Essential Horse Riding Gear for Beginners

Essential Horse Riding Gear for Beginners

If you’re new to riding, you may catch yourself in wide-eyed wonder over all the shiny new gear you can buy. But hold your horses! Before you start adding all the fancy gear to your cart, let’s rein it in and focus on the essentials beginner equestrians need to get started. Whether you’re gearing up for your first lesson or in need of a gear tune-up, we’ll guide you through what you should wear and what tack you need for your horse. With our list of must-have gear and recommended products, you’ll be riding high in the saddle in no time.

Essential horseback riding apparel

Horseback riding attire is all about keeping you safe and comfortable. When you show up to your first lesson, skip the open-toed shoes and jeans, and opt for clothing made for riding horseback. Before your first lesson, you should purchase riding boots, a riding helmet, breeches, and a safety vest. Equestrian brands like Ariat, Ovation, Tailored Sportsman, and Kerrits make their apparel to last you ride after ride without sacrificing comfort and style, and you’ll find each of those brands and other great options at the Farm House Tack. 

Learn more: What to Wear While Horseback Riding

Best riding boots for beginners

When stepping into the world of horseback riding, there’s one thing you definitely don’t want to skimp on: your boots. Riding boots are designed to keep your foot safe in the stirrup, with a sturdy toe and a smooth or slightly textured sole to ensure your foot doesn’t get caught. Look for riding boots with a comfortable fit that will last through all your riding lessons and adventures.

Here are our top picks for reliable riding boots for beginners:

Ariat Women’s Kinsley Field Tall Riding Boot ($449.95)

tall black riding boot

Equestrians wear tall riding boots for schooling and competitions. The Ariat Women’s Kinsley Field boots are the perfect classic tall riding boots for beginners. The boot’s contoured fit, elasticized panel, and laces form the boot to your foot for a comfortable fit every time. Made and lined with leather, these tall riding boots will last you ride after ride.

Shop more tall riding boots →

Ariat Women’s Scout Zip Up Paddock Boot ($129.95)

black paddock boot

Paddock boots can be worn for schooling or hanging out around the barn. These quality and affordable paddock boots from Ariat are ideal for those just learning to ride. The full-grain leather and antiqued brass zipper will elevate your style, while the super supportive cushioning and moisture-wicking lining will keep you comfortable in and out of the saddle.

Shop more paddock boots →

More of our favorites: 5 Best Horse Riding Boots for Beginners

Best riding helmets for beginners

A reliable helmet is one of the most important items to wear when horseback riding. Riding helmets are made to protect your head from injury in case of a fall. (Falls are no joke–they’re 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 riding helmet is comfortable and fits you properly. A well-fitted helmet won’t directly impact your riding, but a poorly-fitted helmet can! If your helmet is too tight, it may be distracting, but if it’s too loose, it can block your vision by slipping in front of your eyes. To ensure your helmet provides the protection you need, use our guide for how to measure your head for a horse riding helmet when making your purchase.

Here are a couple of great riding helmet options for beginners:

Ovation Deluxe Schooler Helmet ($74.95)

black riding helmet

This helmet packs a lot in for a low price. It’s lightweight with air vents to keep your head cool and an adjuster clip and buckle positioned to stay off your face for comfort. Complete with a removable washable liner, breakaway visors, and an easy-adjust dial, Ovation offers convenient safety in this riding helmet for beginners.

One K Defender Helmet ($289.95)

black riding helmet

The sleek and stylish One K Defender Helmet offers protection with the utmost comfort. This riding helmet is lightweight with cooling air vents and a comfortable padded harness with synthetic suede lining. Plus, the inner lining is antimicrobial, moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and washable for cool comfort and easy care.

Learn more: How To Choose and Buy a Riding Helmet

Best riding breeches for beginners

Riding breeches are pants made for riding a horse. Made of a thin, yet strong fabric, they allow the rider’s movements to be felt by the horse for effective communication. Riding breeches feature gripping fabric placed in strategic areas to help keep you stable on the horse.

Beginners can wear either breeches or jodhpurs. While breeches are snug all the way down the leg and fit neatly into tall riding boots, jodhpurs are cuffed at the bottom with a stirrup strap to keep them in place. Jodhpurs are typically worn with paddock boots by young riders.

