Should You Wear Shorts Horseback Riding – Pros And Cons

Wear Shorts Horseback Riding
Wear Shorts Horseback Riding

Yes, you can wear shorts horseback riding. For example, if you just want to go for a quick dip in the water bareback. Although in most cases, riding with jodhpurs, breeches, tight-fitting jeans, riding tights or even yoga pants/leggings will be far more suitable and beneficial.

Of course, this depends on what type of horse riding you are planning on doing. Outride, jumping, or going for a dip? In most instances, I wouldn’t recommend wearing shorts.

There are some riders that enjoy riding their horse while wearing shorts and a lot of them have no problem with it. They are usually more experienced riders and so they know how to control their legs in a way that won’t chafe against the sides of the horse.

One Advantage Of Horseback Riding in Shorts:

If you are going for a run on the beach or doing something involving water, going for a swim in a nearby lake perhaps, it’s faster to dry than long pants and a bit cooler but that’s about it.

Another example of when it would be ok to wear shorts on horseback: When you just want a few good photos with you and your horse. None of the disadvantages of wearing shorts will impact you if you just walk in circles for some photos.

When Do People Horseback Ride With Shorts?

Here are some examples of when riders choose shorts for horseback riding:

When you experienced enough to do so without being uncomfortable

You can get used to casually riding your horse wearing shorts, the more you do it, the more comfortable it will feel. Some riders prefer it mostly just for casual short rides.

When you go for a very short ride

It would be best to keep the riding time down to a minimum and try to stay close to the farm so that you can get back quickly if you get uncomfortable.

When there aren’t any obstacles

It’s best to avoid wearing shorts when performing any jumps because of all the vigorous movements you need to endure with the horse. With the way that you control the horse with your legs, especially with jumping, it’s just better with riding pants like the ones further down in this article.

When you go for a quick dip in the water nearby

Sometimes it’s a treat to go for a dip in the water nearby. This is one of the times where I think it’s great just to go bareback and perfectly fine just to wear shorts. They won’t get heavy with the water and they’ll dry quickly as well.

When it’s very hot

Sometimes you just need a little more open air on your legs to cool you down. Remember to use sunblock to protect your legs.

When you just want a few photos with you in your shorts on your horse

Maybe you just want to hop on your horse with your shorts on and have someone take a few photos. I don’t see any cause for concern with this.

Horseback Rider Shorts

Disadvantages of Horseback Riding in Shorts

Rash, blister, and pinching:

For less experienced riders you’ll most likely land up with a bit of a rash, sometimes even some blistering, and if you saddle up your thighs are probably going to get a few good pinches between the stirrup straps throughout the ride.


With short pants, your legs will be exposed to the sun and you can get burnt very quickly. Apply sunblock, even if you have to buy some on the way.

Burning Saddle:

The leather of the saddle can also heat up rather quickly and burn your skin sometimes. So, for the most part, there’s not much good to say about riding a horse wearing shorts.

Sharp bushes and branches:

We can’t even suggest wearing shorts for an outride. Your legs will be so much more exposed to all sorts of sharp branches from bushes and trees. Bugs will have an easier time feasting off your legs.

When in doubt, ask.

It really is up to you, however, if you are not riding your own horse on your own land, check with the owners or renters on whether they will allow shorts to be worn. Some places won’t let you ride in shorts. Short pants have no place in the competitive equestrian scene.

Tips for Horse Riding in Shorts

Ok so at this point you have seen all the pros and cons but you still want to or maybe need to ride your horse wearing shorts. Maybe you just want a few good photos out of it. That could work. Here’s my advice:

  • Don’t go out for any lengthy rides
  • Use sunblock on top of and on the sides of your legs
  • If you start feeling skin irritation, call it a day, it will only get worse
  • Be careful not to get pinched between the stirrup straps and the saddle
  • If you are capable of riding bareback, rather do that in shorts so that you don’t get pinched and burnt by the saddle.
  • No matter which pants you wear or don’t wear, ALWAYS wear proper riding boots with heels. (More important than the pants)
Horseback Rider Wearing Shorts

Quick Tip on Casual Clothing:

Don’t wear any flowing clothing while horse riding or anything that has any freely hanging laces or straps.

