There are few more exhilarating feelings than riding a galloping horse along the beach or across the open plains. Say goodbye to your stress, regain your sense of freedom and enjoy the many health benefits that this wonderful exercise can bring!
When you’re just starting to ride, investing in the right gear will keep you safe, comfortable, and stylish, especially if you’re going for a Western look. It’s natural to want to keep looking good, but at the same time, you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. The key to getting the balance right is to select practical pieces for your equestrian wardrobe which every rider needs. Let’s look at some ways to give your outfits an effortless Western vibe.
The most basic accessory for any rider is a safety helmet. A fall and head injury can stop you from riding forever and have life-changing consequences, so it’s just not worth the risk of going without one. However, it’s unfortunately quite common to see Western-style riders going without a helmet, or replacing one with a cowboy hat. If you’re concerned that a typical helmet would ruin your look, don’t worry! There are plenty of options, including helmets hidden inside cowboy hats, and others covered with leather and rugged stitching. Or, if you already have a traditional helmet, why not add a brimmer? Not only will it keep the sun out of your eyes, but it’s also a cost-effective way to get an instant cowgirl look
Traditional riding breeches are always comfortable, and in cream or dazzling white, will always look smart. Jeans are usually acceptable for Western-style riding. Whichever option you choose there are a couple of things to be aware of. Ensure that your chosen style does not have a seam on the inner leg. When you’re riding, especially over long distances, the pressure of the seam as your leg comes in contact with the saddle, can result in irritation and even bruising.
To accessorize your pants, why not add a pair of western chaps? They’ll not only help to protect your legs in the saddle, but there are also some amazing styles and colors – fringed, black suede, and fancy front buckles, so you can really express your individual style.
If you’re planning to ride in extremely cold climates, shivering while you long to be back inside is never a good look. Invest in fleece-lined riding pants to help keep you warm, or add some tight-fitting gym-leggings, which won’t bulk out and spoil your sleek line, underneath.
Not every rider uses a safety vest, but, in the case of a fall (aka an unplanned dismount), it can protect your chest, back, and ribs from serious injury. If you’re relatively inexperienced and planning to ride across rough or rocky terrain, a safety vest is a precaution it’s worthwhile to consider. There are plenty of options such as the Supra-Flex Adult Body Protector, which looks good and isn’t bulky.
If you’re going for that Western look, a great pair of cowboy boots is a natural choice. While there are a huge range of styles available – natural, tooled leather, colored and fringed, there are a couple of features you should look out for.
The first is to make sure they provide good ankle support. This will help you stay comfortable, especially on longer rides. The second is to choose boots with a small heel, and good traction on the sole, to provide stability as you ride. A bonus would be to find a style that incorporates gel cushions inside, as a shock absorber. Trainers and smooth-soled shoes are not a good choice.
A stylish pair of good quality gloves are an essential part of every rider’s wardrobe. On a practical level, they protect the hands from the friction of the reins, and they’ll also help to maintain a steady grip in case they become moist from the horse’s (or your own) sweat or rainfall. Riding gloves are typically available in neutral colors such as black or tan, but bright colors and fringed styles are also available.
In addition to these suggestions, it’s easy to create a western look when you start riding. Add a plaid shirt, leather, or suede vest, and you’re there! Fringes are the perfect detail – just be sure to choose one or two pieces – and don’t overdo it!
We hope these ideas will help you select some great investment pieces for your western-style wardrobe. Enjoy every moment of your riding!