Listed below are the breeches we recommend for women, men, and kids:

RJ Classics Women’s Gulf Natural Rise Front Zip Breech ($185.00)

tan women's riding breech with knee patches

The RJ Classics Women’s Gulf Natural Rise Front Zip Breech is a great basic for new or experienced riders. Featuring a natural rise, mesh leg panels, and quick dry, stretchy fabric, they’re comfortable and cooling with a flattering fit. This classic breech is available in several traditional and modern colors to fit any dress code and style. With durable construction, these breeches will withstand everyday riding and still look great in the show ring.

Shop more women’s breeches →

Ariat Men’s Tri Factor Grip Knee Patch Breech ($169.95)

tan men's riding breech with knee patches

Train and perform at your best with the Ariat Men’s Tri Factor Grip Knee Patch Breech. This breech features a combination of cooling and moisture-wicking technology and custom calf and ankle support to keep you cool and comfortable in the saddle. Constructed with compression fabric to retain their shape, they provide a sleek fit time and time again. These breeches are available in five classic colors.

Shop more men’s breeches →

Kerrits Kids Ice Fil Knee Patch Jod ($79.00)

tan kids' riding jodhpurs with knee patches

These jodhpurs are the perfect first pair of riding pants for kids. Featuring traditional styling in a classic Tan color, the Kerrits Kids Ice Fil Knee Patch Jod is made from cutting-edge technical fabric that wicks sweat for a cooling effect. And perhaps best of all, they come with adjustable and removable stirrup straps for a fit that lasts even as kids grow.

Shop more kids breeches and jodhpurs →

Learn more: What Are Breeches & How to Choose the Right Pair

Best riding safety vests for beginners

Protective horse riding vests offer additional protection for the spine, ribs, and internal organs in case of a fall. Commonly used by eventers, they’re becoming more popular among recreational riders, and there are more options than ever on the market. Like all equestrian gear, riding vests are designed specifically for horse riding.

Here are a few of the best protective horse riding vests for beginners:

Hit Air Original Airbag Vest – Adult ($499.00)

black riding safety vest with airbag

With a ten-year history of development and testing, the Hit Air vest offers maximum safety at a good price, making it a great introductory vest. This award-winning safety vest uses a “harness type” airbag deployment for faster response time. It’s lightweight and deploys away from the body for maximum comfort as you ride and in the case of a fall. (Note that this vest is meant for use over a body protector.)

USG Eco Flexi Adult Body Protector Vest ($296.00)

black riding body protector vest

A reliable choice for any beginner rider, the USG Eco Flexi Adult Body Protector Vest is lightweight and comfortable. It features a zippered front for easy on and off and adjustable waist and shoulder velcro straps for a personalized fit. This effective and affordable vest is made to provide shock absorption and reduce impact when you fall.

Learn more: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Safety Vests

6 horse tack essentials

After you find all the riding apparel basics, you’ll need some riding gear for your horse as well. Essential horse tack includes a:

1. Saddle: A saddle is the leather seat riders use to sit securely and comfortably on horseback. A well-fitted saddle enhances communication with your horse, prevents injuries, and improves your performance.

Find out how to measure for a saddle.

2. Saddle pad: Placed between the saddle and your horse’s back, the saddle pad provides cushioning and protects against saddle rubs. It also shields the saddle from dirt and sweat, which can damage the leather.

Check out our guide to English saddle pads.

3. Bridle: The bridle fits over your horse’s head and works with the bit and reins to help you communicate with your horse. The most common type for English riding is the snaffle bridle.

Read about bridles and how they work.

4. Bit: The bit is a metal piece that fits inside your horse’s mouth. When you pull on the reins, the bit sends signals that let your horse know when to move his head.

Learn how to choose an English horse bit.

5. Halter and lead: Halters and leads are used for leading or tying up your horse. Make sure the halter fits correctly to keep your horse safe and comfortable.

Learn more with our guide to horse halters.

6. Grooming supplies: Routine grooming is essential for keeping your horse happy and healthy. Buy a curry comb, brush, hoof pick, and other tools you need to care for your horse.

Check out our guide to horse grooming supplies.

When purchasing horse tack, focus on finding quality basics that will serve you as you learn what riding style and activities you enjoy most. Learn more about what equipment you really need with our Must-Have Horse Riding Equipment List.

From breeches to bridles, the Farm House has all the horse riding apparel and tack you need to start riding. Any gear we carry is gear we’ve tried and would recommend to beginners and experienced equestrians alike.

If you’re a beginner with questions about what tack and apparel to purchase, we’re happy to help. Give us a call at 864-457-3557, and one of our knowledgeable and experienced team members will guide you to the gear you need.

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I love backriding horses and I want to do it right

Orelie Marie Sherly Denis

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