Why Wear Jodhpurs, Breeches, or Riding Tights?

There is a reason why long pants are the preferred choice of riders in general and why it’s the ONLY choice in the professional horse-riding scene. It’s because of how well they work for horse riding.

These types of riding pants are tailored specifically for horse riding so they often have extra padding, they are stretchy for comfort and the seams of these types of pants are offset so that they don’t cause irritation between your legs and the horse.

Advantages of Jodhpurs, Breeches, and Riding Tights are as follows:

  1. Protection for your legs from sunburn.
  2. They will protect your legs from chafing or even blisters.
  3. They will prevent any pinching of your legs around the saddle and straps.
  4. They will guard your legs against bugs and other insects.
  5. They will keep your legs from getting scraped and scratched against bushes and tree branches.
  6. They give you more leg control on the horse without any discomfort.
  7. You will be able to go out for longer riding sessions.
  8. Certain jodhpurs and breeches will have extra padding on the areas that go through the most friction for a more comfortable ride.
  9. The seams are offset so that they don’t cause discomfort between the horse and your leg.


Jodhpurs, the little more casual choice, go all the way down to the bottom of your ankle and are usually folded up for the perfect fit. Some jodhpurs have a stirrup at the bottom to wrap around your foot to prevent them from riding up to your ankles.

Some jodhpurs also have extra padding on the inner leg section to make riding more comfortable. Jodhpurs stretch with the movements of your body, making everything feel better. The seams are offset away from the horse’s body to avoid chafing.

Jodhpurs are very well suited for children and beginners of all ages because of their ease of use. You put them on and they stay in place from start to end. Most of the time.


Breeches, the little more formal choice, are very similar to jodhpurs in that they are also stretchy for comfort, more often they have padding where it counts. Breeches usually don’t have a stirrup at the bottom, but they fit tightly around the top of your ankle. The further to your ankle the breeches go, the more narrow they become making them fit snugly around the bottom of your leg.

Riding Tights

Riding tights have become very popular amongst all riders over the last decades. They are very flexible and quite durable. You don’t have to fasten them at the top. Riding tights are available in many designs.

Bonus Tip, Wear Proper Riding Boots

Wearing proper horse riding boots is one of the most important things you can do. More important than whether you want to wear shorts on a ride. Have a look at the most

Horse Show Preparation Genius guide to staying sane!

Horse Show Preperation

Taking your equine partner off-property to compete in a new environment can be a very nerve-wracking and stressful experience. If things are not prepared and planned out ahead of time there is a chance that critical items may be left behind at home. To ensure smooth sailing while away, it is extremely important that horse show preparation and organization begin weeks ahead of your departure date.

Over the years that I have been competing in different riding competitions, I have gained the organizational skills needed in order to be prepared ahead of time. In the past I would pack up my horse tack the night before leaving, this left me scrambling to find a pair of gloves or boots to borrow while in the show ring.

As you can guess, that carried over to my performance within the show ring, because of all the scrambling that happened before mounting and feeling stressed. To make sure you do not make the same mistakes, here are some pointers to follow.

Months Before Competition

Before deciding which classes you will be competing in it is important to figure out what both you and your horse are comfortable doing. This can be done by practicing various jumping exercises or creating conditioning sets to get in peak athletic shape.

Having a professional trainer to guide you is always highly encouraged as they will always be willing to help with different questions and advice. It is very important to make sure that you keep your horse on a consistent schedule to allow for muscle buildup and fluidity within training.

At this point in time, it is also a good idea to figure out if others would also be interested in going to the horse show. This allows you and others to figure out trailering placement for your horses so you are not left looking for a ride last minute.

Weeks Before Competition

At this point in time, you should have consulted with a trainer and decided on which divisions you will be competing in. This allows for better preparation in pinpointing what you exactly need to be working on.

This may mean that you have a dressage test that needs practicing, a certain jump height that will need to be implemented within the coursework, or a cross-country level that needs to be schooled. Oftentimes issues arise that may need extra attention.

Personally, my horse has trouble picking up his left lead while doing a dressage test, because of this weakness I have been doing more transitions while going to the left to strengthen up that side of his body.

