What To Wear: Horse Riding
What are Jodhpurs?
Traditionally styled lightweight jodhpurs are ideal for using during all elements of horse riding, from road riding to competition and are a must for any rider.
Designed specifically for riding, jodhpurs provide abrasion resistance from the saddle, a long length leg to avoid exposed skin whilst on the horse, combined with synthetic fabrics for comfort during all day rides. They fit somewhere between trousers and tights, with the same elastication from tights, with a looser cut that leggings. Many also include belt loops, as seen in the above image, for combining with a belt.
Bought in the right style, Jodhpurs can be used for both casual rides as well as competition.
Jodhpurs vs Tights
Jodhpurs differ from trrousers fit for skiing or walking, or tights and leggings becuase theya re specifically designed for long periods of sitting.
Whereas leggings are built to a uniform level of thickness, jodhpurs typically have a thicker, cushioned seat, as well as reinforced areas in the knees.
This design allows jodhpurs to keep a rider comfy, not only when sat in a hard saddle, but whilst jumping and cantering.
Because horse riding is a traditional past time, many rules and cultural conditions are still attached to horse riding. For example, competitive riders will often have to wear a particular colour of jacket or jodhpurs.
Many jodhpurs are designed with two tones, and the colour is traditionally based around neutral or muted colours, although some companies offer fun ranges, with designs varying from pinks to embellished stars and other interesting features.
As well as a reinforced seat, or cushioned areas, jodhpurs are typically designed with flattened seams to ensure they don't rub or irritate the skin as you ride.
To ensure that they don't move, jodhpurs typically have elasticated points at the end of the ankle, or hook closures designed with elasticated that cup the foot underneath the boot.
Typically fabrics are blended together, usually a manmade synthetic mixed with a stretchy fabric. Typically jodhpurs use a Polyester/Spandex or Polyester/Lycra Mix.
Polyester is a good choice for jodhpurs, as the fibres are strong enough for abrasion resistance and durability, yet polyester still feels comfortable next to the skin.
The fabrics spandex and lycra provide next to the skin comfort and a tight fit from the jodhpurs.
Manmade synthetics such as polyester are beneficial as they:
- Move with you as you ride
- Wick away moisture
- Allow sweat to vent away
- Prevent chaffing and irritation.
Easily impacted areas that are subject to abrasion such as the knees and the seat are often reinforced with tougher fabrics to ensure durability. Suede is typically used, but fabrics vary between brands.
Leather or light rubber areas are typically utilized on the seat area to provide a steady grip but are not used as the main body of the jodhpurs as they are not comfortable enough for all day hacks.
Jodhpurs typically have a deep elasticated waistband that ensures your jodhpurs sit comfortably even under thicker baselayers or thermal layers as you ride.
Jodhpurs fit by either underfoot elastication for extra support, or via the use of velcro straps or cuffs at the ankle.
Cuffs are ideal for riding in cold weather as they fit tight to the ankle, providing extra protection against wind entering and heat escaping.
Jodhpurs should be created without an inner leg seam, or flat locked seams. This indicates that the seams of the jodhpurs have been created to create as little friction as possible, so as you ride you experience no rubbing or chaffing to your legs.
Some jodhpurs can also include interior pockets for loose change or keys
The key with the right jodhpurs are the baselayer effect, in that they should feel and move like a second skin.
If the jodhpurs do irritate you, it may be because the seams are incorrect for your body shape, or your saddle. You may need to try a few pairs before you settle on one set.
Horse Riding Boots
Horse Riding Boots come in two main styles:
Ankle High Riding Boots/ Stable Boots Paddock Boots
These are ideal for stable work, hacking as well as riding.
Longer Length Riding boots
Ideal for shows and a classic smart look. Usually waterproofed to offer maximum weather resistance.
Coming in a variety of styles, Horse Riding Boots are designed with very low chunky heels, regardless of gender to allow the boot to lock in with the stirrups.
The outer fabric of a horse rding boot is designed to be protective against abrasion, dirt and impact.
Typically, leather is used. This can be brushed, as with Nubuck leather for a soft look, waterproofed with a membrane to make it appear ‘shiny; or can be treated to make it appear wax-like.
Linings are designed to be lightweight, yet insulating. Typically this is achieved by using a manmade synthetic fibre in the lining, such as polyester, or a slim layer of leather.
This allows the lining to achieve breathability, and to wick away excess sweat and moisture.
Insoles vary from each riding boot, but are cushioned to provide excellent levels of shock absorption when riding.
Leather boots can be treated with a water repelling membrane to be waterproof, ideal for riding in poor conditions in all seasons.
Leather is naturally water-repelling, but for total water resistance the boots seams should be sealed so water cannot enter the riding boot.
Horse Riding Boot Soles:
Riding boots come with a very smooth heel, designed to provide control on the stirrups. Typically soles are designed as a unit made of rubber, or a mix of rubber and stitched resin.
Rubber's texture provides extra grip to account for the smoothness of the sole of the riding boot so you maintain a good grip when you dismount the horse.
Horse Riding Boot Fastenings:
Fastenings vary with each horse riding boot, usually one of the following:
Pull on with elastication
Stable boots in particular tend to utilize an elastic strip at the side of the boot so they can be pulled on and off with ease, whereas longer riding boots use a zip system.
Horse Riding Jackets and Fleeces
Horse Riding Jackets are traditionally worn as part of competition wear. Usually used for hunting or equestrian shows, traditional horse riding jackets can be divided into these categories:
Hacking Jackets: A ‘tweed’ style jacket.
A Show Jacket: A blue or black formal style of jacket
A Hunting Jacket: Red or tweed jackets designed for formal hunt wear.
