Whether you have a long-standing love affair with horses or are about to sit in the saddle, choosing the perfect riding kit will make the difference to your comfort, safety and enjoyment horse riding. In this feature, our Equestrian Marketing Team shares their top tips for choosing your perfect riding kit in this ultimate guide.
Wearing a riding helmet is imperative for any rider at any level. If you are learning to ride at a riding school, you can typically hire a riding helmet, and the helmet will usually be checked and fitted by someone before you sit on the horse. If the riding bug has bitten you, then we would always recommend that you invest in your own riding helmet.
Getting it fitted by a BETA trained retailer who is qualified to fit riding hats is imperative. Your nearest local tack shop is your best starting point. If you have a fall, then replacing your helmet is essential. Damage to your riding hat might not be visible but the protection might have been compromised. Elite riding helmet brand Samshield offers a service where you can send your helmet back to the manufacturer to have an x-ray check and repair if possible. Remember, you can buy another helmet, but you can’t replace your head, so don’t take chances. Your hat is an essential piece of your riding kit.
Wearing comfortable clothing is essential. Wearing baggy clothing will feel cumbersome. Imagine going to the gym and wearing loose layers on the running machine or trying to lift weights! Riding a horse is a thorough work out, so invest in slim-fitting layers with stretch to allow you the freedom to move. Base layers that wick away sweat are a great idea. A padded riding gilet will take you through winter teamed with warm winter layers and a jacket and well into the spring with just a base layer.
Although gloves are not an essential piece of riding kit, riding gloves will help you with a greater grip on the reins and stop them slipping through your fingers. A decent pair of riding gloves will also keep your hands warm and comfortable during the winter months. Once you are used to riding in gloves, you won’t feel properly dressed for horse riding without them!
Rustle Up Something
Even if you are riding the most docile riding school horse, think about the material and design of your clothing. A noisy, rustling long mac with a flappy hood might spook even the quietest horse. Choose a jacket that has been designed for riding. Investing in a nice waterproof riding jacket will not only mean you will stay dry in the saddle but choosing wisely, will mean you’ll get plenty of wear out on those country dog walks or shopping trips into town. Most equestrian clothing designers, such as Equetech take inspiration from the catwalk, so you’ll find some fashionable jackets that are also hot to trot!
Wearing a sports bra is a must for ladies if you want to beat ‘the bounce’! Underwear should be comfortable, and while some riders don’t mind riding in skimpier underpants, we prefer to opt for comfort over lacey and delicate. For gents, seamless boxer shorts will be your best friend in the saddle too! Your riding kit should extend to riding sports underwear.
Legs & Co
While beginners often start off wearing jeans to ride in, they soon discover that they are not the most comfortable form of riding legwear. Denim is hardwearing, but when riding in our English saddles, the seams will chaff your legs, and your jeans will ride up your legs! Choosing a pair of jodhpurs or breeches that have been designed specifically for riding is a significant investment for your riding kit. Over recent years, riding tights has become hugely popular with riders who love these lightweight leggings, designed for the saddle but more like gym wear than traditional riding breeches. You will also find that many feature silicone patches to help you ‘stick’ to the leather saddle.
If you are a newbie to riding, choosing a sensible boot with a heel and grip are essential for those early riding lessons. Riding in your favourite pair of trainers is an absolute no, given their sole design and the potential for your foot to slip through the stirrup. Choose a slim hiking boot with a small heel and grip to the sole for your beginners riding kit. Make sure that the boot is not too bulky that it will get lodged in the stirrup. Our team either started riding with a pair of short jodhpur boots with a pair of leather or suede chaps or a pair of long rubber riding boots. These days, we all ride in tall leather riding boots, but safety is still paramount for our team.
And for those of us with non-horsey other halves, The Dummies Guide To Dating An Equestrian might come in handy!
Photo courtesy of Equetech