Dress for the job you want, not the job you have – a well-known saying. However, when it comes to the sports industry and horse riding in particular, performing at your best isn’t just about looking sharp. The clothing that you choose to ride in can significantly affect your performance in the saddle.
It’s proven that technical clothing can assist you to perform (ride) at your best. Of course, we know that horse riding is a combination of physical skill and psychology but many elite riders in various disciplines agree that the correct performance wear can help you perform at peak level.
Enclothed Cognition is a term that was coined in 2012 and describes the effect in which clothing choice has on an individual’s psychology and the way in which they think, feel and function. The systematic influence that clothes have on psychological process is part of a wider investigation that considers how humans think with both their brains and their bodies; something that riders can relate to.
Let’s consider the psychological benefits of wearing the right riding apparel. Studies have shown that the phenomenon of ‘enclothed Cognition’ extents to sportswear; increased confidence when you look good and feel supported can go a long way in the show ring.
With the right gear, maybe you’ll take a risk and pursue that line in a jump off that wins you the class, or perhaps you sit tall and proud as you storm the centre line and produce a top score. Most of us have felt uncomfortable in our clothes at some point and many will agree that the feeling rubs off on your performance while riding, confidence translates into a better performance in both training and in the show ring.
Improving Fabric & Design Technology
Thanks to improving technology in sports fabrics and innovation in design, horse rider clothing is becoming more and more refined. Like rowing, cycling and many other athletic pursuits, horse riders can benefit from sports specific fabric and design technologies. For example, a base layer or show shirt that is made of non-breathable and non-moisture wicking fabric will prevent the release of heat from your body, resulting in excessive heat, sweating and overall muscular discomfort.
Additionally, wearing unsuitable clothing can cause in an increased risk of injury when horse riding. Restricted freedom of movement can result in strained muscles and even increase your risk of having a fall. Because horse riding is a seated sport, it’s important that the upper body, specifically the arms, have full range of movement. It’s also vital that fabrics are tough enough to withstand friction in the saddle and keep you supported at all times.
The term compression clothing is a relatively new concept that has became increasingly popular in the sports industry in recent years. A 2013 study concluded that compression clothing helped aid recovery and many athletes assert that compression wear helps them surpass previous results. The concept is that tight, lycra fabric provides graduated compression and stimulates blood circulation and flow to the muscles. Muscles are therefore less sore and less stiff post exercise, minimising the risk of injury and contributing to time efficient recovery post training.
Aside from fabric and cut, there are design features that can support you in the saddle so that you perform to the best of your ability every time. Grip inner knees, thumbholes, supportive waistbands and underarm ventilation are all design aspects that will keep you comfortable and ready to kick on.
Here at Capall Rock, we have spent almost three years meticulously creating, designing and testing our product range with the modern rider in mind. The materials chosen have many technical functions to aid the rider including thermoregulating properties, a body moisture system providing perfect breathability for greater freshness and sun-block ensuring high UV protection (UPF 50+). Our premier collection is in the final stages of development and will be launching at the end of the year.
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