Equestrian Riding Clothing - How to Choose Boots, Pants and Helmets
When I first started riding alongside my four-year-old daughter, I purchased only the bare minimum in equestrian riding clothing for myself, while my daughter was fully outfitted from head to toe in the best riding gear I could find. Over time she has outgrown these expensive riding clothes, and I have gained a clear perspective of what is necessary or what is not, particularly for a beginning rider. I have also discovered (the hard way) that there are a few things I should have bought for myself long ago to avoid the bruises!
Beginning equestrians are often confused about what equipment and apparel is necessary and which is optional. The basics in equestrian riding clothing can be purchased online or at your local tack shop. Here is an overview of the different items you may come across along with a description of their uses.
If you are a beginner, consider what type of riding you will be doing. Do you simply want to feel comfortable trail riding? Do you hope to jump someday? Would you like to enter the show ring? Your goals may affect what type of equestrian riding clothing and safety gear you need to purchase.
Essentials in Equestrian Riding Clothing
Riding Helmet or Hat: Investing in a quality riding helmet is a priority for riders of all ages. There is always an element of risk when you are riding and every rider should have a professionally fitted helmet. If your helmet ever suffers an impact of any kind, it is necessary to purchase a new one. There is a tremendous variety of riding helmets to choose from. Ventilated helmets are great for kids. The traditional velvet riding helmets are needed for showing. If you are considering trail riding, there are sturdy leather helmet that will last longer and not get scratched or torn.
Paddock Boots: Paddock Boots are specially designed to prevent your foot from getting caught in the stirrup should you get thrown from your horse. Their shape allows your foot to slide easily from the stirrup. Proper paddock boots are as much a safety necessity as a riding comfort. They will also give your ankles adequate support during training. The classic high leather riding boots can really be reserved for showing.
Protective Riding Vests: Riding vests are designed to protect your vital organs if you fall. They have become mandatory for children at some equestrian centers. Talk with your trainer to determine you or your child needs a protective riding vest.
Riding Breeches: Riding pants, jodhpurs or breeches are not essential for beginning riding, but they will probably make your experience more comfortable. There is a huge variety available online ranging from thin, lightly padded riding tights, to full seat riding breeches. If you bruise easily or feel you need extra padding all around, full seat riding breeches may work well for you. They are also designed to help you "stick" to your horse with ease. You will surely hear the phrase "the riders leg is from the knee down." Riding breeches are designed to protect your lower leg from irritation or bruising due to rubbing against the stirrup straps.
Enjoy The Ride
If you find yourself daydreaming about horses, imagining yourself cantering through a field while you are sitting in a meeting at work, know that you are not alone! That simply means you have caught the "bug" and you will soon be completely horse crazy.
As you spend more and more time in the saddle, you will begin to get a better idea of what you need and want regarding equestrian riding clothing. Equestrian apparel can be stylish and beautiful, but its real job is to keep the rider safe and comfortable, so she can enjoy the ride!