What should I wear when schooling my horse?
Dressing for a schooling session need not be expensive and nowadays finding suitable clothing is not usually a problem but only if you know exactly what you need. If you don’t know what you need, avoid costly mistakes by reading Kim’s blog on Back to School for the rider…
‘Your boots are made for …schooling!’
Next to a helmet, your riding boots are the most important part of your kit. Although there is no official safety standards for boots, a pair with a 1 to 1 ½ inch heel and low tread are the best. The decision to wear long or short riding boots is one of purely personal preference. Traditional dress boots, those tall black boots you see in old British hunting scenes, are still commonly worn for schooling as are field boots. Field boots look like dress boots, but have a lace up over the instep. I find either are great for schooling in the Autumn/Winter as they can be a bit warm. Jodhpur or paddock boots are short riding boots that only go up the ankle. They’re worn with chaps or ‘gaiters’ as some people call them. I ride in these in the summer as I find them much cooler and you can take the chaps off after you’ve schooled for a bit of fresh air! Half chaps need to be as ‘tight as a glove’. They usually zip up the back or the side and must be very snug so you can properly feel the horse against your leg. They’ll protect your legs in the same way that long riding boots do. Even if you’re ‘only’ schooling do ensure that your chaps are the same colour as your boots please!
Stay cool on top!
You may think you have a suitable t-shirt or sweat shirt but have you? Think about how hot you get when you’re schooling. So my suggestion would be to go for tops or polo shirts that are made from a ‘technical fabric’. These tend to wick away the moisture that is created when you sweat. This means that you’ll be able to concentrate on your riding more as you won’t be worried about being hot! I like Tredstep’s Symphony Futura Sport Top for this time of the year.
Best of breeches to you!
You may ask what’s the best breech for schooling? I hate to answer a question with another question but what type of schooling are you doing? If you’re doing flatwork, a full seat breech is preferable as these have an insert that runs from below the waist at the back of the breech, across the seat and down the inside of both legs. This gives fuller protection from rubbing than a knee patch breech that has reinforced areas only above and below the knee area. I like the Horze Grand Prix Full Seat Breeches, especially as they’re such great value. Knee patch breeches are a basic "must have" item for anyone riding on a close contact, all purpose, or forward seat saddle. If you’re riding on a close contact, all purpose or a forward seat, knee patch breeches are a ‘must have’. My fave knee patch breech is the Tredstep Nero.
A good pair of riding gloves is essential. Close-fitting ones with grips on the rein fingers will improve your grip when you’re schooling as we all know that it’s imperative that no matter what, you have a consistent contact. They’ll not only protect your hands, but also keep them warm in the winter. I always school with gloves and am amazed by people who don’t! For years I’ve worn Roeckl gloves but recently I’ve been lured away by Tredstep's fabulous range of riding gloves designed for each discipline.
But not quite!
Don’t forget your riding socks! Long or short are fine but again consider those with technical properties such as the Kingsland socks that have the CoolMax technology. These coolmax socks manage any moisture that accumulates in the foot, keeping you cool and comfortable which means, once again, you can really concentrate on your schooling.
Did you find this article interesting?
If so, why not read the second part of this two part blog, what should my horse wear when schooling?