Equestrian Apparel: Top 5 Items to Put on Your Holiday Wish List

When it comes to equestrian apparel, both quality and style are important. Horse riding experts will tell you not to skimp on either just to save a few dollars. Simply put, how you look influences how you carry yourself, and how you carry yourself ultimately affects how well you ride. When what you wear fits well and looks good, you’ll notice a difference in both your posture and how you perform.

With the holidays just around the corner, it may be time to invest in some new riding apparel. (Or ask Santa and his elves to make it for you!) Here are the top 5 must-haves to include on your holiday wish list.

Rider’s Helmet

If there is any piece of horse riding gear where quality matters most, this is probably it. Horse shows require that riders wear an ASTM-approved helmet. ASTM stands for “American Society for Testing and Materials,” which is an organization of skilled volunteers like doctors, engineers and physicists who set the standards for many different types of safety equipment. If you’re not sure whether helmet is ASTM-approved, look for the ASTM seal on the inside. Approved helmets will also have a thicker shell than non-approved helmets. You can also look at the strap and the harness. Approved helmets will rely on more than just a single snap to close, since snaps are prone to opening easily upon impact. There is also no such thing as an ASTM-approved helmet with a clear harness.

Make sure there is enough padding and a chin strap on your helmet that you can secure to a snug fit. A clean, well-brushed exterior in black or charcoal is bound to make the best impression. Some western-style riders opt for cowboy hats instead. Luckily, manufacturers do make helmets that are shaped like cowboy hats, so you can still get the best of both worlds.

Breeches, Jodhpurs and Jeans

Western-style riders generally prefer jeans; but for horse riding, you cannot wear your everyday pair of jeans. You will want to opt for jeans that are uniquely made for the sport. Equestrian jeans lack inseams to prevent the material from rubbing against the leg. Often, you will see leather or fabric patches on the inner thigh, for added comfort. English-style riders wear breeches or jodhpurs, which are tight fitting and lack an inseam as well. Take your pick – just make sure at least one pair of horseback-friendly pants is on your Christmas list this year!


Gloves are more of a fashion statement than a riding necessity, but it is getting colder outside, so you may want to have a pair on hand just in case. Also, many riders wear them to protect their hands from burns. Get better friction with gloves that have gripping material on the palm.

Paddock Boots or Field Boots

Field boots are usually black or brown and come with or without laces. They fit right up to knee height, which is suitable for taller riders. Also called jodhpur boots, paddock boots are shorter, usually come with laces, and fit right over your jodhpurs or breeches offering strong ankle support. If you are more of a western-style rider, you may opt for cowboy boots instead. Whatever you prefer, make sure your boots fit well. Try on a pair before the holiday hits, and don’t forget to note your size on your wish list.

Riding Shirts and Jackets

Riding shirts usually come in solid colors. A shirt should fit snugly and is typically worn tucked in. If un-tucked, it should not be too long in back, so as to prevent it from catching on the saddle when riding. Baggy clothing not only prevents you from looking sleek while you ride; it can also jeopardize your safety by causing a fall. You may wa

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