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What To Wear For Horseback Riding in Cold Weather

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Ready to enjoy the crisp air and ride through magnificent fall color?

Whether it is trail riding to see the fall foliage, or relaxed riding around the ranch, here are some wardrobe essentials to keep you cozy and comfortable on your ride.

One of the best things about horseback riding is that you can do it all year long. Although spring and summer are prime racing seasons, fall and winter also provide incredible experiences. Fall is great to watch the transition in leaves on trail rides. Winter gives a chance to enjoy snowy horseback riding experiences. Good riding gear and apparel are important to make the experience both fun and safe.

Appropriate riding shoes, clothes, and proper outerwear are necessary. Footwear (preferably boots) should have a hard sole. On the bottom, comfy jeans will do for the casual rider or if you want to invest, equestrian pants are worth it. Tops should consist of layers, including a sports bra for ladies, a sweat-wicking shirt, Henley, flannel, and a puffer vest or jacket. You can adjust material thickness for temperature. Finish your outfit off with a scarf and warm protective gloves to help you grip the reigns.

Footwear

This is the easiest category to tackle. You may have guessed – the perfect shoe for horse riding is… cowboy boots! Yes, cowboy boots are great for riding so if you’ve got a pair that you’ve been longing to wear hanging around in your closet then you are all set. But if you don’t, we have a few suggestions. 

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The safest choice is hard-soled boots or sturdy heel shoes. There is a wide variety of boots to choose from. Ankle boots, hiking boots, or work boots work well. Weatherproof boots are also available and excellent for snowy and wet rides. Athletic shoes aren’t the best choice but will do in a pinch.                         

Tops 

In cold weather, the upper body is key to keeping in the body heat. When it is cold, windy, or wet outside this is where you will feel it first. Layers are essential and make it easy to adjust for comfort on longer rides or if the temperature shifts.

Ladies, a supportive, comfortable bra is important. Sports bras are perfect. No matter how slow you intend to ride, there will be lots of, um, bounce. Take a cue from experienced riders who often double up for extra support – this is not the time for tops with built-in bras.

Sweat-wicking athletic tees are a decent bottom layer early in the season. As temperature drops, shift to long-sleeved athletic tops. Long-sleeved lightweight tees, button-down flannels, and Henleys will warm you up and keep you comfortable on long trips.             

Bottoms 

While jeans are fine and classic apparel for western-style riding, you may want to consider investing in some riding pants. Equestrian pants are sturdy and have many features that you typically can’t get from regular jeans. They’re built to flatter and tuck into your boots and have padding and gripping fabric to help a rider maintain their seat comfortably.

High-performance riding pants called breeches are composed of a combination of polyester, spandex, and cotton making them easy to wear and care for. Knee patches discourage sliding, but for casual riding, they are not required. If you get the choice of wearing trousers with a full seat insert, do so both for convenience and to minimize slipping in the saddle. 

Straight-legged jeans are good to wear if riding isn’t a regular sport. They’ll warm you up and keep your legs covered. Avoid wearing sweats, low-cut jeans, or tights. Otherwise, you’ll be pretty uncomfortable for the entire ride.

Outerwear 

Fall is a beautiful time to go riding, but the temperature and weather fluctuations are tricky. Bring a sweatshirt or fleece pullover with a tight zip neck so you will be comfortable if the day is cooler than you thought. Bring a waterproof jacket if it’s likely to rain.

Puffy down vests and jean jackets are great for more than just fashion. They help maintain your core temperature so you can relax on the saddle and enjoy the ride without getting a chill. Loop an infinity scarf around your neck for extra throat protection on windy days. Don’t wear any scarf that hangs loose as they can easily get tangled and become a hazard.

Other Basics 

Safety 101: Do not ride without a helmet. If you don’t have a riding helmet, make sure the place you plan to ride is able to provide one. 

Whether you wear boots or not, English Riding Accessories such as high socks add warmth, comfort, and give you an additional layer of protection. Be sure to wear warm, protective gloves if it’s cold because you’ll need warm hands in order to maintain a grip on the reigns. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen for your face and arms if they are not covered.

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Bottom Line

You are wise to plan ahead. When deciding on what to wear for horseback riding remember that your clothes will get dirty, dusty, and possibly covered in horsehair. They’re also going to smell, so save your favorite clothes of the season for another time.

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