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Ranch riding attire

I’m a HJ and dressage rider who is looking at trying ranch riding. I’ve found a local trainer to lesson with, they do local and regional shows too.
I’ve been watching lots of videos etc and read some show rules. But want to ask here: What type of attire is expected, allowed, fun for schooling and showing? What do you like to use? Pants, boots, shirts? I’m talking human only. I’m also worried about rocking the boat bc I’ve ridden tens of thousands of times, never without a helmet. I really hope that won’t be an issue. Any insights?

I have shown AQHA Ranch Horse in the past few years, and I wear my helmet. I’m usually the only one wearing a helmet and we do tend to get decent class sizes (about 25 entries per class). I don’t feel my helmet has ever hurt my placings.

Last year, my horse actually won a ton of classes at our state fair AQHA show. I’ve attached a picture of our normal getup.

I wear chaps because I have them but they are not required.
Jeans, boots, and a nice button-down western shirt is all you need. Belt buckle optional.
You want PLAIN items. No silver. No sparkle. No bling.
Bright colors are okay, and I choose to do them, but neutral colors are fine too.

You can go on Youtube and good the AQHA ranch horse classes and you’ll see lots of outfit ideas.

Wear your helmet. You’ll be fine. (No one cares.)


Agree with beau159. I wear chinks and jeans, with bright shirts or a denim shirt with vest if it’s cold. I also just use a work pad, even at a big show. I have Paints and they’re flashy enough!

The ranch classes are so much fun. The exhibitors are just a different bunch from the all-around riders. The ranch exhibitors cheer for each other, and it’s pretty refreshing. Don’t get me wrong, they want to win. The Paint World Show is on now and one of the Ranch classes has over 100 entries. They’re far and away the most popular classes now, QH or APHA. Working tack, regular and affordable clothes, fun patterns and challenging obstacles.

Of course there are people trying to “fancy up” the ranch division. Big name saddle makers are marketing special “ranch saddles”. So far the majority have held out and kept it more realistic. I hope that can continue.


Thank you both for the replies! I’m excited to take a few lessons and see where it goes. I’ve never been big into colors or sparkles but I’d love some amazing chaps!

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Wear a helmet.

This is my outfit for working equitation or ranch; this happened to be at a WE show. I have a nice white Wrangler button up shirt as well if it’s SUPER hot (and proper western spurs now). I don’t keep the white shirt clean for very long though :grimacing: I also strongly encourage a helmet.

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Chinks seem to be more popular for the ranch classes, while working cow/reining is chaps. I agree with everyone else, there’s no need for them if you’re just starting. I don’t wear a helmet personally, but I can’t imagine it would hinder your placings at all.
I like my Anderson Bean boots, I think square toe tends to be more trendy. Some people do lean more to the tall top boots with jeans tucked in under their chinks. There’s room to have fun with it!

Here’s a gallery from an ORHA show: https://www.rebeccabeattyequinephotography.com/horse-shows

CR Ranchwear is kind of pricey, but they have a $99 sale every year for black Friday. Custom Collars Boutique has really nice options too if you’re more on the AQHA ranch side. They’ve got one on super sale that I’m really tempted by right now.

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