Getting out of the city or just spending a beautiful day on your favourite path is part of the enjoyment of the summer for those with a love for horses and riding. However, the warm weather can make it a bit more challenging to dress appropriately for the ride and also to stay cool. With that in mind here are our suggestions for comfortable summer clothing for horse riding
The good news is there is a good selection of summer clothing that is stylish and practical and suited for both men and women. Whilst it may seem like a good idea to try your casual summer clothing out for a ride, there are several potential issues with this decision.
The typical item of clothing is not designed with rider safety in mind. Not wearing equestrian clothing will lead to an increased risk of injuries, particularly with injuries to the legs and arms if you are riding through any forested areas or even with increased issues with bugs and biting insects.
Comfortable Summer Clothing For Horse Riding
Hats and Head Protection
It is also critical never to make the mistake of going without a riding helmet. Look for the lightweight styles and designs of hats with vents to allow airflow and the option to take advantage of the natural cool breeze created by the horse’s movement.
Another option to consider is the skull hat in the jockey style most often favored by endurance riders. These hats are lightweight yet very durable and also feature venting and the use of a moisture wicking lining.
For breeches and shirts, consider choosing the lightest possible colours to keep you naturally cooler. Choose white shirts and tan colours for hacking, as this will allow you to stay several degrees cooler than darker colors such as navy or black. Additionally, the lighter colors of summer clothing also makes spotting bugs, spiders, and other crawling insects much easier on your clothing.
It may seem like a small thing, but changing out the full riding boots for short boots is also going to help to keep you cool. For additional protection for the lower legs, particularly on longer rides or through dense areas of forest or brush, add half chaps that provide good protection without all the heat.
Moisture Wicking and Breathable Fabrics
The two keywords to look for on any product description for summertime riding comfort are “wicking” and “breathable”.
Moisture wicking fabrics can be found in shirts, breeches, and even socks. These fabrics are designed to actually move the water from the body to the exterior of the clothing item where evaporation can occur more easily, providing a natural cooling cycle on a continual basis. This also helps the rider to feel dry and not damp even with higher temperatures.
Breathable fabrics allow the air to circulate through the fabric to enhance the evaporation and produce a cool sensation on the skin. Linens, cotton, and even Merino wool clothing items are a good choice. Remember, breathable doesn’t move the moisture away, it actually absorbs and holds it. This may be an important differentiation for those who are more likely to feel the heat than others.
Choosing Your Style
Most riders are going to have different needs when it comes to summer clothing for riding. Your hacking clothing options are typically more casual and designed to protect your skin from sun, insects and the occasional close brush with a tree.
Dress clothing for shows, competitions or events will be very different. There are some brands and manufacturers who have moisture wicking jackets and show shirts that are beautifully made but also allow you to stay cool. Particularly for competitions manufacturers will ensure the style will meet the required standards for riders in specific categories of events.
Whenever possible, both for your comfort as well as that of the horse, try to ride in the cooler parts of the day. The morning and early evening are particularly good times for hacking, schooling or just working with your horse. You will stay cooler and so will your mount, allowing you both to enjoy your time together without having to worry as much about the heat.