Apparel Riding Tips

Win the Cool Down: Hot Weather Horse Riding Essentials

Hot weather riding
Written by Aimee B.

Clothing to Keep You Feeling (and Looking) Cool

Is there anything better than horseback riding on a gorgeous summer day? Although it’s tough to beat a summer spent with your horse, riding in hot weather presents a few challenges. Luckily, those challenges can be overcome with smart clothing choices.

If you’re searching for hot weather horseback riding clothing options, you’re in the right place. This post will cover equestrian clothing basics perfect for the summer along with a few of our favorite clothing items to help you beat the heat.

Riding Clothing Basics

Clothing can make or break your riding experience. Regardless of the weather outside, always keep safety first and foremost. And whether you’re planning for a laidback trail ride or are schooling your second-level dressage pony, there are a few must-haves.

Boots must have at least a 1″ heel. As a general rule of thumb, you should always wear boots when working with horses because a stray hoof can easily break your foot, or at least several toes.

Riding with a good heel prevents your foot from sliding through the stirrup and getting caught, too. If your foot gets caught in the stirrup and you fall off, you could get dragged by your horse and be seriously injured.

Pants protect your legs from sores caused by rubbing on saddle leather. And if you’re trail riding, pants offer stellar protection from a stray branch or pesky mosquito.

Helmets are a safety necessity. Horses can be dangerous, and falling off is always a possibility. But wearing a helmet reduces the risk of a severe brain injury.

hot weather horse riding

source: canva

What to Consider in Hot Weather?

Although riding in hot weather can be fun, it comes with a few risks.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration is always possible whenever you’re physically active in hot weather. This holds true for both yourself and your horse.

If you’re riding in hot weather, take plenty of rest breaks and make sure you’re both drinking enough to stay hydrated.

As a general rule, aim for around eight 8-ounce servings of water on a normal day. In hotter weather, or if you’re actively sweating, you will likely need to drink more.

Plan to take a water break every 15 minutes or so if you’re sweating. Drink even if you don’t feel thirsty because thirst is a late indicator of water loss.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Sunburn is painful in the short term and can increase your long-term risk of skin cancer. If you choose a short-sleeve shirt, apply sunscreen liberally.

Remember that as you sweat, you lose previously applied sunscreen. Look for a product that has been designed for sportswear to maximize your protection.

Clothing limits your skin’s exposure to the sun. Keep reading for our top clothing recommendations!

Let’s Talk About Chafing

Chafing is a skin irritation caused by rubbing. Constantly re-adjusting yourself in the saddle can cause chafing. And chafing is only worsened by moisture, the type caused by sweat on a hot day.

Although jeans generally offer excellent protection from the elements, they often have tough seams that cause chafing worsened by sweating. And although cotton may seem like the perfect material, it holds moisture which, again, also worsens chafing.

Synthetic fabrics wick moisture away to keep you cool and comfortable. Some people additionally opt for products to lubricate their skin and prevent chafing.

Here’s a funny little video about the struggles of summer riding:

Best Hot Weather Clothing for Horseback Riding

Category Product Price Point You’ll Love Them If:
Best Tights Kerrits Ice Fil Full Seat Tech Tight $$ You’re looking for full-seat tights that are soft and flexible
Best Breeches Ariat Tri Factor EQ Grip Knee Patch Breeches $$$ You need hot weather show breeches
Best Shirt Kerrits Aire Icefil Print Shirt $ You’re looking for a high-tech shirt designed for hot weather
Best Long-Sleeve Shirt HR Farm Ice Feel Quick Dry Shirt $ You need s shirt that both keeps you cool and offers UV protection
Best Gloves Ariat Unisex Air Grip Gloves $ You’re looking for mesh back gloves in black
Best Helmet IRH Equi-Pro SV Helmet $ You love a little ventilation.
Best Boots Ariat Anthem VentTEK Boots $$$ You like the fit and comfort of an Ariat boot

Best Clothing for Hot Weather Riding

Kerrits Ice Fil Full Seat Tech Tight

Kerrits uses a revolutionary wicking technology in these tights to cool your skin up to 5 degrees.

They are stretchy, soft, and an excellent option for hot weather riding!

kerrits ice fil tight

Click to see them at Amazon


  • Machine washable
  • 2 functional side pockets
  • Fit is true to size
  • UPF+50 sun protection


  • Relatively thin fabric may not hold up during trail rides through thick brush
  • Several reviewers commented on the fabric’s tendency to pill after a few washes

See them at Amazon

Ariat Tri Factor EQ Grip Knee Patch Breech

These breeches are made with moisture-wicking technology to keep you cool in even the hottest weather. They feature silicone grip to decrease chafing.

An added bonus? These breeches come in a variety of sizes and lengths to help you find the perfect fit.

ariat breech

Click to see it at Amazon


  • Design is suitable for showing in hot weather
  • Thicker fabric offers more durability
  • Material and breech design support your core while riding


  • Only comes in 2 colors: black and tan
  • No functional pockets

See it at Amazon

Kerrits Aire Icefil Print

This short-sleeve shirt offers cooling power plus UPF+30 sun protection in a comfortable, flattering fit. Ice Fil technology brings you ultralight fabric, breathable and moisture-wicking properties, and quick drying.

