What should I wear for horse riding? What equipment do you need for horse riding? Novice horse riders may find getting equestrian riding clothes a bit confusing at first. Sure, you do not have to dress up looking like John Wayne. In fact, you do not have to purchase a complete set of horse riding equipment and gears to get you started. Riding schools don’t expect a beginner to have all the right clothes. Instead, they will be providing you with important equipment you can borrow. Regardless, it pays to have a rough understanding of what and how riders wear for comfortability and safety.
Horse riding helmet
Know that there are situations where you might fall off the ground when the horse kicks or accidentally throws you off. A riding hat with its hard outer shell serves as a protector against head injuries from unexpected situations. The right riding helmet will have padding inside that helps spread the impact of blows.
Most riding schools offer hats for beginners to use. However, if you are going for a regular ride, consider getting your own with the appropriate size of your head. The ideal hat should be comfortable and firmly stays in place even when the heads move up, down, and sideways.
The proper footwear
The appropriate footwear will protect you from situations such as a horse accidentally stepping on your toe. Footwear is perhaps the second most important part of equestrian clothing that will keep you and your horse safe. Long boots (up to your knee) and short boots (enough to cover your ankle) are the two basic types of footwear (Jodhpur boots) used for horse riding.
Here’s a rough guide in choosing a pair of boots:
- Choose one that you are most comfortable with but still protects your feet from any injuries.
- Pick one with a strong shank supporting your ankles and hard toes in protection from hooves.
- Shoes should have a .5 – 1.5 inch or 3.8-centimetre heel. This helps your feet avoid from slipping off the stirrups.
- Avoid a pair with deep grooves. Light grooves should make a better option.
- Boot length should either be below the knee or above the ankle. Short boots are the ideal choice for first timers as most find long boots too bothersome while using their legs in shifting directions.
It is important to envision how comfortable the pair of jodhpurs or riding trousers when you sit in a saddle. A pair of jeans stretchable enough especially on your knee and under your bottom should be fine. In fact, jodhpurs and breeches are particularly designed with a stretchable material for riding movement. It also has extra material either leather or suede on the knee area to protect against contact from the stirrup leather.
Further, there is no definite colour for riding clothes. However, most recommend avoiding colours cream, buff or white unless you are planning to join horse riding competitions. For starters, dark colours such as brown or blue where dirt and oil from the saddle are less visible are highly recommended.
The appropriate tops
Any well-fitted t-shirt or sweater will do fine as a top when horse riding. Avoid clothing such as tank tops, loose sweaters or shirts with dangling strings that might cause tangles in the riding equipment. Tops should be kept short and should not be too long to reach the saddle or any flaps that extend on the back of the saddle. The same rule applies when you opt to wear scarves.
Body protectors are made to take the impact of a kick or fall from the horse. Some say body protectors boosts their confidence when riding whilst others feel restricted in movements when riding. That being said, the choice of wearing body protectors depends on the preferences and comfortability of the said rider.
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