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Selecting Sunglasses For Equestrian Sports

If you ride horses outdoors, you may find you need eye protection for a number of reasons, especially to shield your eyes from the sun. Here’s a look at factors you may want to consider when selecting sunglasses for equestrian sports and what styles might suit you best.

What Can Sunglasses Do for You?

In addition to screening out UV rays and keeping you from squinting, sunglasses can perform a number of useful functions while you’re out riding. They can help keep your eyes from tearing in the wind or when riding fast.

Sunglasses can also protect your eyes from flying debris kicked back by horses in front of you on a trail, shield you from arena dust, and keep branches from damaging your eyes. In addition, they can give you precise vision by improving depth perception, which is vital in competition. Barrel racing, dressage, and jumping all rely on knowing where you are in relation to obstacles or landmarks.

What Elements Should You Consider in Sunglasses?

If you’re purchasing sunglasses for equestrian use, there are a number of factors you should look for in the model you select:

  • sufficient UV protection
  • polarizing lenses
  • impact resistance
  • scratch proofing
  • transitional tinting for light adjustment
  • non-distorting lenses
  • comfortable, lightweight design
  • easy fit under riding helmet
  • prescription lenses (optional)

In some cases, you may want to choose a model that has special tinting for different footings. If you ride mostly in a sand arena or in desert conditions, a pink lens will provide the most accuracy. If you ride more often on grass or on tree-lined paths, a yellow lens is your best bet.

What Style is Right for You?

Style for equestrian sunglasses has more to do with function than with aesthetics. Most riders who choose a regular sports model of sunglasses prefer a wrap-around style. The glasses should cover your entire field of vision with no blind spots or distortion.

A safety strap can keep your sunglasses in place on bumpy rides. If you are a more aggressive rider, ride fast much of the time, or perform very high jumps, you may do best with a goggle-style model. This is what horse racing jockeys wear, and with good reason.

Fortunately, there are a wealth of sports sunglasses on the market today, some made especially for equestrians. You’ll be able to protect your eyes, see precisely on the trail and in competition, and look good in the process.

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