What to Wear Horseback Riding in the Summer

Whether you're just starting your riding journey or have been in the saddle for years, knowing what to wear while horseback riding in the summer can make all the difference in your comfort and performance.

For new riders, it's essential to stay cool, comfortable, and safe. For seasoned riders, hot weather is an opportunity to explore Ariat's innovative summer gear and see how it can help you in and out of the saddle. From our top picks for cooling riding shirts to breathable tights, we have everything you need to keep you riding at your best.

What to Wear: Horseback Riding in Hot Weather 

Equestrians are a tough bunch. They don't shy away from the weather, no matter the temps, so riders need to be ready to dress for the conditions. But summer horseback riding clothes don't have to be complicated to keep you cool. Here are some of our top tips for staying comfortable when the mercury rises. 

Summertime Staples 

Just like in the winter months, summer equestrian outfits should balance the functional with what's fashionable. When pared down, summer riding outfits should consist of long pants, lightweight tops, and boots. Each choice should be optimized for horseback riding in hot weather while remaining flattering. 


Long pants are a must, even when it's hot, since sticky, bare skin against hot leather will chafe, pinch and rub. If you're hopping on for a quick and casual bareback walk, you might be okay in shorts, but we recommend wearing pants for every ride. Your tan lines won't thank you, but the skin on your calves and thighs will. 

Western riders typically wear jeans. No matter the season, riding jeans are most comfortable if they have some stretch to allow for movement in the saddle, and flat seams help reduce rubbing or chaffing while you ride. Denim like the Ariat R.E.A.L Mid Rise Arrow Fit Jocelyn Boot Cut Jean is tough enough to stand up for a full day of riding but has enough give that they won't weigh you down in the heat. A boot cut jean is a great choice to go over Western boots, and Trouser jeans, like the Ariat Trouser Perfect Rise Maggie Jean, are a very popular choice among riders of all ages. Bonus: they look great off your horse, too! 

Tights or breeches, pockets or no pockets; with a variety of styles to choose from, English riders can find a style that suits their needs. Summer riding tights are a comfortable, lightweight option that perform well for everyday riding. Try the Breathe Eos Half Grip Tight, which has perforated fabric for breathability and moisture-wicking technology. Tights like these allow for extra airflow, dry quickly, and offer a ton of stretch to keep you comfortable. Many riding tights and breeches also feature fun additions like low-profile cell phone pockets so you can keep your essentials close while you ride. 


The best cooling shirts for hot weather are designed to wick away moisture and maximize airflow. If you're not competing, most women's short sleeve shirts or men's short sleeve shirts will be fine for your time in the saddle. Select a fitted (not loose or baggy) shirt and avoid materials like cotton that have a tendency to hold onto moisture. Polos are popular since collars are a long-standing staple in equestrian sport, and many Ariat polos are designed with top-tier cooling technology. 

For training in extremely hot temperatures, opt for a moisture-wicking performance shirt like the Ariat Hailey 1/4 Zip Baselayer. The sleek design looks polished and is made with Sun Protection Fabric (UPF 45). If sleeveless isn't your preferred style try the long-sleeved Sunstopper 3.0 ¼ Zip Baselayer, the most innovative sun shirt on the market. It's fully loaded with cooling technology, moisture-wicking technology, sun protection fabric, and has mesh panels to enhance airflow. 


No summer horseback riding outfit is complete without riding boots. For Western riders, VenTEK cowboy boots are a great solution since they have built-in mesh panels to provide airflow. Boots like the Anthem VenTEK Western Boots are a popular choice that keep feet cool even in the hottest weather. For style inspiration for your boots out of the saddle, check out our recommendations for summer cowboy boot outfits

Now that you know what to wear horseback riding in the summer, pick out all your hot-weather favorites online, or in person at the Ariat Brand Shop nearest to you

Frequently Asked Questions 

What should you not wear when horseback riding? 

It may be surprising to hear that shorts are on the “do not wear” list for horseback riding in hot weather. Shorts don't provide adequate protection to your legs and the movement of bare skin on a leather saddle can lead to chafing—especially when it's hot outside! We also recommend wearing closed-toed shoes at all times when you're on or around horses. No matter how badly you want to wear sandals to let your toes breathe, boots and shoes help protect your feet. You should also avoid bulky or super-tight jeans without stretch, 100% cotton-fabrics that retain moisture, and dark colors, which can attract heat. Invest in a summer riding shirt that's fast drying, fitted and light, and make it your go-to in hot weather. 

Should I wear jeans or shorts horseback riding? 

Equestrians on horseback always wear long pants: jeans for most Western riders; breeches or riding tights for English riders. While it is a breezier option we do not suggest wearing shorts when horseback riding. Competitions and horse shows often require riders to wear long sleeves and show jackets. The good news is that performance summer horseback riding outfits now exist that are designed to keep you cool in the heat. 



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