However, as well as riding formally, a horse riding jacket can be more casual, suitable for use at the stable and on the roads. Many of the typical 'active wear' jackets that can be used for a variety of outdoors activities can be suitable for horse riding wear.
3 in 1 jackets are possibly the best jackets for riding because they utilise the layering system, allowing you to layer over a baselayer top with an inbuilt midlayer and a durable outershell.
For riding, this is ideal, allowing you to control your temperature and level of coverage in a variety of different climates and during different activities.
Fleeces are a midlayer designed to keep heat in and cold temperatures out and are generally used over a baselayer and under a hardshell. Fleece itself is a generalised name given to a manmade synthetic fibre such as polyester. Fleece can be a varied term, referring to a garment that feels soft to touch like a wool.
Although synthetics are used to created fleeces (usually polyester), some fleeces are made from a blend of natural fibres, such as polyester mixed with wool / cotton / nylon, as well as elastane (or lycra) for stretch and increased flexibility.
Once the fleece has been blended together using a variety of natural/synthetic fibres, it can then treated in order to be water resistant, or windproof.
The fabric of fleece varies from brand to brand, and different prices mean different fabric blends and technologies are used.
Fleece in itself is made from polyester, which is then knitted from a twisted yarn.
The slower they are knitted, the softer they are, and the faster they are knitted the stiffer they feel next to your skin.
Slower knitting is more time consuming, and therefore more, expensive and this will usually add to the price of the fleece. The advantage of a slow knit is that overall it will last longer and feel softer next to your skin, which particularly important if it will be worn as your main insulating layer.
Because the surface is similar to wool, the yarns can be adapted to create different textures. Fleece is easily manipulated and can be trimmed to be rugged in texture, as with a Berber fleece, or trimmed to be a uniform length to create a smooth finish.
For a natural looking fleece, wool is either blended with the fleece fibre, or the fleece will be manipulated at the manufacturing stage to make sure the fleece has plenty of loft and texture to give it a natural, rugged feel.
- Fleeces are easy to care for and are usually machine washable
- Fleeces are soft next to the skin and are usually breathable.
- Fleeces are made from polyester yarns which can be created from recycled matter such as plastic
- Fleece dries quickly and does not require ironing
- Fleeces are naturally insulating
- Fleeces can be very inexpensive dependent on the quality of the fibres used
- Wear your fleece at the stable or out riding- if it's made of polyester it will wick off sweat and moisture
Materials and functions vary from fleece to fleece but there are three main categories:
- Heavy Weight fleeces- 300 weight Plus
- Midweight Fleeces-200 Weight- 300 Weight
- Lightweight Fleeces - 100 Weight or less
The weights of fleece are measured in ‘GSM’, or Grams per Square Meter.
This measures the weight of the fabric to indicate it’s thickness. The more surface area the fleece consumes, the more material there is to insulate you. Fleeces essentially work by trapping a layer of warm air around the body as part of the layering system.
With this in mind, and with the assumption that you can remove a layer, it is best to choose a higher GSM for a thicker and warmer fleece.
For Horse Riding, A midweight fleece should suffice in keeping you warm on it's own as an outer layer, or buy a lightweight micro fleece for colder weather to layer under a jacket.
Wellington boots are a pair of boots designed to cover the majority of your leg, and can be used for a variety of situations such as:
- Stable Wear
- Mucking Out
- Field work
Wellington boots are cheaper than other boots designed for hill walking, and are usually created in rubber or PVC. The aim of wellington boots is to keep your feet as dry as possible. Designed to fit over the calf, wellingtons are traditionally made of rubber, but modern wellingtons are now created in a variety of fabrics in order to make them more lightweight and less expensive.
Vulcanised natural rubber
Usually used to create a firm and durable sole in wellington boots. Vulcanising a rubber involves a polymer of a rubber being subjected to amounts of high pressure and high temperatures to mold it into a durable and hardwearing shape. Vulcanised rubber changes the compound structure of wellington boots so that instead of having the standard capabilities of a rubber, e.g flexibility, it is able to rebound after use into a pre set shape.
In short, vulcanised rubber ensure your wellingtons can withstand varying temperatures and levels of pressure without breaking or warping.
PVC (a polymer, PolyVinyl Chloride) – used in the main body of less expensive Wellington Boots. PVC is used because it has the look of a shiny leather or rubber, but can be manufactured with much less cost. PVC is made from polyerised chlorine and petroleum to create as hiny finished, flexible plastic like structure.
Neoprene is a rubber, vulcanised to created a pliable, plastic like material, often used in the main body of Wellington boots.
Neoprene is created with a closed cell construction that traps in heat, making wellingtons made with neoprene more able to insulate the wearer.
However neoprene is more expensive than material such as PVC. Neoprene can also repel water, making them highly suitable for use in muddy and wet conditions.
Leather can be used in more expensive wellington boots within the main body, however as these are more expensive and heavier, they are rarer than PVC/Neoprene alternatives. Most wellington boots aim to mimic the style of a full grain, shiny leather.
Nylon, also known as polyamide is typically used as a liner in Wellington boots.
A manmade synthetic textile, Nylon is quick drying and wicking, allowing sweat and condensation to be dispersed away from your foot to ensure comfort and dryness. Insoles can be fixed or removable.
- Wellington boots are designed with a wide surface area, enabling them to provide balance and traction on muddy terrain.
- The sole of wellington boots typically incorporates a firm level of tread for a good grip. A small wedge heel is typically used for additional grip and elevation. Your wellies should fit your usual foot size, but consider picking a pair a size up if you intend to wear them with thick hiking socks out in the field in the winter.
- Although comfortable and protective, wellies are rarely heavily insulated , which allows them to be lightweight.
- Neoprene is typically more insulated than PVC, so ensure your wellington boots are constructed with neoprene if you want to wear them whilst submerged in water or thick mud at the stable.