A Man’s Dressing Guide for Horse Shows

Posted by Mary’s Tack & Feed on 15th Feb 2024

A Man’s Dressing Guide for Horse Shows

Discover some helpful hints and ideas about what male horseback riders should and can wear to a horse show in our men’s dressing guide for horse shows. We’ll cover the basics from head to toe for Western horse shows, along with English horse-riding show apparel. Find the best equestrian wear for your event, from men’s English riding boots, jumping attire, plus a variety of shirts, jeans, jackets and belts.

Men’s Riding Apparel

Dressing for a horse show entails adding a bit more polish to your everyday riding attire. While out for a trail ride or working a ranch, Western jeans for roping and riding and an insulated shirt might be the norm, but you’ll want something a little fancier when riding in an event.

Of course, when taking part in reining or working cow horse competitions, functional clothing will likely lean more toward the casual side – when compared to the apparel of an English rider competing in dressage, hunter or jumper events.

Western Horse Show Men’s Attire

As you contemplate what to wear to a Western horse show, make sure you know what's allowed in the official rules at the particular show you’ll be attending, as well as what specific event you’ll take part in.

For halter showmanship events and in-hand competitions, when riders are in the ring with their horses but not mounted, classic Western apparel sensibility works best. You’ll want to represent  a dapper cowboy image with clean pressed Western jeans, a crisp button-down long-sleeve shirt and a quality Western cowboy hat. You’ll also want to wear your spiffiest pair of Western boots, with a classy-looking leather belt and a polished buckle to complete your outfit.

When it comes time to ride your horse in cutting, roping, or Western dressage, you'll want to look your best. Naturally, you’ll also need clothing you’re comfortable working in. Start off your ensemble with leather or lightweight ultra-suede Western riding chaps for show with pressed Western jeans underneath. Try to match the colors of your chaps with your saddle and saddle pad. An attractive but functional pair of Western riding boots for men is a must as well.

A traditional wild rag scarf tied in a basic square knot is the perfect finishing accent to your working cowboy style. While you’ll dress slightly more casually for events requiring more physically demanding tasks, classy Western hats, belts and polished Western buckles are still the way to go when working out what to wear to a Western horse show.

English Riding Apparel for Men

English riding apparel and jumper show attire evolved from a different type of riding so will naturally look different from Western horse show fashion.

At its core, English riding attire for men requires a more formal approach. You’ll swap those pressed Western jeans for men’s breeches. You’ll also need to invest in men’s technical long-sleeve show shirts (typically with white collars and cuffs), as well as one or two equestrian show jackets – depending on the events you’ll be taking part in. A key element to completing an English riding show outfit is a handsome pair of English riding boots for men. English tall boots are designed specifically for riding in an English saddle and are based on functional footwear for the military and hunting. Modern English show boots are highly technical and comfortable as well as handsome. Adding the perfect tie, belt and gloves will set your style apart in the show ring.

English and Western Show Riding Apparel

Whether competing in English or Western riding disciplines, you’ll need to pay attention to the clothing you wear. While a crisp men’s blue plaid shirt might look great at a Western horse show, it would be out of place at event where everyone else is kitted out in English riding apparel. The same could be said for cowboys donning men’s English riding boots or breeches at a roping or reining event. The key here is to focus on the “fashion” standards for the style of show you’ll be riding in. Then opt for the appropriate modern, comfortable and practical apparel and riding accessories that will let you dress for show ring success.