It is actually supposed to help cool your skin up to 5 degrees!

ice fil short sleeve shirt

Click to see it at Amazon


  • Comes with handy side pockets
  • Customers LOVE this shirt—it has 4.9 out of 5 stars
  • Ten inch zipper for extra ventilation


  • Lightweight material may be more prone to snagging
  • Only comes in one color option

See it at Amazon

HR Farm Women’s Ice Feel Quick Dry Performance Rider Long Sleeve Shirt

HR Farm wins our pick as the best shirt in the long-sleeve category. It offers mesh inserts under the arms for ventilation. Customers in hot climates (think desert) particularly love this shirt.

The fabric also provides UV protection, making it an excellent alternative to slathering on sunscreen.

long sleeve shirt

Click to see it at Amazon


  • The shirt has ¼ length zip, which gives it a very professional look
  • Very competitively priced
  • Over 450 Amazon reviewers have given a score of 4.7/5


  • Comes in limited color options
  • Thin fabric may be more susceptible to rips and snags

See it at Amazon

Ariat Unisex Air Grip Gloves

Gloves of simple design can be used at home or in the show ring. Plus, these gloves won’t break the bank!

Stretch Tek Twill provides both flexibility and added ventilation to keep your hands cool during summer rides. 


Click to see it at Amazon


  • Five different sizes to accommodate the perfect fit
  • Mesh back to promote ventilation on hot days
  • Made of thin material so you can feel the reins


  • Only comes in color black
  • Several reviewers commented that the gloves run on the small side

See them at Amazon

IRH Equi-Pro SV Helmet

The IRH Equi-Pro SV Helmet comes in an array of colors and has a sleek design making it an excellent option for home or the show ring.

It offers additional ventilation beyond that of your typical English-style helmet, making it a great choice for warmer climates.

horse riding helmet

Click to see it at Amazon


  • Comes in 5 different colors, including purple and navy
  • This helmet has ventilation to promote air circulation
  • The fabric inside the helmet makes use of moisture-wicking technology


  • Helmet sizes run on the small side
  • Has more of an English/dressage design, so it may not appeal to Western riders

See it at Amazon

Ariat Anthem VentTEK Boots

Ariat is a legend in the equestrian footwear industry. They continue their legacy with these boots, which offer durability and ventilation.

We can speak from experience when we say—we love these boots. They had virtually no break-in period. 

The crown to the toebox is already waterproof (no need to further waterproof them), while the upper offers more ventilation than your average boot. 

summer boots

Click to see it at Amazon


  • Attractively designed boots that combine the classic look of leather with teal accents
  • Mesh panels provide ventilation
  • Well-designed boot to offer your feet the ultimate protection from the elements


  • Only comes in 1 color
  • Several reviewers noted that the boot color changed when they waterproofed the boots

See it at Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do you wear horseback riding in the heat?

Always keep safety and comfort in mind while riding in the heat. Stick with a helmet, long pants, and boots with a 1″ heel.

Many riders also prefer long sleeves to protect from the sun; however, you could choose short sleeves with sunscreen.

Q: Can I wear leggings horseback riding?

Breeches and other pants designed for horseback riding generally offer some “stick ” elements to keep you in the saddle. They often come with silicone patches on the knees, entire inner leg, or buttock to help you stay in position.

Leggings are generally made of slick materials that won’t hold you in the saddle well. This increases your risk of chafing and may decrease effective communication with your horse if you can’t hold a proper position.

Q: What should you not wear when riding a horse?

Clothing that could easily get caught, leading to serious injury. You may also consider avoiding jewelry such as long, dangly earrings or necklaces.

Aside from the safety hazards jewelry poses, you risk losing or breaking your favorite pieces.

Q: How do you stay cool when riding a horse?

Choose one of our recommended hot weather gear items! And stay hydrated. If the heat index is too high, skip the ride and pop in your favorite horse movie instead.

Q: What do horse riders wear in the summer?

Summer calls for moisture-wicking materials and light colors. You can also opt for ventilated helmets and boots with mesh panels to pull the moisture away from your body and promote cooling.

Stick with pants, breeches, or riding tights to protect your legs from chafing. You also may consider a skin protectant to reduce the risk of chafing.

Q: Can you wear sneakers horseback riding?

Sneakers are never a safe option for horseback riding. Without a heel of at least 1″, your foot can easily get caught, and you risk being dragged by your horse.

Sunny horseback riding

Photo Cred: Canva

Parting Thoughts

Summer offers fantastic opportunities to enjoy your horse! By choosing clothing that promotes your safety and comfort, you will be able to enjoy your horse even more! Always keep the weather in mind when planning your rides.

P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to: 


Staying Hydrated During the Hot Summer Weather | SportMedBC

Prevent Chafing From Horseback Riding – Body Glide®

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About the author


Aimee grew up riding and showing in western pleasure and horsemanship through 4-H. She began riding dressage 7 years ago and is currently training her 3.5-year-old Friesian/Quarter Horse.