When it comes to horseback riding, what you wear has an effect both on how you look and how comfortable and protected you are. When it comes to controlling the horse, your hands play the most vital role, which is why it is paramount that you equip yourself with some proper equestrian gloves. Ordinary gloves have the tendency to get too slippery and you won’t be able to hold onto the reins firmly, which is why you shouldn’t even consider it as an option. No matter your plan regarding where to buy equestrian clothing from (online or from a physical store), you must know a thing or two about the different types so that you can confidently look for the properties you can really make use of.
It’s kind of a general consensus when it comes to equestrian clothing that the best riding gloves are those made of leather . Apart from being durable and warm, they are also the most appealing material choice which can give off a smart and professional vibe – quite suitable for competitions.
Spandex and Lycra are the first choice for those who don’t want to use leather for whatever reason. Their greatest benefit is the ability to provide a close fit, and some users say that they can even make one feel like they’re not wearing gloves at all. They usually feature rip dots (made from rubber) the purpose of which is to ensure that your hands don’t slip when you’re holding the reins in your grip.
Another possible choice is cotton or wool mix gloves. These are the easiest to wash, but they do come with certain drawbacks. For instance, they can get wet and cold quite easily and are not very durable. Regardless of the fabric you choose, remember that you’ll have to break the gloves in. This is especially important if they are made from leather.
The rubber dots on the palms and fingers mentioned earlier are one of the most important features to look for as this is what can ensure you have a firm grip on the reins. In fact, it can even be considered dangerous to ride with gloves (especially those made of wool and Lycra) that don’t include these dots on the palms.
Some riding gloves feature a wrist closure which may come with a buckle or simply a Velcro fastening. The purpose of this is to ensure a secure fit, but it can also make the gloves look more appealing.
There are some equestrian gloves that come with an extra patch between the little finger and ring finger and that’s where you should place the reins sit for extra reinforcement.
Summer vs Winter
Although some people think that it’s a bit odd to be wearing gloves during the summer heat, experienced riders know that the hands still need protection from the reins, especially when jumping. What’s more, today’s gloves that are designed for that purpose are made of breathable materials which render these pieces of equestrian clothing a lot more comfortable. If you have competitions or shows to attend in the summer, such gloves can provide you with protection and simply complete your look. Make sure to check whether it is mandatory to wear white or light coloured gloves since dressage competitions have certain rules everyone must abide to.
During wintertime, your focus should be on keeping your hands warm because when your hands are cold, it’s impossible to properly hold on to the reins. That being said, you need to look for good thermal properties and quality insulating materials. The gloves also need to be windproof and waterproof. However, this doesn’t mean that breathable materials can’t serve a purpose as well as this type can prevent moisture from lingering inside your gloves and making you uncomfortable.
Regardless of the type of equestrian gloves you choose, it’s of paramount importance that you clean them often and thoroughly, much like any other piece of your riding equipment. Needless to say, dirt will easily build up and the gloves made of leather are prone to cracking that way. Non-leather gloves, on the other hand, can turn quite slippery and smelly if not maintained properly. These should also be machine washable, unlike leather, which can be wiped clean. If you have chosen spandex gloves, just make sure to do a quick rinse after you use them as this way you will remove most of the dirt and prevent stubborn marks.