Horse Show Preperation

Preparing Your List

I recommend that you begin creating a list of things that you will need to pack in the weeks to come (I will include my personal list below). Your list should include things for both riding and horse care.

It helps to put the items needed under different categories to make it easier to read. While writing out your list, think of the order you will use the different items and write them down as they come to mind as you may discover you need to pack more items than expected. Also make sure to double-check your list before packing.

Horse Show Packing List

Riding essentials:

  • Boots (for horses)
  • Saddle
  • Ear Bonnet
  • Riding Crop/Whip
  • Saddle Pad
  • Half Pad

Grooming Essentials:

Stable Supplies:

Horse Care:


  • Hay
  • Grain
  • Alfalfa Cubes

For The Rider:

  • Muck/Tall Boots
  • Tan Breeches
  • White Show Shirt
  • Black Belt
  • Tall Socks
  • Black Gloves
Horse Grooming Tools

Days Before Competition

As your competition begins to approach faster and faster, your nerves and excitement will increase. It is now time to go over your packing list and start organizing everything! I recommend using a tack trunk with wheels as it is easier to move from place to place (I use a 50-gallon Stanley chest) this allows me to pack many items into it.

Gather all of your items into one area and start packing them up neatly. Place the larger items on the bottom such as saddle pads and blankets, as the trunk fills place the smaller items on the top. Use a Tupperware container to store little clips or ties along with other small items.

Leather items such as saddles and bridles should be protected by saddle covers and bridle bags. This prevents your tack from obtaining scratches and keeps them nice and neat. Once all of your horse’s tack has been gathered, start loading it into the trailer. It is best to do this the night before departure when you are done using your equipment. 

Load in an organizational manner so unloading is a seamless process. This is also a good time to pack up the hay, grain, and supplements your horse will need over the next few days. Scoop the grain into separate ziplock bags for each feeding, this is easier than hauling large bags that will take up lots of space.

Depending on how much your horse eats you will need to be sure to bring enough hay. Be sure to also have all of your clothes/essentials/food packed the night before leaving! 

Day of Competition/Departure Day

Arrive at your barn early enough to begin getting your horse prepared to leave. Every horse acts differently within the trailer which means some may need standing wraps, shipping boots, or a head bumper.

Standing wraps help protect the horses’ legs from any possible injuries that may occur while within the trailer. Head bumpers are also another piece of protective equipment that prevents head injuries if they were to hit their head on the roof of the trailer. Once your horse is all wrapped and prepared it is time to go!

Arrival At Showgrounds

When you arrive at the showgrounds it is important to first unload your equine partner and get them settled into their stall with water and hay, this allows them to become comfortable with the new surroundings. Next all tack and equipment will need to be unloaded in an organized way.

Oftentimes I will rent a “tack stall” to store away all my things while I am at the competition. A lock and chain will also be used in this case to keep my equipment safe while I am not there. The day before I compete at the new venue I will always hack around the property to get my horse comfortable with the new surroundings.

At the end of each night always clean up your area and reorganize everything so it will be ready for the next morning. Lastly, always keep a positive and uplifting attitude towards other competitors while competing as it can oftentimes become stressful, and in the end, you are all in it together! Happy horse showing!

7 Tips to Regain Confidence in Horseback Riding

Girl And Her Horse
Young Girl Hugging Horse

Every equestrian understands how dangerous and complicated horseback riding can be. No matter the discipline you choose, there are risks we take every time we swing a leg over a horse. Knowing the danger can lead to nerves and a lack of confidence in the saddle.

Whether your nerves arise from riding green horses, preparing for shows, or recovering from a fall, it is important to regain the confidence to improve your riding. Here are our top 7 tips to regain confidence in horseback riding.

