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Choosing Riding Gear and Clothes – A Beginners Guide
So you have taken the first steps to become a rider! You have found your local stable, booked your first lesson and learned the difference between a gelding and a mare! Now the next step is to choose what to wear, and although it sounds like an easy step, it’s not! It can be an extremely daunting process if you don’t know where to start, and extremely expensive if you’re not careful. There is so much clothing and equipment involved in riding that it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re a beginner, before rushing out and buying an entire wardrobe, wait until you’ve taken a few lessons to make sure it’s something you’ll stick with before making any financial commitments.
A riding school will not expect you to show up to your first lesson with a full riding kit. Most riding schools will have plenty of essentials that you can borrow. The most important piece is a riding hat and again this is something most riding schools will have in abundance – you can check this with the school beforehand, but all good riding schools will riding will have spares. If not, this should really raise alarm bells and you might want to think about your choice of stables.
Although you don’t need to have the full riding kit for your first lesson, wearing the wrong clothes can make the riding experience uncomfortable and much more difficult than necessary. So choose your clothes carefully and think about how comfortable they are in the saddle. Once you’ve decided that you’re going to be a stable regular and a frequent rider, choosing good quality riding gear is a great investment. Here are some tips and tricks for choosing a good compact riding wardrobe.
Although we all like to look good and want our horse to look good, we have to combine that style with functionality. A rider needs clothing that will not restrict or hinder their movements, allowing freedom and flexibility while being stylish at the same time. Also, as every cyclist knows that riding is all work, the fabrics should be durable and lightweight so that the riding clothes stay cool and also absorb moisture.
Appropriate riding clothes depend on the discipline you’re into, but here’s a guide to your basic essentials; 1. Riding Hat 2. Riding Boots/Jodhpur Boots 3. Breeches/Jodhpurs 4. Jacket 5. Riding Gloves
Riding apparel has arrived and there are now a variety of styles and fits to suit all shapes and budgets, so do your research and find out which brands suit your needs best. Find a tack shop or online equestrian shop with a good selection of brands and keep an eye out for any bargains they might have – good advice is to think ahead and buy out of season and then you can often get real good deals!
RIDING HATS AND SAFETY CLOTHING
Riding hats are undoubtedly the most important piece of equestrian clothing. Riding hats consist of a hard shell lined with shock absorbing material and provide vital protection for the rider’s head if he falls off a horse or is struck by a horse. In addition to wearing a riding hat at all times while riding, it is also wise to wear a riding hat while lunging or handling a horse from the ground.
It is very important that a riding hat fits properly. If you are unsure of your hat size, or if this is your first riding hat, it is best to visit a saddler or BETA Registered Saddlery who can help you choose the right hat. suits you best and which is also suitable for equestrian disciplines. You like.
Riding hats should always be replaced immediately if they suffer severe impact from falling from a horse, falling onto a hard surface or being kicked by a horse, as well that no visible damage can be seen, there may be cracks in the shell. or other invisible damage which may render the riding hat unsafe for further use. Additionally, the protection offered by any riding hat diminishes over time as the padding within compresses and therefore all riding hats should be replaced regularly every 3-4 years, even if there are no visible signs of damage, wear, etc.
There are two acceptable UK safety standards for riding helmets: EN1384/BSEN1384 or PAS 015. Check that any helmet or riding helmet you look at conforms to these standards.
When trying on a riding hat, it is important that the riding hat fits both comfortably and securely. Without the chin strap attached, the riding hat should be snug enough that you can nod or shake your head briskly without the hat moving.
Another important safety feature is a Body Protector. Although not mandatory, they are recommended and can provide additional protection in the event of a fall. Body or back protectors are similar to vests and are filled with foam, they are worn over clothing, under or over a jacket. When you first wear body protection it may feel stiff and uncomfortable at first, the foam adapts to the shape of the rider’s body and becomes more comfortable over time.
JODHPURS / TROUSERS
There is often a lot of confusion about the difference between jodhpurs and breeches and what you should wear. Generally, jodhpurs are for young riders and breeches for adult riders. However, these are not hard and fast rules and it is more important to wear something you are comfortable in. Breeches are usually only worn by adults for show and jodhpurs for everyday riding – but again, that’s really a personal preference.
The main difference between jodhpurs and breeches is the length of the legs. Breeches are worn under long riding boots (or jodhpur boots and chaps) as they are shorter on the leg and jodhpurs have a slightly longer leg with a small cuff that fits over the top of the leg. a jodhpur boot or a low riding boot – jodhpurs also often have a stirrup to prevent them from riding up the leg but this is not always the case. Unlike regular trousers, the leg seams of jodhpurs and breeches are placed on the outside to avoid chafing the rider or horse!
Jodhpurs and breeches are often designed to increase performance and may have reinforced knee pads to help maintain correct stance and the seats may be covered in “tacky” material to increase grip which aids the rider in saddle.
Jodhpurs now come in a wide variety of colors and styles, so there really is something for everyone. From low rise hipster style to high waisted cut and all in a variety of colors – you can even get Union Jacks for the more patriotic among you!
RIDING BOOTS / JODHPUR BOOTS
In the case of riding boots, the tall ones are perfect for competitions and shows, while the short ones are comfortable and durable for casual riding. For beginners long/tall riding boots are not necessary, I would suggest starting with paddock boots or jodhpur boots. These come in a variety of styles and the fit can vary from brand to brand, so take the time to find out what is most comfortable for you. If you get jodhpur boots or paddock boots, you will also need to get a pair of half chaps. Chaps come in different styles and types including; leather and suede, back or side zips, elasticated gussets once again there is something for everyone. With chaps, it’s worth thinking about your calf size and making sure you’re buying a pair that fits you comfortably!
When it comes to buying long or tall riding boots, it’s important to choose well. Properly fitting riding boots are one of the best investments you can make, riding in ill-fitting boots is a nightmare and can ruin the experience and your performance. Boots that are too big in the foot will make it difficult to properly hold your foot in the stirrup and boots that are too small will prove almost impossible to put on and take off and will be extremely uncomfortable. Boots are available in a variety of measurements for regular, wide, extra wide calf fits, and long or short fits depending on your leg length – so it’s important to look at the measurements for each brand and choose the right fit for your leg.
You shouldn’t need a show jacket yet. When you do, the colour, style, fit, season and comfort will be your choice, and will also depend on the discipline in which you compete. But an everyday riding jacket is essential! Come cold winter rides and buying a high quality, highly insulated jacket will be the best decision you’ve ever made! Also, as the days get shorter and darker afternoon jackets come in handy, in addition to keeping you warm, they often have reflective striping, which is useful for drawing attention to you. and your horse in dark or dark conditions.
Gloves are a necessity. Eventually, you’ll need a pair of show gloves, but for everyday riding, an inexpensive pair of standard riding gloves will suffice. Riding gloves have extra grips on the palms and are generally quite durable. Use them all the time to protect your hands when grooming, riding and lunging. In most stables, riding gloves are a magical mystery as they seem to disappear all the time, so make sure you always have a backup pair.
I don’t really want to get involved in your underwear and you wouldn’t want me to. But a word, for ladies, make sure you buy a good sports bra because it really is a must have.
The rest of your clothes are also important. Always wear layers so you can take them off if you get too hot, because being hot and being bothered is not a comfortable way to learn to ride.
When it comes to keeping up with trends, there are plenty of opportunities with riding apparel and equipment. Horse riding fashion moves quite quickly and while it’s fun to follow, remember to always follow your own instincts and preferences!
Clothing for the horse is a whole different story. Harness, saddles, blankets, horse blankets, outdoor blankets. So much more to tell!
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