Horse riding apparel serves multiple purposes, Ordinary street clothes are simply not functional enough for a rider attempting to effortlessly ride a horse, much less muck out a stall.
English riding has centuries of tradition behind its apparel, but the required uniform isn’t just for looks. Breeches meet the basic philosophy of the discipline, where the rider’s legs have close contact with the horse’s body. These are commonly worn in conjunction with the tall English boot. The shorter paddock boots are usually paired with half chaps, which provide more cover for the rider’s legs.
For such English riding exhibitions as dressage and eventing, the show coat, show shirt, and tie are standard, sometimes augmented by a vest. Gloves and hairnets (where applicable) complete the picture.
Western riding isn’t as strict, but the classic Western outfit is still somewhat uniform. Here the rider’s legs aren’t used to communicate with the horse, so chaps, half chaps, and chinks help provide a thick layer of leathery protection – in case of a fall, or against the elements.
Riders in Western shows want stand out and impress audiences and judges alike, so a plain-colored shirt just won’t do. Western show shirts are ornate and flashy, and made with materials that allow breathing for optimal comfort.