Beginners Horse Riding Kit Checklist
Horse riding is a sport that requires a lot of equipment. The rider alone needs a hat, boots, gloves and jodhpurs for everyday riding. The horse also requires its own tack, as well as all the equipment needed to care for a horse. Participating in competitions requires a further set of equipment for horse and rider, depending on your level and discipline. This can all get very confusing, so we’ve put together a checklist of what the beginner rider needs if they are taking regular lessons.
A protective, well-fitting riding hat is an essential piece of horse riding kit. Whilst most riding schools will lend you a riding hat for your first few lessons, you should aim to purchase your own if you plan to ride regularly.
Riding hats must be fitted properly and conform to safety standards. It is strongly advised that you do not purchase a riding hat second hand, as there is no way of telling whether it is damaged internally.
The safety requirements for riding hats vary depending on the organisation you are riding / competing under. However, you can find a helpful guide from the British Horse Society here. Many riding schools in the UK are BHS-approved, so you will be required to wear a riding hat that conforms to their standards when riding at these establishments.
You should always have your riding hat fitted by a trained person. The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) have a useful directory of hat fitters on their website.
Jodhpurs are another essential piece of horse riding kit. Available in many different colours, patterns and materials, jodhpurs are designed to keep you comfortable in and out of the saddle. You can pick them up for around £30 from most tack shops and equestrian retailers, but the price varies considerably depending on the brand and style.
Some jodhpurs are fleece-lined for winter riding, whilst others are designed to look and feel more like sportswear (riding tights). Jodhpurs can also come with sticky knee or seat patches, which can help with grip.
Riding boots are essential horse riding kit. As with a riding hat, many riding schools will allow you to borrow boots for your first few lessons. After that, you’ll need to consider purchasing your own. Whether you choose to wear short or long riding boots is largely up to you, but generally beginners find it easier to start out with short riding boots. Short boots (also known as jodhpur boots) are generally cheaper than long boots and are suitable for lessons and hacking. Long boots are usually more expensive and may not allow as much flexibility in the ankle joint.
If you choose to purchase short riding boots, you may also want to purchase half chaps. Half chaps slide on over your boots to give the impression of a long boot. They can also protect your legs out hacking and help prevent bruising or pinching from the saddle or stirrup leathers.
Whether you choose to wear gloves may be down to personal preference, but it is often safer to wear gloves when riding and leading horses. Riding gloves can protect your hands from rope burn in the event that your horse pulls on the lead rope, and they can help you keep your grip on the reins if they get sweaty or wet. Riding gloves are available in a range of colours and styles, with different designs for summer and winter riding.
Generally speaking, you will not carry a whip when first learning to ride. This is because you need to have good enough control of your hands to avoid tapping the horse unintentionally (when carrying a long, dressage whip). Furthermore, you will also need to be able to take one hand off the reins confidently in order to change your whip over or to use a short hacking or jumping whip. Ask your riding instructor before purchasing a whip, as they will be able to recommend a suitable length / type and teach you how to carry and use it properly.
Other Horse Riding Kit Items
Beyond the essentials listed above, there are a few other items you may wish to consider. These items aren’t essential for beginner riders, but they may be worth considering as you begin to move up the levels.
Body protector: Just like a riding hat, your body protector should be professionally fitted and conform to the relevant safety standards. Most riding schools will require you to wear a body protector for jumping, but you may also wish to wear one for hacking and flatwork if you prefer.
Hat silk: If you purchase a jockey skull as your riding hat, you may wish to use a hat silk. Hat silks make jockey skulls look more like traditional riding hats, and they also feature a soft peak that can help keep the sun out of your eyes. Jockey skulls are usually required for cross-country riding.
Riding socks: Whilst you can wear ordinary socks for riding, it can be useful to purchase a pair of technical riding socks. They will help to wick away moisture and may feature a rubber grip that prevents them from falling down and keeps your half chaps in place.
Base layer: Again, you don’t need a base layer for horse riding, but it can be a useful item of clothing. Base layers are designed to wick away moisture, whilst providing a comfortable, practical layer for warm and cold days. Many horse riding tops and base layers now include useful pockets for car keys and phones.
Record Your Horse Riding Lessons with the The No Horse? No Problem! Lesson Journal
Learning to ride is an amazing experience, and there is so much to take in. If you are looking for a way to set yourself goals, record your progress and keep track of your lessons, then the No Horse? No Problem! Lesson Journal is for you. Designed especially for horse riders who don’t have a horse of their own, this riding lesson journal is ideal for riding school clients.