Horse Riding Equipment List (What Do You Really Need?)

by Michelle Drum July 13, 2021 5 min read

1 Comment

young rider wearing horse riding equipment

If you’re just starting out with horse riding, the amount of equipment available can be quite staggering! New riders are often left to wander around a shop or scroll through pages of items online. Here’s a helpful horseback riding equipment list for beginners that identifies must-have items and what you need to know about each.

Quick Horseback-Riding Equipment List

Here’s a quick guide that you can easily save on your phone or computer to make shopping easier. If you don’t know what some of these items are, don’t worry! We’ll go into detail about each 

Horse Rider Equipment

  1. Riding pants (breeches or jodhpurs)
  2. Shirt (breathable fabric that doesn’t restrict your movement)
  3. Boots (tall boots or short paddock boots)
  4. Half chaps
  5. Helmet (for equestrians)
  6. Riding vest (for equestrians)

Horse-Riding Gear List

  1. Saddlesaddle pad, and girth
  2. Stirrup irons and leather
  3. Bridlereins, and bit
  4. Grooming tools
  5. Fly spray
  6. Horse Blanket or sheet
  7. First aid kit

Intro to Horse Riding and Equipment

This post will keep you focused on the most important equipment to get when you’re first starting out. It may look like a lot, but we’ll break it down for you to make it easy to understand and identify what you need to get. If you run into any terms that aren’t familiar or you want to learn more, this glossary of equestrian terms may come in handy.

Essential Horse-Riding Equipment for the Rider

The first part of the list is the equipment you’ll need to get for yourself. Most of these items have safety features designed specifically for horse riding.

1. Riding Pants

Breeches are an athletically-inspired pant designed for horseback riding. They’re made with thin fabric that’s stretchy to allow freedom of movement, and without an inside seam to prevent chafing. They fit snugly and have special gripping fabric designed for safety and communication with the horse. Jodhpurs are another style that is sometimes worn when riding a horse, although these are more common for children.


Learn more: What Are Breeches and How To Choose The Right Pair

2. Shirt

The pants that you wear should be made for horse riding, though you have more flexibility with your shirt. There are shirts made specifically for horseback riding with features to ensure comfort. But, if you’re in a pinch, you can use any shirt that doesn’t restrict your movement and is made of a breathable fabric. Ideally, it’s great to get a shirt with UV protection as well as you may be spending a lot of time outdoors on horseback.

3. Boots

good pair of riding boots is a must-have for any equestrian. Wearing regular boots isn’t a good idea, because they lack the special features that riding boots have for safety. Riding boots have a small heel and a lightly textured sole to keep your foot from sliding through the stirrup, and a firm toe box to protect your toes. Tall boots are used mostly for shows but can also be used for schooling, and they are helpful to keep the saddle from pinching. Paddock boots, or short boots, are comfortable, multi-purpose boots. Note that you’ll want to use half chaps if you’re wearing paddock boots as they offer better grip and added protection for your leg.

4. Helmet

horse riding helmet is a must for all equestrians, regardless of your expertise. Horseback riding is a dangerous sport and head trauma is a high risk. You need a helmet specifically designed for horse riding as it has the safety technology required.  Additionally, you need to be sure your helmet is fitted properly. This handy guide provides all you need to know to measure your head for a horse riding helmet.

5. Safety Vest

Another great way to stay safe in case of a fall from your horse is a safety vest. A safety vest protects your torso from a fall as well as the impact from hooves. There are different styles available including some that are filled with air for added protection. Though they add some bulk, safety vests are a good idea. If you’re not sure on which vest to choose here are some of ourtop horse riding vests.

Essential Horse-Riding Gear for the Horse

A horse also needs equipment for comfort and safety. Here are the essentials you’ll need when you’re first starting out.

1. Saddle, Saddle Pad, and Girth

    saddle is likely the largest investment you’ll make for your horse. Saddles are designed to fit both the rider and the horse, so it’s essential to measure properly to make sure you get the right fit. You’ll also want to learn how to care for your saddle so it will last. Saddle padsare used under the saddle acting as a thin layer of cushion to keep the saddle from rubbing against your horse. Saddle pads also absorb perspiration, prevent heat build-up, and protect the saddle. You’ll also need a girth, a band that attaches to a saddle and runs around the horse’s belly to hold the saddle in place.

    Learn more: Ultimate English Saddle Pad Guide

    2. Bridle, Reins, and Bit

      horse bridle is one of the important communication tools used when riding a horse. The four parts of an English bridle are the crown piece, noseband, cheek pieces, and browband. There are many options and what you select will depend on the kind of riding you’re doing and if you’re planning to compete with your horse. You’ll want to know how to put an English bridle together and how to choose the right bit for your horse

      Learn more: What is a Horse Bridle and How Does It Work

      3. Stirrup Leathers and Irons

        Stirrup irons are the shaped metal ring where you place your feet when riding a horse. They are attached to the stirrup leather, which attaches to the tree of the saddle under the skirt. Stirrup irons serve to provide a sturdy flat base of support for your foot while riding and a stable area for your foot to mount your horse.

        4. Grooming Tools

          Grooming is a good way to keep your horse fit and healthy. It helps the coat shine, boosts circulation, and also provides you with an early warning system to alert you to any health issues that could require medical care. Grooming is also a great way to bond. This handy horse grooming tools guide tells you everything you need to know. 

          5. Fly Spray

            Flies are an unfortunate reality for horses. They are a nuisance and a safety hazard as they carry disease. Though you can’t eliminate flies, you can reduce them significantly by making the area around your horse less attractive and using a fly spray on your horse

            6. Horse Blanket or Sheet

              Does your horse need a blanket? The honest answer is — it depends. It depends on the climate you live in and how cold and damp it gets, and it depends on your horse. This guide on horse blankets walks you through the different kinds of blankets available and how to know when your horse needs one. And, if you decide your horse needs one, here’s how to measure your horse for a blanket.

              7. First Aid Kit

                A well-stocked first aid kit is essential for any horse owner. The last thing you want to do when your horse is injured is waste time rummaging through closets to find what you need. You may still need to contact your vet, but at least you can stabilize your horse while you wait. You can buy a pre-made kit or you can easily make your own horse first aid kit.


                Additionally, you may need to consider leg support and protection including horse boots. Whether you need these or not will depend on your horse and your specific needs.

                Focus On the Horse Riding Equipment You Really Need

                There’s a lot you could get when you first begin riding horses, but you can better manage your budget at the start by focusing on what you really need up-front. Everything else can wait. 


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                1 Response

                kelsea preiss
                kelsea preiss

                May 02, 2022

                i love how well this explains and what you will really need

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