Tips to regain confidence in horseback riding

Wearing a helmet

I know many barns enforce a helmet rule while riding, however, I also know barns who do not. A helmet is a necessary part of my riding routine as it keeps my head protected and keeps my confidence intact. If you do not already wear a helmet, I would strongly suggest introducing one to your routine. If falls make you nervous, a helmet will add the protection your head needs!

talking to your trainer

Regain Confidence In Horseback Riding

If you find yourself questioning your riding ability often, I recommend talking to a trainer about your concerns. If you are worried about your equitation, ask your trainer to talk you through a lesson or record a video of you riding. Go over your riding together and find highlights of your riding and where to improve. Communicating with  a professional will help!

ride a babysitter horse

If a large part of your concerns while riding revolve around the horse you ride, it might be a good idea to ride a made horse for a while. Riding green horses can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Talk to your trainer about riding one of the lesson horses for a week or two. Switching your young, green horse for a made lesson horse will bring your confidence back to where it needs to be!

self talk

This may seem strange, but this is my go-to tip for calming my nerves when riding. When practicing a test or working through a course, I say what I am doing out loud to myself and my horse. Not only does it remind me what I need to do, my horse also focuses on my voice and less on the random things he could potentially spook at. Just remember not to scream out your dressage test during a show! That will probably end with some strange looks on the judges faces!

spending quality time with your horse

Girl Riding Quarterhorse

All equestrians understand how important teamwork is with your horse. Understanding each other is the key to success within this sport. If you are losing confidence due to a few complications while riding you should try spending some quality time with your horse. Hang out in their stall, go for a walk around the property, give them a good bath, or something other than riding where you and your horse can bond. Groundwork is great for improving the relationship between you and your horse!

go back to the basics

If you find yourself getting nervous attempting new things when riding such as jumping higher, going faster, or anything you are not used to, try going back to the basics. Work on flatwork a ton! Make sure you are 100% confident in each gait when flatting your horse. If you aren’t perfectly confident while trotting your horse, you should not attempt to canter. An accident will hinder your confidence even more!

read “brain training for riders” by andrea monsarrat waldo

Though I have spent the majority of my equestrian life being the confident rider, I have had my moments of nervousness and outright fear to get on certain horses. Brain Training For Riders explains the psychology behind your brain when riding and how to overcome your nerves. If you are having any confidence issues when showing, riding green horses, or improving your own riding, I would check this book out now! It has changed my mindset for the better!

Ride with confidence

Fear is natural, especially when you are on top of a 1200 pound animal with a mind of its own.  Do not let nerves or fear hinder the love and passion you have for horseback riding. If you are experiencing confidence issues while riding, follow these tips, and watch your confidence improve in the saddle!

Horseback Riding on a Budget – Ride For Less

Horseback Riding On A Budget Featured

The stereotype surrounding equestrians revolves around having a lot of money. Though horses are expensive, there are plenty of options that can help reduce the cost of owning a horse. Whether it is board or breeches you are worried about, there is a way to manage all of your equestrian related expenses! Here are some ways to keep horseback riding on a budget!

Equestrian Expenses

The most important thing to understand when riding is that purchasing a horse is the least expensive thing you will purchase as an equestrian. After purchasing a horse, you have to worry about recurring necessities for your horse such as board payment, feed, supplements, hay, farrier, vet bills, teeth floating, and much more.

There are also many expenses that are not as recurring such as tack, riding apparel, brushes, and more. This can seem intimidating, as these expenses can add up quickly. Though horseback riding may seem only for the wealthy, there are plenty of ways to ride on a budget.

Horseback Riding On A Budget Breakdown

The Horse

Since horseback riding is an expensive sport, you will need some money in order to begin. Luckily, you do not need to purchase a horse in order to begin riding. There are options such as taking lessons, leasing and purchasing. Just taking lessons is the cheapest option, as you will just need to purchase some apparel in order to ride.

Though taking lessons is the cheapest option, you will usually only have access to this horse during your lessons. If you were to choose an option such as leasing, you would have access to this horse a few times a week. Leasing a horse requires a monthly payment to the owner of the horse in order to use this horse for recreational riding. Depending on the lease contract, you may have the opportunity to use this horse for showing and off-property riding. Some lease contracts do not require the purchase of tack and responsibility of vet bills.

Purchasing a horse is the most expensive of these options, however it will give you the most opportunity with your horse. You have full control over your riding experience when you choose to purchase a horse. Though you have full control, you also have full responsibility over all the expenses that come with your horse.

