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Best riding jackets: Stylish and practical protection from the elements

best riding jackets Horseware
(Image credit: Horseware)

There is so much choice when it comes to picking out the best riding jackets – gone are the days of everyone wearing the same plain, unflattering blousons – which is great news! Style has become much more important and these days a variety of good-quality jackets boast a wide range of technical fabrics and features, too. These range from reflective thermal linings to hidden magnetic closure strips, and it all goes towards helping to keep you comfortable and allowing you to perform at your best. 

You could double up and wear your general yard jacket when you’re riding, too, but it’s unlikely to be designed and constructed for use in the saddle so it’s definitely worth investing in a separate one. Not only will a good fit allow you to move freely, it’ll make you feel confident too, which can only do good things for your riding. Whether you’re looking for something to keep you dry while you hack out once a week, or something to wear at your next jumping clinic, our picks will provide you with a range of options and styles for every type of rider – we’ve covered all the angles.

1. Horseware technical riding jacket: Best overall riding jacket

best riding jackets Horseware

(Image credit: Horseware)

Horseware technical riding jacket

A flattering and functional winter riding jacket

Outer material: Waterproof | Hood: Detachable | Color options: 2 | Smallest size: XS | Largest size: 4XL

Made of recycled materials
Flattering cut
No mention of inside pockets

New for autumn/winter 2020, the Horseware technical riding jacket is a functional choice that is still stylish and flattering. The main body of the jacket is made from recycled waterproof fabric and recycled polyester padding, which is a great use of modern technology in a world where so much is wasted. The outer part of the jacket has been treated with a durable water-repellent coating, which helps rain run off rather than soak into the material, and it has taped seams to keep water out. The cut is designed to flatter the female figure while also allowing for freedom of movement for optimum performance, and the dipped hem at the back provides extra coverage when riding. The jacket is available in a choice of two stylish colors – navy or fig – and in sizes XS–4XL.

It features a detachable and adjustable hood – it’s great to have a detachable hood as many riders prefer to ride without one for safety reasons, but it’s also really handy to have when you’re on the yard. The two-way centred zip on the front allows you to open the zip from the bottom for increased comfort in the saddle, especially if you’re shorter in the back. It also has a chin guard and stand-up collar with a cosy ribbed interior for added comfort. The jacket features two waterproof and fleece-lined pockets, which are also zipped for added security, and extended soft cuffs with a thumbhole, which will help to keep your hands warm while you’re out and about. It’s machine washable – an essential for any item that goes to the yard.

2. Shires Aubrion Bayswater light jacket: Best budget riding jacket

best riding jackets Shires

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Shires Aubrion Bayswater light jacket

A warm light-duty riding jacket that comes at the lower end of the price range

Outer material: Showerproof | Hood: None | Color options: 1 | Smallest size: XXS | Largest size: XXL

Great for layering
Less expensive
Light but warm
Not waterproof

Good riding jackets are never cheap – so if you come across one that’s a real budget option, it’s probably not going to be worth it in the long run. This jacket, however, is fairly priced and comes in at a lower cost than many of the others we’ve looked at. This is likely to be due to the lack of technical properties this jacket has – for example, it’s not waterproof – but if you’re not after a waterproof jacket and just want something that will keep you warm or protected in a light shower, then you don’t need to spend the extra. This jacket would be best suited to riding indoors throughout the year or outdoors when the weather is fine.

This jacket is a combination of stretch softshell and padded panels. It has light insulation, so isn’t bulky but will keep you warm – great for varying temperatures in the spring and fall, especially as it would layer nicely under a heavier or waterproof jacket for wearing on the yard. The Bayswater jacket features a dipped back hem for a flattering fit, as well as breathable elastic cuffs, a two-way zip and two zipped hand pockets. It doesn’t have a hood but, if you’re only really wearing it for riding, this is a good thing as it’s safer and you’ll have a helmet on anyway. It’s only available in navy in the US – but that goes with almost anything – whereas if you’re reading from the UK there is also a coral option, and in sizes XXS–XXL.

3. My LeMieux Loire winter riding coat: Best long riding jacket

best riding jackets Loire Winter

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My LeMieux Loire winter riding coat

A super-stylish long winter riding coat

Outer material: Water resistant | Hood: Detachable | Color options: 2 | Smallest size: US 4/UK 6 | Largest size: US 14/UK 16

Magnetic back opening
Eco-friendly filling
Very stylish
Not so suited to riding

This long riding jacket is particularly stylish and is designed especially for riding. It’s tailored through the body and has side fillets that give a subtle stretch, keeping you comfortable and offering freedom of movement. It’s filled with an eco-friendly synthetic filling, which has the warmth of down but doesn’t ball up or flatten, even after washing. Like most coats of this style, it’s water resistant rather than waterproof, but the outer material is durable, snag-proof and can cope with light rain. It has soft, storm-proof cuffs, so if you do get caught in a shower the rain’s not getting in via your arms. It also has useful exterior and interior pockets.

Where most long coats have a rear flap that is secured with a zip or poppers and allows you to be comfortable while sat on your horse, this jacket has a discreet magnetic opening so as not to risk scratching your saddle. It also has a durable two-way easy-run zip on the front, which makes it easier for you to sit comfortably as well as protecting your saddle from snags. 

