It seems as though horse people have so much gear, and when
you go to buy basic requirements, everything seems to be very
expensive. It is true that horse riding equipment can be expensive
but you do not need to buy everything all at once, and you
certainly don't have to buy the most expensive brands.
If you are just starting out, don't get carried away with
buying lots of new gear before you get on the horse. It is
wise to have several lessons to give you an idea of whether
you will be interested enough to take riding seriously and
warrant the expenditure. Most riding schools and instructors
have the basic safety items available for use or hire, so
take advantage of this service to begin with.
The most basic requirement is a helmet; never get on a horse
without one. If your instructor does not insist on helmets
being worn, find a more responsible instructor who takes safety
Someone you know may offer to sell you a second-hand helmet.
This can be a risky move, unless you know definitely that
no one has had a fall wearing that helmet. Once a helmet has
been involved in a fall in which the helmet hit the ground,
its integrity is affected and it should be replaced. The next
fall that helmet takes, may lead to serious injury because
it has not offered sufficient protection.
You don't need to go and buy expensive jodhpurs either. For
your first few lessons wear long pants, preferably made of
stretch material. Jeans are not really suitable as they can
ride up and may not stretch enough to allow you to mount easily.
When you do decide to buy jodhpurs, ask at the riding school
if anyone is selling an outgrown pair. If you are going to
be around horses a lot, you will need several pairs and they
don't need to be really expensive ones. There are less expensive
Horse riding footwear is very important; always wear closed
in shoes when you are around horses. If a horse steps on you,
it will hurt; if you have open shoes on, it will be extremely
painful. You don't need to have proper riding boots to start
out; any pair of closed shoes with a heel will be good. The
heel on the shoe helps to stop your foot sliding out of the
stirrup, so it is very important. Although you don't need
expensive riding boots just yet, it is possible to buy elastic
sided leather boots (sometimes called paddock boots or children's
riding boots) fairly inexpensively. These will be ideal for
horse riding lessons and you can always wear them around at
home or in the yard if you decide not to keep riding.
The shirts, vests and sweaters you wear while riding need
to be close fitting so there are no lose bits to catch on
the saddle or bridle. Many horses don't like things flapping
around them either. You will get hot riding, so wear layers
of clothing in cooler weather, so you can gradually take the
layers off as you warm up.
After you have enjoyed a few riding lessons, you can start
to consider buying your own horse riding equipment, but again,
don't rush in to buy all the latest gear. You will want to
think about your own helmet and crop, some riding gloves and
maybe some chaps.
About the Author
Lance Thorington has written several articles about how to
choose the right horse