Horseback riding is also known as equestrianism. It is the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses. Some people ride horses for different purposes such as work, transportation, and recreational activities.
Before deciding to ride a horse or take riding lessons, you need to know first the equipment needed. Having the right equipment is necessary for you to easily learn how to ride a horse. Some may argue that the initial cost of the items needed is high but if you’re really decided to commit to a riding lesson program, the best quality items are going to be worth your investment. If you’ve decided to start riding horses, here are some of the equipment needed.
In all kinds of activities, safety should always be the priority, that’s why a certified and approved horseback riding helmet should be owned by every rider. There are lots of helmets to choose from and most of them are lightweight and affordable.
Helmets are essential because you don’t know when and how an accident could happen. Whether you’re highly skilled in horseback riding, it should not be a reason for you not to wear a helmet because even the best horses can trip and fall.
To start riding, you also need comfortable clothes. Here are some of the clothes for horseback riding that you may want to look for.
- Shirts: You can choose shirts which are made of breathable fabrics but it’s also important to have riding jackets and horse related hoodies as these will help you in when the weather is less accommodating. Most riding jackets have hems in the back that are cut to fit over your saddle.
- Pants and Breeches: Western riders traditionally wear Wrangler or Carharrt Jeans but others prefer breeches while the younger ones like jodhpurs. There are different styles of horse riding pants to choose from. The important feature you need to look for in pants are those comfortable ones and have seams that won’t rub when riding.
Breeches, on the other hand, are usually made from cotton or other materials like spandex and they fit snug on your body. They will keep you from sliding around on a smooth leather saddle.
- Chaps: Chaps are a great addition to your riding gear because they can give you more grip in the saddle. They can also keep your legs dry from the sweat of your horse. It’s also important to get a pair which fits properly because ill-fitting chaps are very uncomfortable.
There are many types of Chaps to choose from such as full chaps and half chaps. Full chaps are worn from the waist to the ankles. Half chaps, on the other hand, connect under your shoe and zip or snap up and end at the knee.
- Socks, Boots, and Gloves: Western horseback riders usually wear cowboy boots while English riders wear paddock or shorter boots. The type of boots you’ll wear will depend on the style you want. But try to choose those which are lightweight which are made for endurance riders.
Your socks will depend on the height of your boots. Try to choose a pair of socks which are made of wicking and comfortable fabrics.
Horse riding gloves are also important especially when you’re riding in cold weather. They can keep your fingers warm and your hands clean when you are grooming and tacking up the horse. They will also protect your hands and help you get a grip on the reins.
This is one of the most used pieces of horseback riding equipment. Longer leads made of yachting braid are great because they allow the horse to have more drift if it needs to move its feet. Better quality leads have more feel compared to those made with cotton. Longer leads also test the level of communication you have with your horse from farther away.
Bits and Bridles
A bridle is an important part of the horse riding gear. It includes a headstall which is all of the parts of the bridle that goes on your horse’s head, and the reins you hold. The brit, on the other hand, is the metal portion that goes in the horse’s mouth and it is connected to the headstall and reins.
The saddle is one of the most important pieces of horseback riding equipment for both horse and the rider. It will help you keep balanced and secure on your horse. For the horse, it helps distribute the weight down his back more evenly. It makes it easy for the horse to carry a person comfortably even for a long period of time.
There are many styles of saddles and the type of riding and discipline you’ll choose will be a great factor in what style of saddle you will end up riding in. They are made from different materials such as leather, which is the traditional and the most durable of all. Other materials are synthetic like Cordura which cost less and have lighter weight.
You can also purchase pads for your saddle. There are different types of saddle pads like gel pads, wool pads, and air pads. They can help make you feel more comfortable when horseback riding.
These are just some of the basic equipment needed to start riding horses. Once you get the hang of it, you can add more advanced riding gears depending on where you go for a ride and the skills you’ve learned.