Horseback riding in shorts?

Judging by the videos I see on YouTube, lots of people ride their horses in shorts during the summer. Okay, it’s an appealing idea and maybe a way to stay cool.

But in my experience is so darn uncomfortable! I’ve tried riding with full chaps (too hot and sticky, and if you zip wrong, it’s incredibly painful), half chaps (it’s okay but from the knee up, I find it’s too sticky and uncomfortable and my legs get chafed, with either a bareback pad or a saddle); no chaps (that’s really uncomfortable as the insides of my calves were rubbed raw).

So, what’s the trick? Let me on on your secrets!

13 thoughts on “Horseback riding in shorts?

  1. I have ridden in shorts when riding in my cordura (synthetic) saddle. Leather rubs too much when you get sweaty. And I won’t ride into the trees in shorts!

    Also have a pair of denim capri pants that seem to work okay for just dinking around. Anyway to beat the heat.

    When we are on a long ride though, it’s jeans or breeches. Would hate to get sore and have a long way to get home for some relief!

  2. Full sheepskin pad is the answer. I train in my running shorts sometimes (because it’s hilly and I plan on dismounting and getting a good workout too) but I’ve never actually done a ride in them. I don’t like the extra layer between me and the saddle for 50+ miles, the close contact feel of the tights and saddle is what I like best. I find that tights dissapate heat almost as well of as the shorts and give more insect/poisonous plant protection.

  3. I definetly agree. I can’t ride in shorts either with a saddle, but all the time I do it bareback. My trick is to wear comfortable shorts that don’t ride up, I think atletic or running shorts are the most comfortable. As for riding in shorts in a saddle, I’d personally stick to long pants 🙂

    1. I have a synthetic saddle & ride in shorts all the time. I usually don’t ride more than 2-2 1/2 hrs. Knock wood, I’ve never had a problem.

      1. Please note this is a very old post, so you may not get a reply about the summer chaps. What I currently do is put sheepskin stirrup leather covers on. No need for chaps!

  4. Riding in shorts is generally NOT a good idea but the hot, humid summers of Virginia can drive you to try just about anything. Luckily, there have been great advancements in equestrian riding apparel over the years and you can now purchase lightweight, moisture-wicking riding breeches and other horse riding clothing to help make the experience more comfortable.

  5. So i just ordered these cool fleeve stirrup covers from stateline tack… now it is originally for aulstralian saddles but you can always cut them to your english saddled stirrup leather length i think its the best idea. so your legs dont get overly pinch!

  6. I have had some saddles that rub and some that don’t… but recently I’ll jump 3ft in nothing but sophie’s and hald chaps… If you have a strong grip with your legs you shouldnt chaff… I use Adidas soccer shorts too… I think its comfortable. But I’ve had some bad rubs before…

  7. I have just set up a company which aims to provide comfort and protection when riding in shorts! I call them Summer Chaps!!! They are currently a massive hit abroad where the sun is always shining and this summer been popular around the UK too! A lot of new riders are put off by the discomfort of horse riding, when they haven’t got the proper leg wear chaffing is caused through tracksuits and even jeans! Hopefully this will ease the pain of skin iritation for begginers, unfortunatly I have not yet mastered the art of protection against muscular ache!!

    1. Hi, I have been reading your comments on horseriding in shorts and I have also set up a company for a ‘Saddle Jess’ which can be found on ebay or by contacting, this is a pad which velcro’s to the stirrup leather and the d ring to cushion your leg so that riding in shorts is comfortable – it currently retails at £19.99, I have tried and tested them for two years now and they are fantastic for riding at any speed and jumping!

  8. Where can one buy Summer Chaps? Do you have a photo online somewhere?

    We are marketing “BAreback Shorts” here in Austin that are nylon/lycra stule bicycle shorts with a washable suede-like fabric on the seat and inner legs, like riding britches, only shorts.

    Here’s a link with photos:

    No chaffing and they work bareback or with a saddle to keep you secure on your horse with no slipping around to cause chaffing.

    Also great for riding horses in a lake and staying on when they come out all wet and slippery:-)

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