Horses can range from free to thousands of dollars. Make sure you purchase a horse in your price range and that you will be able to use it for your discipline. Carefully evaluate your income and commitment to riding before making the decision to lease or purchase a horse.

Board Payment

If you were to choose to purchase a horse, you will have to deal with the monthly board payment. Each barn has a different set price to board your horse there. These prices can range from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand.

Horseback Riding On A Budget

It may seem like the best option to choose the cheapest barn in your area, however you may end up regretting that decision. Before choosing a barn, see if they provide feed, hay, shavings, and other benefits within the board payment.

Sometimes paying more for the board will end up paying other expenses you would otherwise have to worry about. Evaluate what you want within a barn. Some good questions to consider before making your decision:

  • Does this barn follow my discipline?
  • Does this barn provide feed/hay?
  • Will I have to clean my own stall and feed my own horses each day?
  • How far will I have to travel to this barn?
  • Do I enjoy the atmosphere in this barn?
  • Does this barn have an indoor, trails, etc?
  • Do I get along with others at this barn?

Apparel and Tack

Whether you choose to take lessons, lease, or purchase your own horse, you will need to purchase riding apparel and occasionally your own tack. This can be the least or most expensive purchase point for equestrians. You will need to decide if you are willing to spend more on tack and apparel or if you want to save in that department. Some tips to save on tack and apparel:

  • Look for sales on different equestrian sites
  • Look for used bridles, saddles, breeches, and other tack or apparel
  • Look at reviews on cheap tack to ensure they work properly
  • Maintain your tack and apparel so you will not have to replace it early
  • Look at thrift stores for riding apparel. Some places do not understand how expensive some items are and you can get a great deal!
  • Compare prices on different sites and items

Unexpected Expenses

As a college student, I have had a difficult time-saving money. It took me a while to establish savings in order for me to have the extra money in case of an unexpected vet bill. However, there are ways to save and keep money compiled for unexpected expenses.

Since you will never know how much an unexpected vet bill will be, it is always best to overcompensate. Whether it is a vet bill, tack breaking, behind on board payments, or another large financial commitment, there is a way to come up with the cash! A few tips that helped me, a horse obsessed college kid:

  • Save small, it grows faster than you think!
  • Prioritize necessities! Do not spend that money on a matchy set if you know you will need teeth floating done next week.
  • Save money in an account you do not access unless necessary
  • If possible, get ahead on payments
  • Keep loose change! It adds up quickly!
  • Take a percentage of your paycheck and keep it in a savings

Tips and Tricks

Whether you have the nicest tack and the most expensive horse in the barn or if you are working hard to afford what you can, all equestrians have one thing in common: we love our horses and would do anything for them.

Horse Apples

Saving money is important no matter what kind of equestrian you are. As a college student, I found many tips and tricks to save money horseback riding. Here is what I have learned:

  • Ask if you can reduce board payments by feeding or cleaning stalls
  • See if your horse is eligible for a lesson horse, this can reduce board payments
  • Save for the unexpected
  • Evaluate what you can afford! Lessons, leasing, or purchasing
  • Find someone to lease your horse if necessary. This can help with finances and board payment
  • Know what is necessary tack and apparel and what is not
  • Understand you do not need the most expensive things

be a frugal Rider

You do not have to have millions in order to ride horses. Horseback riding on a budget means you just have to be smart with money! The stereotype behind equestrians being rich is just quite the contrary. The only requirements are commitment and a passion for horses. If you possess those qualities, being an equestrian should be no issues for you!

What Color Saddle Pad Looks Best on My Horse?

Woman Taking Horse Saddle Off Horse
What Color Saddle Pad Looks Best On My Horse

One common question I always get asked when tacking up with my barn buddies is “Does this color look good on my horse?” Now, I do not think horses necessarily look bad in specific colors, but there is usually a specific color that looks best on each colored horse. So, what color saddle pad looks best on my horse?

Fashion sense in the equestrian world is more common than we may think. Whether it is choosing which color breeches work best with our polos or matching our saddle pads to our ear bonnets, we’re always looking to look good!


