability, be waterproof and then depends on whether you prefer long or short sleeves.
When it comes to your jacket, don’t be tempted to go for a general warm jacket. Equestrian jackets are specially designed for riding – longer coats, for example, are generally split up the back to provide warmth to the legs, while not restricting movement in the saddle, and many contain loops to fasten around the legs, to prevent them from moving.
Yes, you will pay more for a riding jacket, but it’s going to be more hard-wearing in the longer-term, and will ensure you have an extra degree of protection, given additional padding at the elbows. There will also be vents built in for comfort, etc.
And the gloves?
Gloves are not just about warmth and protection, they also help you to grip and control your reins more easily. From leather, to synthetic and woven styles, a pair of gloves is an essential part of your riding attire.
Jodhpurs or Breeches?
Most breeches (long) and jodhpurs (short) are naturally made from stretchy material such as lycra or spandex – or another similar fibre. This ensures they don’t cling to your body, but move with you as you ride, providing a high degree of comfort and surety.
Both jodhpurs and breeches are purpose-designed for riding, so it’s your decision. As soon as you start riding, you will need to invest in a good quality pair.
Don’t forget your footwear
You will need a quality pair or riding boots as soon as you start riding. Make sure you get someone to check your measurements before you buy them. See our blog: 6 things to consider when buying a perfect pair of riding boots. or watch Joanne Whitaker in the film below, providing great advice about fitting your riding boots.
This is perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of your riding gear as there are many different types - tall, short, wide, thin, discipline-designed etc. Generally speaking heels should be 1 inch, so that your foot doesn’t fall through the stirrup and the sole must be smooth - wellington boots are a big no!
Don’t overlook the necessity to go for ‘easy clean’ boots either, as you will need to look after them if they are to last.
If you’re not sure which boots are right for you, again ask your equestrian supplier.
There are, of course, many other aspects of your riding attire that you need to consider particularly if you’re a specialist rider, ie: dressage, jumper or regularly compete, but you can add to the basics over time and, if you’re not sure what colour jodhpurs, for example, you should be wearing, you can check with the relevant authority.
Many riders prefer Blackshaw Competition Breeches by John Whitaker – these can be worn for competitions, but also for casual riding. They come in a wide range of colours.
John Whitaker and the Whitaker family are well known in the equine industry, particularly within the show jumping circuit. The exclusive Whitaker brand of equestrian clothing and products, including Brogini riding boots, are available through John Whitaker International (JWI). Combining superior quality with exceptional performance, the Whitaker brand has earned the respect of both amateur and professional riders across the globe.