Equestrian fashion changes with the seasons and summer horseback riding poses a few challenges for us horse lovers. While the rest of the world whips out the shorts, sunglasses, and sandals, we have to carefully choose our hot weather horse riding gear for safety as well as their equestrian style and cooling abilities.
To help you decide what to wear horse riding in summer, we’ve assembled this list of tips, tricks, and advice on summer horse riding gear. We’ll talk you through the kinds of equestrian clothing you should be wearing, what safety equipment you should be using and we’ll discuss how to keep cool when horse riding too.
Let’s jump in the saddle and get to it…
Choosing what to wear horseback riding in the summer isn’t simple – we can’t just wear shorts or flip flops because we’re too hot. Equestrianism is a sport after all, so there is a sort of uniform or set of rules that we have to follow for our safety.
Deciding on a ‘summer kit’ is a personal choice every horse rider has to make for their comfort and protection, and this list of horse riding clothes for hot weather should be able to help narrow the search down.
Protect yourself and your horse
First thing’s first – SPF. If you’re going to be trotting along in the sunshine, you should look after your skin with a minimum SPF30 to prevent sunburn and protect from UV rays.
Top Tip: Don’t forget the back of your neck!
You should also make sure to stay hydrated. It’s key for both you and your steed when horseback riding in summer to help regulate body temperatures and keep everything working properly. If you’re not sure whether your horse is ok or not, try the pinch test.
Now for physical safety and protective equipment. You don’t need to go all out unless you want to, but considering there were 3,700 accidents involving horses on roads over the last 10 years, we’d say you need the basics at least
- Your Horse riding helmet – Do some research and find one with ventilation and a sun visor for your eyes. They’re doing some interesting things with fabrics too – we’ve found helmets with lining that wicks away moisture, and are even machine washable.
- Hi-vis – This will really catch the motorist’s eyes. You can get some cheap and lightweight vests to go over your horse riding gear from most hardware stores. And there are some good horse hi-vis options too, like bridle sets, leg bands, and tail guards.
Horse Riding tops for summer
When you compete, there are rules and regulations on horse riding tops, but if you’re just exercising or enjoying the sun, the choices open up.
Go with a vest top if it’s sweltering, or choose a classic polo t-shirt to give your shoulders some protection. Long-sleeved tees are fine as well if you’re wanting more coverage, just go with a thin material that lets your skin breathe.
Whichever you pick, try to stick to light fabrics and colours like whites, beiges, and greys – they’re more visible, better at reflecting the sun and you can see any biting bugs better too.
Horse riding trousers for summer
Covering your legs when riding protects you from saddle sores, boot rub, and (in the summer) sunburn. The types of legwear in equestrian outfits are:
- Horse riding trousers – you might know them as jodhpurs or breeches, but these are tight, full-length trousers which with a bit of stretch for a snug fit.
- Horse riding tights – These stretch much more and are typically made with quick-drying fabric. Think active and sportswear instead of everyday trousers.
Either style is great, but the rule of thumb for summer is to choose a breathable fabric. And if you can, find trousers or tights with gel seats – they’re super comfortable on longer rides.
Horse riding gloves for summer
Keeping your hands cool with a good grip is one of the most important things you need to do on a summer horse ride. Finding the right gloves will help with that – without them your hands could slip off the reins and you may not be able to hold on if your horse suddenly rears.
You can purchase ones which feature micro-mesh and moisture-wicking fabric, some are even touch-screen friendly. Just try to choose a pair with some kind of ventilation to help cool your skin, and make sure there’s plenty of grip too.
Horse riding boots for summer
When purchasing your summer horse riding clothes, don’t forget the boots and socks. Your feet will sweat just like your hands, so choose socks specifically made to dry quickly. Running socks are a good choice and you can use them for more than one sport.
When it comes to the boots, we suggest going with ankle boots – your legs will be able to breathe a bit easier and they won’t get as warm. As long as they have the closed-toe, a smooth sole, and a small heel to grip the stirrup, they’re good to go. That means sandals, trainers, and wellies are out of the question for sure
Finding and buying horse clothing for summer is just like any other shopping trip. You can choose the colours, styles and the fit – as long as they’re well-suited for riding and will keep you safe, you have a lot of freedom.
The next time you’re making a list and trying to decide what to wear summer horseback riding, we hope our tips and tricks come in useful. Have fun in the sun fellow horse folk!
By Debbie Clarvis