Grey horses can be slightly strange to find colors for, as they do not have a predominant color. Depending on whether they are flea-bitten, dappled, or perfectly pristine white can all have an effect on what color looks good on them! Good news for grey owners: no color looks bad on grey horses! However, if you are looking to pop in that arena, look into the following colors for your horse


Palomino’s tend to be trickier than some since the color mostly depends on the undertone of the saddle pad. Since most palominos have a warmer undertone to them, you will want to find a warm tone colored saddle pad. No matter what color you choose for your palomino, there is one that will always turn heads in the ring. Hunter Green is the way to go with a flashy palomino!


Similar to palomino’s, chestnuts need a warm-toned saddle pad color. Since this
color is in the middle of the range, you have quite a bit of freedom! If your
chestnut is lighter than most, you might want to stick to a darker color. If your
chestnut is darker than most, you might want to add a bright color that will pop!


As a bay horse rider and saddle pad enthusiast myself, I have found that there
are many colors that work well (and NOT so well) on bay horses. Depending on
how predominant the red is in your bay will impact which color suits your horse
best. The more red, the less red you will want in your color! So blood bay horse
owners: red may not be the best option!


Black horses are easy to find saddle pads for because practically every color looks great on them! Since black horses’ hair is so dark, a pop of color usually will turn heads rather than dark colors. Any pastel or neon color will do the trick! Though I enjoy many colors on black horses, a bright blue will always look the best on a black horse!

Neutral Color

If you are not a fan of bright colors on your horse, do not fear. There are still countless options for minimalistic equestrians. Black and white saddle pads can get boring after a while (and dirty). One way to spice up your tack is by adding a pop of color to the piping! Finding a neutral saddle pad with piping that matches your horse’s color will keep you looking sleek in the ring. For example, if you have a bay horse, adding red piping on a white saddle pad will keep it interesting and sleek. 

Summing it up

Finding the perfect color saddle pad for your horse is not the most stressful thing we have to do as equestrians. No matter the color, your horse will shine in the show ring! However, it is fun and exciting to know you and your horse will look good strutting into the arena. Find what fits you!

How To Choose A Good Saddle – In Depth Video Series

How To Choose A Good Saddle Featured

I have have spent years riding horses and have owned a few saddles during that time. The main question for many riders looking to buy new or replace their saddle is how to chose a good saddle.

What kind of saddle would be best for me and my horse? They become confused by the advice of friends and advertising and don’t know where to start.

Having been the owner of several saddles in my lifetime let me give you some points to think about.

What To Consider When Looking For A Saddle

I have heard many people say that the blanket or gel pads will make your saddle fit better. Not so! Blankets and pads can only make a bad fitting saddle more uncomfortable for both you and your horse.

I could go on and on but decided to scour the internet and I found the best video I could find on fitting your Western saddle.  Larry Trocha from answers about every question you could think to ask. Its 3 videos separately and a bit long so pick a time and listen to it all.  You won’t regret it and your horse will be happy. Your horse can’t tell you…. so get educated.

Part 1 Of How To Choose A Saddle

Part 2 Of How To Choose A Saddle

Part 3 Of How To Choose A Saddle

What Is A Gaited Horse Saddle – Learn From The Pro

Gaited Horse Saddle Featured

Are you having trouble getting your horse to gait or keeping the horse in gait? As a Farrier I managed to keep gaited riders happy and did pretty well getting angles right etc.

What I want to discuss here is what is a gaited horse saddle and getting the right saddle. I’ve had gaited horses that have gone well for one owner but in the next stable with a new owner troubles galore. Same shoes, different rider, different saddle.

Most people don’t put much thought into the saddle. Gaited horses need the freedom to move unrestricted but some saddles do not give them the ability to do that.

It’s not easy to convince people that it could be the saddle. The same saddle may work well for one rider and not another. It’s the way you sit the saddle.

As Farriers we get the pat on the back if we can get them going right but shown the door if we can’t. There may be other reasons your horse won’t gait although it could well be the saddle that restricts them.

The video above is from The Horse Show with Rick Lamb. Rick interviews Oklahoma saddle maker Doug Ford and he offers his take on the type of horse that needs gaited saddles and how he goes about making them to fit properly 

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