Horseback Riding Equipment
Beginning riders usually want to minimize equipment costs and maximize funds for further riding lessons. Though it's possible to slowly build up your gear collection as you devote more and more time to riding, there are a few essentials you'll want to purchase early on.Whether you're riding in the Western or English style, chaps and gloves are an important start. Breeches for English riders are a must, as well. Chaps and breeches help to give you better contact with the saddle and the horse. Gloves are essential for a good grip on the reins. While breeches should be new, chaps can be purchased used, and mesh gloves with leather pads are an inexpensive way to begin. Your shoes should be closed around the toe and heel, and have a bit of height to the heel to allow you to grip the stirrups. Once a rider is looking at his or her first competition, a few additional purchases are required. For English riders, the traditional dress code requires dress boots, a wool hunt coat, and a velvet hunt cap. For Western riders, the code is more relaxed and usually a good pair of cowboy boots, chaps, and a hat will suffice. Other horseback riding equipment purchases can often be guided by your riding instructor, so you don't need to break the bank up front. One absolutely necessary piece of equipment for new riders is a helmet. Your helmet should be SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) certified. Beginners should start out with a basic helmet; if you're riding in the English style, you can always move up to a more expensive velvet-covered helmet later.