What Do English Riders Wear? A Complete Guide

Never ridden a horse in the English style before? Or going for your first riding lesson? Finding what to wear is kind of difficult, especially if you aren’t familiar with the attire for this style of riding. But don’t worry, all the attire and apparel you will need is right here! Here is my complete list of everything you might need to ride English.

In this guide I will cover:

  • All the clothing you might need to wear for riding in this style
  • All the additional equipment you might need

What Do English Riders Wear?

There are many types of English styles of riding including hunt, saddle seat, and side saddle, but in general, what do most if not all of these riders wear to ride their horses? English riders wear: a polo shirt or other horseback riding shirt, breeches, boot socks, English riding boots, and a helmet. In the winter, they might wear riding gloves and a riding jacket too.

All The Riding Equipment & Apparel You Need To Ride English:

There are a lot of things that English riders wear day to day without even thinking about it. Trying to ride English when you are used to riding western can be a big transition and if you aren’t familiar with the apparel, it might seem foreign. This is all the apparel and equipment that you will need to ride in the English style:


If you are only familiar with Western boots or cowboy boots, it might be kind of a hard transition to the English riding boot.

In English we use one of 2 types of boots: paddock boots and half chaps, or tall boots.

Paddock Boots & Half Chaps

Paddock boots and half chaps when worn together just look like a pair of tall boots. Paddock boots are short boots that come up just past the rider’s ankles and the half chap is the leg part of the boot that goes just below the knee when it is worn on the leg.

The reason English riders wear the half chaps on their legs is to keep them from getting leather burns and other legs. Sometimes the stirrup leathers will pinch your legs too so the half chaps offer that extra layer of protection.

A good pair of paddock boots that I recommend are the TuffRider Ladies Starter Paddock Boots. I recommend these boots if you are going to be taking riding lessons or just riding English for fun. If you are looking for a performance boot, I would consider getting tall boots instead.

The half chaps that I recommend are the HORZE brand ribbed half chaps. These half chaps are affordable and look great with any paddock boots you pair with them. The ribbed design helps them to grip easier to the side of the horse you are riding which helps to secure your leg.

Tall Boots

Tall boots are generally more expensive to purchase because generally they are of better quality and are intended to be used for showing.

Tall boots are used for nearly all hunter, jumping, or dressage related competitions.

A good pair of tall boots that I recommend to get are the HORZE synthetic leather tall boots. I recommend these boots for riding lessons and general English riding because they are nice looking in appearance and could be used for some shows, but they are cheap enough on the price spectrum to where they are able to be damaged or get dirty without worrying about how much you paid for them.


Breeches are one of the most important parts of the riding apparel. This is because without the proper pants, you could damage your saddle or even slip around in the saddle a lot more. For these reasons, I recommend getting a good pair of riding pants to make your ride safe and comfortable (and a little easier).

The nice thing about breeches is that there is typically a grip made from suede or gel on the seat or on the inside of the knees where the rider will benefit from the extra grip.

There are many different colors, designs, and styles of breeches, but for your standard pair, I recommend the HR Farm full silicone seat breeches. I recommend these because they are in the standard tan color, but the silicone on the seat and legs help to secure your position on the horse when riding.


This is THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF RIDING EQUIPMENT! Why? Because if you take a tumble when not wearing a helmet, you are asking to fall off and get a serious head injury.

There are many different helmets that you can buy. Some are intended just for shows while others are intended for general riding and schooling. If you are just planning on taking riding lessons or you are just riding because it is something you like, I would recommend getting a helmet like Ovation deluxe schooler riding helmet.

I recommend this helmet for a couple reasons. One reason is that I have this helmet to use for both me and my riding students and it fits great. Another reason is that I have actually fallen on my head while wearing this helmet and I lived to tell the tale without having to suffer a concussion. This helmet not only looks professional, but it also works for what it is intended for (and I know this from personal experience)!

In other styles of riding, helmets are not commonly worn. This is a serious hazard for the rider’s safety. In English styles of riding however, a helmet is almost always worn because in this area of riding horses will be jumping and moving quickly so helmets are strongly advised.

Riding Shirt:

Riding shirts are just an optional piece of riding apparel but it can really pull a look together or make you feel more comfortable when riding.

I recommend getting a horseback riding shirt that is moisture wicking to reduce how sweaty you feel during your ride.

I recommend getting a JACK SMITH long sleeved polo shirt. I recommend this shirt because it is affordable, it can be used for riding horses, and the sleeves will protect you from the sun in summer and keep you warm in winter.

Boot Socks:

I actually just wrote a whole article on the best boot socks on the market. Boot socks are just crew length or knee high socks that are intended to be worn under boots when you are riding. These socks prevent you from getting leather burns, blisters, and other small injuries from wearing improper socks with your boots.

To view all the different boot socks I recommend, click here!

Now you know what you need to ride English! Are you ready to ride?

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Hailey Sipila

Horses have been my passion ever since I can remember. At school, I was known as that weird horse girl, and I would read horse encyclopedias for fun. Over the years since those days, I have only learned more. My experiences with horses of a variety of breeds have taught me a lot. Now I want to share what I know with you!

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