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  • Riding out & hacking


Wearing gloves when riding or handling horses can benefit our ability to keep a grip on the reins or lead rope, should your horse become overly strong and try and pull away.

  • Last reviewed: 9th June 2022
BHS WELLINGTON 170717 6759 BHS WELLINGTON 170717 6759

Gloves are made from different materials and it’s important that, whichever material you choose, they’re a comfortable fit. Your hands need to remain at the correct temperature to help you grip effectively, especially in wet weather conditions. A horse with a sweaty neck, or wet non-grip reins may present a problem if you’re not wearing gloves as this can affect your ability to hold onto the reins.

What to consider when buying your gloves

  • Look for a breathable material. 
  • Gloves should be sturdy and able to withstand regular washing. 
  • Look for an inexpensive pair of close-fitting gloves for your first riding lesson as this will help you learn how to correctly hold the reins and protect your fingers if you have not held reins or ridden before. 
  • For your first few lessons, a pair that stretch to fit with small pimples to aid grip on the palms would be most suitable.  
When riding

It’s important your gloves aren’t too bulky in terms of the material and the size. If the material is too thick, or the palm side too slippery, then this may lessen your grip and your ability to ‘feel’ the rein. Professional riders often choose bespoke riding gloves to complement the reins they use; some will prefer thin leather gloves with thicker leather across areas where the reins rest, whereas others opt for other materials or for a pair that provides additional grip on the palm side.

When handling

Wearing gloves when leading, lungeing or handling horses outside of a stabled environment will help you maintain control, minimise rope burns and help avoid your horse unintentionally becoming loose. As with riding, gloves should have a firm grip and the material shouldn’t be too bulky as you will need to be able to make small adjustments such as quickly adjusting a buckle, while wearing them. If you’re grooming or health checking your horse however, gloves may prevent you ‘feeling’ the skin, when checking for heat or swellings.

When participating in BHS assessments

Gloves are required for all assessments, although they should be removed for tasks such as grooming and fitting tack. 

When participating in competitions

Gloves are commonly worn when competing across the differing disciplines with some stating gloves are compulsory with restrictions on colour. Always check the relevant rule book before the day of your competition.