It’s easy to geek out on gear when you first start horseback riding. There are so many fun things to purchase! But if you’re new to riding, there are really only a few things that you absolutely need. From boots to helmets to breeches to vests and items for your horse, we share the horse riding gear you’ll need to get started riding.
Best Horseback-Riding Boots for Beginners
A good pair of horse-riding boots is one of the essential items you’ll need when you first start riding. Horse-riding boots are designed specifically to keep your foot safe while in the stirrup, with a sturdy toe and a smooth or slightly-textured sole to ensure your foot doesn’t get caught. You’ll want to look for riding boots that fit well, are comfortable, and durable. For more on what to look for in horse-riding boots, check out our guide. Here are our recommendations for reliable horseback-riding boots for beginners:
The TuffRider Ladies’ Starter boots are one of the best field boots for beginners. At a fantastic price point, they’re made of high-quality faux leather and are durable with a comfortable fit.
This boot is also a great choice for beginner riders. It is made of full-grain leather with a plain toe cap and an antiqued brass zip system along with a moisture-wicking lining. It also includes a lateral motion control system and a specially-designed safety rubber sole.
Learn more: 5 Best Horse Riding Boots for Beginners
Best Riding Helmets for Beginners
A good helmet is another must-have for riders. Wearing a horse riding helmet is a critical safety precaution that will protect your head from injury in case of a fall. (Falls are a leading cause of fatality in horse-riding accidents.) And not just any helmet will do. You need to wear one specifically designed for horseback riding. Bike helmets and other types of helmets aren’t designed for the height of a fall you may experience on a horse. It’s important to make sure your helmet fits you properly and is comfortable. Though a well-fitted helmet won’t directly impact your riding, a poorly-fitted helmet can! A helmet that’s too tight may be distracting, and one that’s too loose can obscure your vision by slipping in front of your eyes.
There’s no standard sizing for horse helmets, so it can be challenging to find the right one. We’ve created a handy horse-riding helmet guide to help you properly size a helmet for comfort and safety. Here are a couple of great suggestions for beginners:
Ovation Schooler Riding Helmet ($59.95)
This helmet packs a lot in for a low price. It looks great and features air vents to keep your head cool, and it also has a washable liner.
Tuffrider Starter Helmet($54.95)
This beginner’s helmet has a few excellent features for the price, including a Coolmax washable lining, detachable peak, and an adjustable dial, offering a custom fit.
Best Riding Breeches for Beginners
Riding breeches are the pants worn when riding a horse, made of a thin and snug fabric to allow the rider’s movements to be felt by the horse. They’re designed specifically for horseback riding to protect you from chafing. They also assist in keeping you stable on the horse thanks to the special gripping fabric placed in strategic areas.
Breeches are also designed to easily accommodate your horse riding boot — a tall boot that goes to or slightly above the knee. Breeches can be contrasted with jodhpurs, which are also riding pants but designed to be worn with shorter paddock boots. (Jodhpurs may be rolled at the bottom or worn outside the boot. There are some other minor differences between breeches and Jodhpurs. The decision between wearing either when riding for pleasure is a matter of personal preference. Here are our suggestions:
These breeches are made of durable cotton fabric and have a modified rise that sits slightly below the waist. They have self-fabric knee patches and gripper elastic at the ankles. They’re great for keeping cool on summer days and act as a great liner on cold winter days.
These breeches feature classic 4-pocket styling in a durable rib fabric. They’re priced right for a beginner and are designed to stand up to regular riding without losing color or pilling.
These pants are the perfect starter everyday riding jodhpurs for children, with an easy pull-on styling and a contemporary low rise. They feature belt loops and a hook and loop ankle closure, false fly, and UltraGripp knee patches for safety and comfort.
Best Horse Riding Vests
Equestrian protective riding vests are available for riders who want additional protection in case of a fall. They’re commonly used by eventers and are now made for recreational riders as well. Riding vests are designed specifically for horse riding and help to protect the spine, ribs, and internal organs. Here are a few that we recommend:
This is an award-winning safety vest with a ten-year history and is the most-tested air vest on the market. It’s built for comfort, with innovative and patented technology to offer more protection. (Note that you should use this vest over a body protector.)
USG Flexi Body Protector ($290)
Designed for a perfect fit ensuring comfort and flexibility, this safety vest is certified with the highest level of protection. It’s also dirt-repellant and washable, and it comes with a storage cover.
Essential Horse Tack
When you’re thinking about riding gear, don’t forget your horse! Essential horse tack includes a saddle (be sure to check out our guide on how to measure for a saddle) and pad, bridle and bit, halter and lead, and essential grooming supplies. Again, there’s no need to purchase everything possible — you can focus on quality basics that will serve you as you learn what riding style and activities you enjoy most.
While all of the gear available for purchase can be overwhelming, the essential horse riding gear you need is really limited to a few key items. As a beginner narrowing the list down to the essentials then purchasing budget-conscious (yet quality) items is a great way to get started.
You might also like: