Schooling Apparel: How Every Rider Benefits

A woman is riding a brown horse with a sunny background. The horse and rider are facing right. The rider is wearing a black helmet, an orange shirt with blue pants. The horse is wearing a brown bridle with a brown saddle and a multi-color saddle pad.

What is schooling apparel, and why do you want it? Loosely defined, we refer to the class of riding clothes not intended for competition as schooling apparel. It encompasses knee-patch and full-seat breeches, quarter-zip or polo shirts, plus lightweight, streamlined jackets and vests. Why is this clothing desirable for riders as opposed to t-shirts, jeans, any old tight or jacket? The answer is multifaceted: hardworking performance materials, rider-specific design features and equestrian tradition.  

Hardworking Materials

Most of the breeches and riding shirts you’ll find today are made from performance fabrics. These fabrics are constructed or treated to provide breathability, meaning your body heat vapors can escape, and you’re less likely to overheat.

A rider and horse are riding in an arena with palm trees in the background. Both the horse and rider are racing the camera. The rider is wearing a black helmet, aqua shirt, grey pants and black boots. The horse is tan and is wearing a black bridle and saddle, and white polo wraps.

Moisture-wicking action achieved through natural fiber content, a funnel-like weave or a chemical treatment means the fabric moves wetness away from you and the inner surface of the fabric to the outer surface for evaporation. You stay drier, and the fabric never feels heavy or wet. Cooling technology, an enhancement to moisture wicking, actively converts perspiration to a refrigerant while creating a cooling sensation on your skin.

Performance fabrics also promote your athleticism and freedom of movement. They contain some form of elastic fibers, or built-in stretch is achieved through fabric construction so the item can move with your body rather than restrict it.

Lastly, while all fabrics provide some degree of protection from ultraviolet rays, performance fabrics often have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating clearly stating how much sun coverage it will provide. What does UPF50 mean? It indicates that 1/50th of UV rays can penetrate the fabric to reach your skin.  

Rider-Specific Design Features

While breeches, with their grippy knee patches and full seats, are quite obviously made to keep you in the tack, riding shirts, vests and jackets have design features that once you experience, you won’t want to ride without.

A rider with a black helmet, purple shirt, light purple pants and black boots is sitting on a brown horse. There is a woman with dark brown hair, sunglasses, a pink sweater, tan pants, and black boots holding onto the horse's bridle. They are standing in front of a barn facing to the left.

Riding shirts are typically made to provide a streamlined, figure-flattering fit. The fit is more than just attractive—it’s practical. It helps maintain a profile that enables a trainer to clearly see your riding position, and it lies smoothly under a sweater, vest or jacket with no uncomfortable bulk to encumber your riding. Many riding shirts, including polo shirts, have curved or dropped back hems to keep you covered as you move whether the hem is untucked or tucked into your waistband. Zippered plackets on the fronts of many shirts offer quick and easy adjustable ventilation.

Riding vest and jackets also support your in-saddle silhouette with many having a fitted cut, an adjustable waist or a back-waist belt detail. A two-way front zipper, a back riding vent or rear gussets make sitting in the saddle most comfortable. These features allow your outerwear to clear your saddle rather than riding up or catching under your seat. Jackets often have a removable hood or a snap to secure the hood to the back panel to prevent it from flapping.

Equestrian Traditions

Horse sports are steeped in tradition with an emphasis on polished turnout for horse and rider. One tradition is for riders to dress neatly and smartly when schooling at competitions, participating in riding clinics or taking lessons. Avid riders respect themselves and uphold the heritage of their sport by presenting a clean appearance with attention to detail. Shirts are tucked in, belt loops are threaded with belt, boots are polished, breeches are free of stains—and every piece fits well.

These days, dressing like a professional rider doesn’t mean you can’t wear bright colors or head-turning prints. Plenty of styles for schooling and training are available to please every rider, from the fashion-forward, to those who love bold color, to those who appreciate the most classic looks. The key is to choose items that fit and flatter your shape and your riding position and to wear colors and prints with pride.

To expand your equestrian wardrobe, browse our selection of schooling apparel here.

Do you have favorite schooling outfit? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Equestrian Country Boots: Iconic Style with a Punch of Practicality

A pair of legs from the thigh down are shown standing in a grassy field. The person is wearing tall country boots over knee-high socks and blue pants.
A pair of tall country boots made from brown leather and light brown suede. The boots have laces at the top and black tread on the bottom.

If you haven’t experienced country boots yet, November is a good month to pull on a pair. Ruggedly protective and remarkably stylish, this versatile ladies’ footwear takes you anywhere in comfort despite chilly or wet weather. You can traipse through soggy paddocks, exercise your dog, or stroll through a day of window shopping— these distinctive boots keep feet dry while reflecting an enviable equestrian aesthetic. They partner perfectly with breeches, tights and jeans, and some designs even have stirrup-friendly outsoles to allow an impromptu ride.

A step up in casual style from traditional rain or muck boots, lifestyle boots are crafted from a variety of leathers and resilient textiles that stand up to wear and maintain their good looks. Waterproof treatments or waterproof membrane construction keep weather and mud out; inside, technical materials may be used to wick moisture and provide breathability to maintain a dry climate.

A pair of light brown country boots. The boots are mid-calf height with black tread on the bottom.

Outsoles feature long-lasting tread patterns designed to keep you on your feet as weather conditions vary throughout the year. Most in the category are tall boots, but individuals preferring mid-calf or ankle-high styles will not be disappointed with the variety of shorter boots available. And, these great boots come at all price points, ensuring a pair exists to fit every budget.

We love our country boots so much that we offer nearly as many styles of them as we do traditional riding boots and from all the top bootmakers. Here’s why:

  • Timeless: Classic silhouettes and equestrian-inspired details never look out of style.
  • Versatile: They’re hardwearing and easy to wear anywhere from the stable to streets to hiking on trails.
  • Stirrup-friendly: Some models feature outsoles and heels designed for casual riding.
  • Muck or groom: The tall height keeps stall bedding and barn debris out and your feet clean.
  • Closed, hard toes: Naturally tough foot construction is protective if a horse should step on your foot.
  • Deep treads: Lug outsoles provide good traction on slippery footing.
  • Pant legs stay dry and clean: The boots slip on easily over the bottoms of breeches, jeans and tights, creating a cool look and keeping your hems protected.

Most of all, we love our country boots because they’re comfortable. Cushioned insoles, weatherproof construction, and adjustable features such as drawstring cuffs or buckle gussets combine to ensure your feet are pampered during a long day at the barn—or anywhere else life takes you.

Browse our entire selection of country boots here.

Do you have a favorite pair of country boots? Share your photos with us on Instagram and Facebook by tagging @doversaddlery!

Guest Blog: Absorbine Bute-Less® Performance – Why You Should Make the Switch

Managing your horse’s joints as he gets older can be difficult, especially when he can’t always tell you specifically what’s bothering him. If you notice your horse comes out stiff or sore at the beginning of your ride it may be time to invest in a quality joint supplement to help ease his discomfort. An effective and comprehensive supplement to support the stress of daily training and competition will go a long way towards maintaining your horse’s overall comfort all the way through to his retirement.

With so many equine supplements on the market today it can be hard to find an appropriate combination that will address all of your horse’s needs. Hear from Absorbine in their guest blog as they share the testimonial of Brooke and Ellie, a hunter jumper team, and their successful 30-day trial on Absorbine® Bute-Less Performance to learn why you too should make the switch today.

 

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Crofton Discussion: My Horse Moves Well, But Why Don’t I?

Discussions at Dover: My Horse Moves Well, But Why Don’t I?
Thursday, April 24; 6:30 to 7:30 pm

We will discuss:
• Is it you or your horse that is imbalanced?
• What to stretch or strengthen to optimize performance.
• How to correct imbalances through stretching, foam roll and core

Free admission and refreshments, door prizes, $5 gift certificate for every attendee.

Click here for directions!

Branchburg Discussion: Equi-Tape – The First Elastic Kinesiology Athletic Training Tape for the Equine Athlete

Discussions at Dover
Equi-Tape: The First Elastic Kinesiology Athletic Training Tape for the Equine Athlete

Thursday, April 17; 6:30-7:30pm

We will discuss how it works and application techniques.

Free admission and refreshments, door prizes, $5 gift certificate for every attendee.

Click here for store directions & information!

Warrington Discussions: Equine Lameness Exam – What to Expect

Discussions at Dover: Equine Lameness Exam – What to Expect
Thursday, April 17; 6:30-7:30 pm
at our Warrington store!

Presented by: Dr. Joanne Vecchione, VMD, Blauner, Vecchione & Associates

We will discuss the Definition, Diagnosis, Treatment with Existing Therapies and Protocols.

Free admission and refreshments, door prizes, $5 gift certificate for every attendee.

Medina Discussions: Spring Horse Show Prep from a Horse Health Perspective

Discussions at Dover: Springtime Show Prep from a Horse Health Perspective
Thursday 3/27/14, 6:30-7:30 pm

Presented by: Colleen Carter, DVM at Sunset Ridge Equine Veterinary Services

Get Dr. Carter’s opinion on timely details as show season approaches:
• Timing of “Coggins” test
• When to obtain a health certificate to cross state lines
• Best time to float teeth
• Timing of vaccinations

Free admission and refreshments, door prizes, $5 gift certificate for every attendee.

Click here for directions!

DATE CHANGE DUE TO WINTER STORM – Discussions at Dover: English Saddle FittingNorth Kingstown Discussions: Springtime Show Prep from a Horse Health Perspective

Presented by: Ashleigh Crowell, DVM
NEW DATE: Thursday 2/20/14, 6:30-7:30 pm
at our North Kingstown Store

Dover_010614_Dr_ Crowell

Get Dr. Crowell’s opinion on timely details as show season approaches:
• Timing of “Coggins” test
• When to obtain a health certificate to cross state lines
• Best time to float teeth
• Timing of vaccinations

Free admission and refreshments, door prizes, $5 gift certificate for every attendee.

Click here for store directions & hours.

DATE CHANGE DUE TO WINTER STORM – Plaistow Discussions: English Saddle Fitting

Discussions at Dover: English Saddle Fitting
New Date: Thursday, March 13; 6:30-7:30 pm

Presented by: Colin Kimball-Davis, The English Saddler. Colin has been fitting,
adjusting and repairing saddles for two decades. He’ll explain how to:
• Determine if a saddle is correctly balanced
• Identify the many subtleties of discipline-specific saddle fit
• Achieve a quality reflocking job

Free admission and refreshments, door prizes, $5 gift certificate for every attendee.

Click here for directions & store hours!