What to Wear to Horse Riding Lessons: Complete Shopping List

what to wear or horseback riding lessons

What to Wear to Horse Riding Lessons

Few things are as exciting as gearing up for your first horseback riding lesson. If you don’t have much experience working with horses, you might be wondering what the best clothes are for riding and working with horses, so I put together this guide to help.

What should you wear to horse riding lessons? The best clothes for horse riding lessons are as follows: 

  • An Unused and Safety Tested ASTM Certified Riding Helmet 
  • A Form-Fitting Shirt Made From A Synthetic Material to Prevent Moisture Build-Up
  • Breeches, Jodhpurs, Or Form-Fitting Jeans With No In-Seam to Prevent Uncomfortable Chaffing
  • Tough Shoes With A 1 to 1 1/2 Inch Heel and A Moderate Level of Traction 


Now that you know the basics of what you’ll need for your first riding lesson, let’s look at each item in-depth to ensure you show up wearing what you need!

Horse Riding Lesson Clothing & Equipment List

ASTM Certified Riding Helmet

If you’re planning on taking horseback riding lessons, one piece of equipment that you absolutely must have is an ASTM certified riding helmet. Horseback riding can be a fairly safe activity when done correctly, however, taking the precaution of always wearing a helmet when riding can save your life.

There are numerous helmets on the market for you to choose from, so let’s go over what you should know when buying one. You can see a list of helmets I recommend here. 

Choose The Correct Size Riding Helmet

If you’re wearing an incorrectly sized helmet, you may as well not be wearing one at all. The helmet you select should fit your head nice and snug, and not shift around when you shake your head up and down.

A helmet that’s too loose will improperly shift upon impact, and place some of your head back in the line of fire. All this said, pay close attention to the sizing information of the helmet you’re considering to ensure you choose the best possible fit.

Don’t Buy Riding Helmets Used 

horseback riding students

While there are many pieces of horseback riding attire and equipment that are perfectly fine to purchase used, one piece of equipment I don’t recommend buying used is a horseback riding helmet.

When horseback riding helmets are safety tested, they’re tested for a single impact. Meaning, if the helmet has already been worn by someone else who took a tumble and hit their head, the helmet is no longer suitable for use.

If you’re purchasing a helmet used, you have no way of knowing with 100% confidence if the helmet is still in good condition for riding. That said, it’s a good idea to purchase a lower-end riding helmet to begin with so that you can easily replace it if you need to.

Be Wary Of Non-Saftey Tested Helmets

There are some helmets that look like normal horseback riding helmets but are actually only meant to be worn for show. These helmets haven’t been safety tested, and won’t do a good job of protecting your head from injury. Always ensure the helmet you’re considering is certified and safety tested.

My Horse Lesson Helmet Recommendation

The helmet I always recommend for beginners starting horse lessons is the Ovation Schooler Deluxe from AmazonThis helmet is perfect for beginners because it is reasonably priced, the size can be adjusted for a tight fit, and it looks professional. You can check it out on Amazon here.

Form-Fitting Shirt 

The next thing you’ll need for horseback riding lessons is a nice form-fitting shirt. You can skip to a list of shirts I recommend for riding here.

If you’re just starting lessons, you’ll be happy to know that t-shirts are perfectly acceptable so long as they aren’t baggy. Baggy clothes should be avoided when riding because they can interfere with your movements and get caught in your horse’s tack.

If you want to go ahead and invest in a nicer shirt for horseback riding, I recommend avoiding shirts made from cotton because they don’t dry as quickly if you work up a sweat from riding, and they aren’t as breathable.

My Horse Lesson Shirt Recommendation

This polo shirt is moisture-wicking, comes in several different colors, and looks professional. Check it out on Amazon here if you want to look classy for your first riding lesson!

Breeches, Jodhpurs, or Jeans 

Now it’s time to talk about riding pants! The differences between the different types can be confusing for beginners, so let’s go over each option.

