We appreciate that sometimes your first riding lesson can be a daunting experience and with the array of clothing and equipment available, knowing what to wear can be a challenge in itself. Well we have come to your rescue and written a guide to what we think are your essentials as a beginner in the saddle.
The most important thing you will need is a riding hat. Essential for your safety, some riding schools will allow you to borrow a hat but we strongly recommend that you have your own for both hygiene and safety reasons.
Providing you intend on continuing your lessons this will be a more than worthwhile investment and your hat need not be ridiculously expensive. We offer a range of hats for all disciplines and budgets, but a good starting point is the Champion Pro Plus Skull. Skull caps are particularly good for children as it gives them the chance to personalise their hat with a brightly coloured silk cover (link). If you would prefer a more stylish option why not take a look at the Champion CPX 3000 which is velvet covered and has a fixed peak.
Riding Hats should conform to the minimum safety standard: ES 1384. Standards exceeding this are PAS 015, ASTM F1163, and the American SNELL E2001. Most riding schools will check your hat meets the minimum standard before you are allowed to mount your horse. Your hat should be replaced following a fall, in the event that it is dropped on a hard surface or if it is more than about 3 years old. We recommend that your hat is fitted by an experienced hat fitter and all the girls here at Equikro are qualified to do this.
In order to keep your new hat clean and fresh why not use the Charles Owen Hat Cleaner spray (link).
It is essential that you wear the correct footwear to ride; again this is to ensure your safety. Wellies and trainers are not appropriate as your footwear should have a small flat heel to help prevent your foot sliding too far forward in the stirrup. It is also best to avoid laces and buckles on your boots. Long rubber riding boots or Jodhpur boots are recommended for beginners and we find that the Toggi Ottowa Jodhpur Boot offers good value for money.
Once you start to ride more regularly you may wish to purchase a pair of half chaps to wear with your jodhpur boots. Half chaps provide an extra layer of protection between your leg and the horse which will prevent any pinching from the stirrup leathers. The Shires Ripple Half Chaps are a great option for your first pair of chaps, durable and stylish, the elasticated ripple panel offers an excellent fit.
Gloves help riders to grip the reins more easily, which is especially important in wet weather. Although they are also good for keeping your hands warm in winter, try not to wear gloves that are too thick as you may struggle to feel the reins properly. There are many different gloves available for riding and you can see our full range here. A practical yet inexpensive option for the beginner is the Shires Newbury Glove (link) which is a cotton glove with an elasticated wrist band and rubber grip pads on the fingers and palms.
In order to be as comfortable as possible for your lesson you may want to consider purchasing a pair of jodhpurs. Jodhpurs are stretchy and do not have seems along the parts of your leg that will be in contact with the saddle, therefore they prevent the rubbing people sometimes experience from riding in jeans. Jodhpurs should be tight enough so that there is no loose material around your leg but not too tight that you can’t breathe! Our most popular jodhpurs for beginners are the Loveson Newbury Jods (link) which are available in a variety of colours and both adult and child sizes.
What you wear on your top half is largely up to yourself. There is no real need to purchase anything new at this stage. Close fitting t-shirts or jumpers are ideal, perhaps with a gilet or coat if the weather is bad. Many riding schools may conduct your lesson outside so if you need to wear a coat, make sure it is wind and water proof. Your coat should be fastened up at all times to prevent it flapping in the wind and if you have anything in your pockets, zip them up to prevent anything falling out.
Riding schools can often be very cold places, and this coupled with the fact you are on horseback and so not really moving your feet much means that your toes can get rather chilly! Thick socks will solve that problem and remember to wear socks that have elastic at the top to help stop them falling down. Ankle socks are an absolute no; you will most probably get blisters if you wear them.
Body protectors offer riders protection for the back and neck should they be unfortunate enough to fall off their horse. Although not usually mandatory at a riding school, they are recommended as an extra safety precaution, and after all it is better to be safe than sorry. The likelihood of you falling off at your first few lessons is small but once you become more advanced and start jumping you might find it beneficial to invest in a body protector, even if it is just to give you confidence in the knowledge you will be safer should you fall.
|✓ Hat||✓ Jodhpurs||✓ Chaps|
|✓ Boots||✓ Close Fitting Top||✓ Body Protector|
|✓ Gloves||✓ Wind / Waterproof Coat|