Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Within the past year, daily horseback riding has become a realistic possibility in our family, as we acquired three horses.

This is a lifelong dream come true for me, and some of my siblings too!  But in a family of girls that choose to only wear skirts/dresses, the question inevitably arises: how do you ride horseback modestly in a skirt?

Before going any further, let me make it clear that I don’t think it’s a sin to wear jeans or to ride a horse in them!  I’m actually a girl that likes to wear *certain pairs of* jeans.  But my personal conviction is that jeans (and pants in general) outline and accentuate parts of a woman’s body that should be kept private.  So when I do wear them, it’s with a skirt over top!

Modesty on horseback is possible.  It can be done, believe me!  It just takes a little creativity sometimes!

Obviously, sidesaddle is one option but personally I don’t care for it too much.  For slow, easy riding, I think it’s great but I don’t like the thought of galloping on horseback without straddling the horse!  With the right training, it might be doable but it just seems dangerous to me!

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Photo Credit

Another option is to wear a long skirt that has enough material to allow one to straddle the horse.  My sisters and I have done this plenty of times and it can work … sometimes … sort of!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

One of the difficulties with wearing a long skirt is that you need one with a lot material in order to not feel like your legs are confined …

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

… as you can see, if your skirt isn’t wide enough, it usually ends up at your knees – not necessarily a problem but definitely not my preference!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

The other problem is that if you are wearing a skirt that is wide enough to hang comfortably, it only works for slower speeds.  If you start into a canter, or even sometimes a trot, it starts working its way loose.  And it certainly isn’t modest or ladylike to be riding with your skirt flying high behind you!  Ask me how I know 😉

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions


The next best option, in my opinion, is to wear pants along with a shorter, knee to calf length, skirt.  My sisters and I use this type of outfit for horseback riding fairly often.  It is probably the most cost-effective option, as we can get skirts and pants for $1 each on certain days at a local thrift store.

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

On a side note, I just want to mention what amazing siblings I have!  Gracie was completely untrained when we first got her and was known to bite and kick whenever she didn’t like something or was in a bad mood. These two, but especially Samuel, have worked miracles with her!  She is now obedient, no longer mean and the crowning touch was when Sam stood on her back with no one holding her lead rope!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

The layers also help keep you nice and warm on wintertime rides!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

This isn’t one of my sisters but she may as well be!  Britney is a very good friend (and skilled horsewoman!) and she also wears the skirt/pants combo when horseback riding.

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

In this case, she was wearing yoga pants and half chaps along with a shorter skirt.

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Wearing pants and a shorter skirt is ideal for easy riding but the drawback is that for faster speeds, the skirt can still ride up.  Of course, you’re still covered because of the pants, but I don’t care for having a flapping skirt, even if it isn’t revealing anything!  And I’m not sure who decided to take Abigail’s picture with only half of her face …

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

… here’s a better one though!  Aren’t they both beauties? 🙂

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions


The best, most practical, modest option I have found yet, is to wear a split skirt or culottes.  I sewed this one years ago and wear it nearly every time I’m working with the horses.

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Maggie was being a bit mischievous … apparently she thought I didn’t need to be in the picture!  I still have the pattern for this western-style skirt – it’s a Butterick 3836, and includes patterns for a matching jacket and blouse.  There are several available for purchase on Etsy.  I can’t find any pictures of me riding in this outfit – I know we have them but I’m not sure where!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Sarah had a very large circle skirt, and she cut and sewed up the middle to use it for a riding skirt as well.  It’s modest but she says that there is so much extra fabric that it is bulky and can be difficult to work around when getting on and off the horse.

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Moral of the story: you don’t need a full circle of fabric to make culottes!  I do like how pretty and feminine hers are though!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Ruthie sewed Lydia’s split skirt and didn’t have a pattern, so she just winged it!  As you can see, it has the fullness of a skirt when she’s standing.

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

But having the split legs helps so much when climbing on and off, not to mention while riding.

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Isn’t she cute?!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

As Lydia was looking over the pictures that I’ve included in this post, she claimed that most of them were not good pictures!  Obviously we haven’t had many fancy photo shoots and I was working with what I had, so if the girls decide to take some professional photos in the future, I’ll be sure to share them!

Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

Do you ride horses?  What do you wear?

One more thing … as we are approaching Mother’s Day, I wanted to share with you this post that I wrote for Shining Stars.  I hope it is a blessing!

mothers day ssm1

7 thoughts on “Horseback Riding: Modest Outfit Examples And Suggestions

  1. Thanks for the lovely photos. The horses are beautiful. I love horses. They are so comforting. I do not ride. My sister and I collect horse figurines and other memorabilia concerning horses.
    Marilyn

  2. Ya’ll look like you’re having so much fun! That’s a little southern drawl from a not so southern place (NY, ha, ha!). Your horses are gorgeous! What a nice blessing.
    So many modest riding ideas! Sounds like you’ve done your fair share of research with different styles to find something you’re comfy with. It can be challenging to dress modestly, but so worth it:-) Thanks for sharing!

  3. This was such a practical and inspiring article. I am visiting family in VT this summer where there are horses to ride. I have a little more confidence now that I will find a comfortable alternative to succumbing to pants in order to ride (I used to own & ride horses when I was young – now I am in my 60’s & almost afraid to get on a horse – but still will!) Loved your article for mothers, too …. such good advice. We really do need to constantly ‘practice’ and exercise ourselves in the fruits of the spirit … even in little things. This is one of the wonderful ways God builds character in us. I just love following your blog, your family. You are all a blessing to me. I learn from you many things that I wish I had known earlier in life. Thank you.

  4. Oh, I miss my horse. I leased a Standardbred mare from a friend for a year, and had so much fun with her. I do think horseback riding is one place where safety and modesty trump skirts. I can’t imagine trying to ride astride in a skirt, and getting thrown or bucked off, or even falling, especially if the skirt got caught and tore, or tangled in the stirrups or around the horn or cantle (though I always rode English, so there was less concern for that.) Not to mention, riding through brush in a skirt would probably be painful. I always used jeans and a long-ish top; sometimes half-chaps if we were going through rough terrain.

    Someday I would love to learn how to ride sidesaddle. It looks incredibly elegant, and it would probably be an excellent way to improve one’s seat and balance.

  5. Thanks for the modest info! As an Australia muslim women who doesn’t wear pants this helped shine alight on outfit options for an upcoming family horseriding excursion!
    Bless

  6. I would encourage everyone on horseback to wear a helmet though, especially on new and untrained horses. I’ve gone without a helmet a few times in my life, but horses can be unpredictable and a helmet can be life saving. 🙂
    The horses are beautiful!

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