Horseback Riding In Breeches & Jodhpurs

In my opinion, breeches or jodhpurs are the best pant option for riding because that’s exactly what they were made for. They come with features to improve your riding experience that you won’t find in ordinary pants.

Some of those features include being made of fabrics that provide more grip in the saddle, minimal in-seams that will help prevent chafing, and increased breathability and flexibility compared to pants that aren’t made for riding.

A good pair of breeches or jodhpurs can last you years, so they’re worth investing in if you plan on riding much. The main difference between breeches and jodhpurs is that breeches come down to around mid-calf so they can easily be worn with tall riding boots. Jodhpurs, on the other hand, come all the way down to your ankles, making them ideal for being worn with shorter riding boots.

Horseback Riding In Jeans

If you’re trying to keep costs low, you’ll be glad to know that you can also horseback ride in good ol’ fashioned blue jeans. However, try to choose jeans that provide nice flexibility, are comfortable sitting in for extended periods, and don’t have prominent in-seams that could press against your leg uncomfortably while you’re in the saddle.

My Horse Lesson Pants Recommendation

horse riding lesson clothes example

Here are the pants (link to Amazon) I’ve been wearing for several years now. They’re reasonably priced compared to similar options, and I’ve had no complaints with them in all my riding. For more of my riding pants recommendations, you can go here.

Tough Horseback Riding Shoes

The last essential thing you’ll need for horse riding lessons is a good pair of shoes. Not just any pair of shoes will do, so let’s examine your options.

Tall Riding Boots 

Easily the most iconic shoes for horseback riding boots, tall riding boots look professional and are designed to meet the safety requirements for riding shoes.

Whatever shoes you choose, it’s recommended that they have a 1 t0 1 1/2 inch heel. A heel of this size will help prevent your feet from going through your stirrups which could place you in a dangerous situation. 

The leather from stirrups can easily cause discomfort if your legs aren’t properly protected, and the shaft of tall riding boots is perfect for preventing this.

Short Riding Boots 

Short riding boots, also known as paddock boots or Jodhpur boots, are another good option. They have the recommended heel height, can be more comfortable for some riders, and are much easier to put on and take off.

However, these shoes can’t always be worn to compete in if that’s something you’re interested in doing in the future. If you do want to compete, a nice pair of tall riding boots will be a better option for you.

My Horse Lesson Shoe Recommendation

If you want more detailed information on selecting shoes, I have an entire article here dedicated to Choosing the Best Riding Shoes.

For a quick recommendation, you might be interested in these tall riding boots from Amazon. However, it may be better to visit a store where you can try them on first to ensure a proper fit.

Additional Things to Bring to Horse Riding Lessons

If you’re a parent taking your child to riding lessons, there are a few additional items that might be nice to have on hand during each lesson.


As someone who has been riding horses all my life, I’m a little disappointed that I don’t have more pictures from when I first started horseback riding. If your child goes on to become a world-class rider, it would be a shame not to have some pictures documenting the start of their journey.

The good news is that many smartphones these days have incredible cameras that are perfect for taking a few pictures at riding lessons. If you don’t have a smartphone, you can easily pick up an inexpensive digital camera from a store in your area.

Try to get your pictures before and after the lessons so that you are respectful of the trainer’s time, and don’t cause any interruptions.


Horseback riding is more work than it looks! Having some water on hand for your young equestrian is great to have for the drive home.

Completed Waiver

Upon signing up for horseback riding lessons, you’ll likely have been given some type of waiver to complete and turn in before your first lesson.

Make sure your waiver is completed before you arrive for your first lesson so that you can turn it in quickly and don’t cause any delays.

Thank you for reading, and best of luck as you head off to your first horseback riding lesson! If you’d like to be even better prepared for your first lesson, here’s my article on Everything You Should Know Before Your First Riding Lesson.

P.S. If this article was helpful for you, please consider sharing it using one of the buttons below! Happy trails!


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My husband and I started Equine Helper to share what we’ve learned about owning and caring for horses. I’ve spent my whole life around horses, and I currently own a POA named Tucker. You can learn more here.

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