Horse Riding and Work Gloves
 By Saferaphus   •   8th Aug 2017   •   572 views   •   0 comments

They may seem like a small detail. And you might think they look a little silly. But a pair of riding gloves may make your ride safer and more comfortable. Gloves protect your hands and they give you better grip. In competition, gloves are part of good presentation. And, the good thing about gloves, unlike many other pieces of horse equipment is that they arenít very expensive.

If you ride a horse that pulls at all, gloves can help keep your hands from getting as tired and rubbed as they might get without. Or if you get caught in the rain with leather reins, gloves can provide you with extra grip. Eventers probably wouldnít think of riding without gloves and if you drive your horse or a team, gloves are a good idea. If you ride a lot and donít like the idea of calluses on your hands, a good pair of gloves will solve that problem.

Gloves increase your hand strength. That is, as long as they fit. Too tight and theyíll be uncomfortable and cause rubbing. Too loose, and they can decrease your strength and dexterity as you struggle to keep them on. So, youíll want to find a pair that fits. That means you can get your hand in them, thereís not a lot of extra fabric, the fingers are the right length and width, and the wrist fits snugly, without binding.

At home, schooling gloves, those little black or colored ones with the rubber dots can be found for less than $10. The downside of these is that if you ride a lot, you will probably wear them through quickly. This is especially so if you also use them when youíre working in the barn. Those little rubber dots work really well when youíre picking up square bags of shavings. So, you might want a light pair of leather work gloves for that sort of thing, and save your riding gloves exclusively for riding. One of the challenges with the less expensive type is that they can be floppy. And if youíre fingers are long, youíll probably wear through the ends of the fingers in a short time. So, you have to balance fit with the cost, as the really cheap gloves might not work for you.

Also great for riding are the colorful gloves with neoprene palms. If you canít find what you like at a tack shop, head to store catering to mechanics. Here youíll find colorful gloves, made for good Ďtouchí and dexterity that will likely cost less than the tack store equivalent. There just wonít be any equestrian style branding on them. Donít worry that there is no little extra patch of fabric or leather between the baby and ring finger. Iíve found on some gloves, it just adds unwanted bulk anyway.

I can remember riding in the winter, and coming in with my hands so cold I couldnít undo the bridle buckles. I donít do that anymore. There are lots of winter riding gloves made of windproof, water resistant and warm textiles. There are a few battery heated gloves available too.

For wearing in the show ring, youíll probably want a pair that blends in with your jacket or top. Wearing brightly contrasted or white gloves will call attention to your hands. That might be fine if youíre a top level rider whose hands are in perfect control. But the rest of us might not want the judge to notice those little mistakes we make, or the extra bounce we take when we donít quite move with our horse the way we want to. So black or dark brown make sense. For lower levels, especially in the summer time, string gloves, or gloves that are string with leather palms are fine. As you progress, youíll want leather gloves, and if itís in your budget, custom made gloves give the ultimate fit. Bespoke leather gloves are about $250. But, like any good quality leather item, they are an investment and with care, should last a very long time.
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