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What is the best top for horse riding?

Posted on 16 March 2017 by Kim

Best horse riding tops for spring

You might think that the answer to this question is: it depends on the time of year. To some degree it does but now there is type of top that is the best top all year round. Do you know what it is? It's the Base Layer. Read on to find out about this increasingly popular item in an equestrian wardrobe and why.

What is a Base Layer?

A Base Layer, as its name suggests, is the first layer of clothing you wear against your skin before you put on any other layers. It is the “base” of your outfit.

Typically, a good base layer, is made of a synthetic fabric that wicks sweat away from your body. And it is for this reason that base layers are often referred as “technical” items of clothing.

When should I wear one?

They’re suitable to wear all year round. In winter, it performs the function its name suggests, ie a base layer under other layers; in spring,summer and autumn it can be worn as a top layer. What other equestrian item of clothing is as versatile as this? It makes it great value for money.

So why should I wear one?

In the cold weather, a base layer keeps you warm. It does this in two ways. Firstly, it provides an extra layer of insulation. Secondly, it will wick sweat away from your skin, so you stay dry and comfortable.

In hot weather, they can block the suns ultra violet rays, like this one from Noble Outfitters that comes in a range of great colours and blocks out 98% of the sun's rays.

You may find that some riding schools some riding schools insist that a long-sleeved top is worn when hacking out as it provides some degree of protection in the event of a fall. The base layer is a good choice in this scenario.


To do its job, a base layer should be snug against your skin. A loose fit base layer will just bunch up, making it uncomfortable and unable to function very well.

So most are a no-nonsense, figure hugging style that makes you feel secure when you’ve got it on. Consequently, they’re highly shaped and more often that you might think, they complement practically all figures well. If, like me, you’re worried about wearing a tight-fitting top, simply pop a gilet over the top of it to create a layered look.

Shires Beijing Base Layer Top

 So what about the “Neck Line”

Base Layers come in two types of neck line: the crew or the turtle neck. A crew neck fits along the base of the neckline and is collarless. So, everyone with a long and thin or regular neck has a winner here as do women with smaller busts. This neckline is not a good choice for women with a short, wide neck or women with a bigger chest.

The turtle neck has a high collar and usually has a 6" or 30 cms zip. This style's not great for a short, wide neck, but should be worn instead by women with a long, thin, or regular neck. It’s also great for women with a small chest, whether you have a long or short décolleté.

Noble Outfitters Hailey Long Sleeved Crew Riding Top Noble Outfitters Lauren Quarter Zip Mock Top

Add a Touch of Colour

Add colour and life back into your wardrobe and brighten up your look with some colour. This season we’ve got a stunning range of colours that’ll give you a cheerful, happy, and fresh look. Some have even got a touch of a floral pattern on them which is perfect for spring.

Noble Outfitters Lauren Quarter Zip Mock Top  Noble Outfitters Ashley Long Sleeved Riding TopNoble Outfitters Hailey Long Sleeved Crew Riding Top 

Stock up on neutrals

While spring is all about colour, you still need a good stock of neutrals to match things with. Neutral tops also carry over well into other seasons and this makes them a worthwhile investment. Neutral colours include grey, navy and white.

Noble Outfitters Lauren Quarter Zip Mock Top Noble Outfitters Hailey Long Sleeved Crew Riding Top


What’s the take home message?

Base layers are great value and now they come in a great range of colours and neutrals so that you can team them with any existing riding clothes that you’ve already got. If you haven’t tried one yet, treat yourself to one and let me know what you think of it.

Shop horse riding tops online


Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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