It has a generous detachable hood, which has a removable faux fur trim, giving you a really versatile look. This jacket is ideal for riding, but also smart enough to make it more than passable to wear at the mall. Extra fleece lining on the back, pockets and collar make it the perfect option for wearing at a chilly showground, whether you’re having a day out spectating or need something to throw on between classes.

The extra length of this coat really goes a long way to keeping you warm, especially with the extra protection it gives your legs while you’re riding. Being quite so long it’s more suited to flatwork and hacking, but there are shorter versions of this style available, too, if that’s what you prefer. This jacket is available in navy or brown – both of which will pair well with most outfits – and in sizes 4 to 14.

4. Weatherbeeta Tania jacket: Best waterproof riding jacket 

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Weatherbeeta Tania jacket

Keep dry in this warm and waterproof jacket

Outer material: Waterproof | Hood: Integrated | Color options: 1 | Smallest size: XXS | Largest size: XXL

Thermal lining
Only available in black
Hood does not detach

This jacket is full of technical features. It covers the basics for a good outdoor riding jacket – waterproof, windproof and breathable, with taped seams, waterproof zips and lined inner quilting for good measure. What really makes this jacket stand out from other similar waterproof riding jackets is the Thermi-heat lining, which utilizes thermal reflection to help maintain warmth and prevent heat loss – a fantastic feature for the winter months as riding in too many layers can hamper your performance. The underarm zip vents have technical mesh inserts, which allows the jacket to help regulate your temperature when you’re riding. 

The quilted hood isn’t detachable, which generally means it sits and looks better, but many riders prefer to ride without one from a safety point of view. The jacket is machine washable, which is handy as any jacket worn to the yard is likely to become dirty pretty quickly.  

5. Ariat Team softshell jacket

best riding jackets Ariat

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Ariat Team softshell jacket

Stay smart in the saddle with this softshell jacket

Outer material: Water resistant | Hood: None | Color options: 10 | Smallest size: XS | Largest size: XXL

Lots of colour options
Flattering fit
Two zipped pockets
Runs small
Not waterproof

This jacket has quite a sporty and stylish look, and there are plenty of colours to choose from, meaning there’s something for everyone. It’s one of Ariat’s core items that is back season after season as it’s so popular, and this also means there are often new updated colorways added, too. 

It’s by no means the most practical jacket you can find, but you’ve got to remember that it’s not meant to be a yard jacket, it’s designed for riding – it’s a stylish option that still stands up to the job of being a technical sports jacket. It’s made of a softshell stretch nylon material with a microfleece backing, which provides breathability and great heat retention – this jacket is warmer than it looks. It’s also wind and water resistant, making it a good option for a cooler day. Like most jackets designed for wearing in the saddle, the hem hangs lower at the back to give you a bit of extra protection while you’re moving about. It has a standing collar, which adds style while giving your neck that extra bit of coverage, and two well-placed zipped hand pockets.

One thing that comes up time and time again in reviews is that this jacket runs small. Its flattering cut is designed to be fairly slim fitting and not to be worn with chunky layers underneath, but most purchasers found they needed to size up for a good fit, but found the arms and body to be of good lengths.

6. Kerrits Elevation coat

best riding jackets Kerrit's

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Kerrits Elevation coat

Smart, stylish and practical – this coat has everything

Outer material: Water resistant | Hood: Integrated | Color options: 3 | Smallest size: XS | Largest size: XXL

Three smart colorways
Zipped tail split
One years guarantee
Looks waterproof but only water resistant

This smart wind and water-resistant jacket gives a nice balance between practical yardwear and style. It has a flattering and feminine shape, and is embossed with a chevron design, which gives it a more interesting look than some other jackets on the market. It’s available in three colors – black, purple and a blue-grey – which all look equally smart. The hood is integrated, so can’t be detached, but it has a toggle so you can cinch it in to block out any bad weather and keep the warmth in.

The longer three-quarter length is elegant but more importantly provides extra protection to your upper leg while you’re in the saddle. It has a cosy fleece-lined interior, making it more than just a rain jacket – it should keep you warm, too. Like most riding jackets it has a two-way front zip and the split tail also zips open, which is easier than poppers. It has two front pockets, which are also zipped, so you don’t have to worry about losing anything on your ride.

This jacket comes with a year’s guarantee – not something you see very often, so definitely an added bonus!

How to choose the best riding jacket

The first and most important thing to consider when you’re choosing a new riding jacket is what sort of riding you’re doing. If you spend most of your time in an indoor arena you’ll have a very different list of priority features to someone who is hacking out in all weather conditions. Ask yourself the following questions… Does it need to be waterproof? Are you working hard and likely to get warm quite quickly? Do you need to fit layers underneath? Will you be wearing it to complete yard chores, too? 

Once you’ve settled on a general style – long, short, waterproof or padded – make a shortlist of jackets you like the look of and check what features they have. Zipped pockets are really handy, as is a detachable hood, but it’s worthwhile checking whether the jackets have a split back and how this is fastened too. The more technical the material and the more features it has, the more expensive it’s likely to be, so consider what’s a must-have and what's more desirable when it comes to making your list. If you make the right choice when buying a riding jacket it can be a fantastic investment and you won’t look back!