If you’re looking to go horse riding, find out what clothing and equipment is essential and what is nice to have with our expert guide to get you started.

So you’ve decided to try horse riding, but you aren’t sure what to wear. Don’t worry because the experts at Horse & Hound are on hand to help. Your choice of clothing is really important so you’re going to be comfortable and stay safe, but you don’t have to buy a complete new outfit straight away, unless you want to, of course.

The two essential items you will need is a well-fitting riding hat (which carries the correct safety standards) and a pair of boots with a smooth sole and a small heel. We would also recommend investing in a pair of riding gloves and a body protector in order for you to have a comfortable and safe experience.

You may also find you are more comfortable sitting in the saddle wearing a pair of jodhpurs or breeches (riding trousers) rather than jeans or jogging bottoms. But there is no need to go for the most expensive and technical products out there immediately, as long as the items fit well and meet all the safety requirements.

Riding hats

Without wearing a correctly fitting safety hat or helmet, that meets the current safety standards, you should not get on board a horse. Many riding schools will provide hats for beginners to use, but if you’re going to ride regularly it’s better to have your own as the padded lining will adjust to the individual’s head shape over time. Choose a tack shops that has a professional BETA-trained hat fitter, who can advise you on which hat is best suited to your needs. Here is a list of the current safety standards to look out for.

  • PAS 015 (1998 or 2011)
  • VG1 01.040 (2014-12)
  • ASTM F1163 (2004a or 04a onwards)
  • SNELL E2001
  • AS/NZS 3838 (2006 onwards)

Here are a few suggestions of hats that might suit the beginner rider to point you in the right direction.

Champion CPX3000

A traditional-style riding hat, which is covered in velvet allowing you to avoid the ‘egg head’ look — a riding fashion suicide. This hat carries a high safety standard but is still very comfortable to wear.
RRP: £59.99
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Charles Owen Pro II Skull riding hat

A slightly more expensive option, but this hat is highly ventilated to help keep your head cool. A sweaty head is common problem for riders, but this hat tries to deal with this while not comprising on safety. It also comes with a free hat silk.
RRP: £114.99
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Footwear

A horse standing on your toe is painful and can cause significant damage if you aren’t wearing the correct boots. It’s also vital that your boots give you grip in the stirrups, but have a small heel so your foot can’t slip through the stirrup and get stuck if you fall off.
There are two main types of riding boots: long or short (aka jodhpur boot). A long riding boot avoids your inside leg getting rubbed. The leather versions are expensive and are harder to look after, although there are much cheaper rubber ones available. New riders can find long boots quite restrictive while trying to learn how to use their legs to signal directions to the horse. Jodhpur boots allow more flexibility of the ankle and are commonly worn with soft ‘half chaps’ to avoid rubbing on the inside of the calf.

Dublin Universal tall rubber boots

These boots will fit most leg sizes and are made of durable, waterproof material that doesn’t need that much looking after. The soles are rubber, meaning that they have good but not too much grip. These boots are also comfortable with a jersey, breathable lining.
Price: £24.95 – £30.95
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Just Togs Classic tall leather riding boots

These bargain leather boots have a zip along the back so that they can fit snugly without being difficult to take on and off. They also feature an anti-skid rubber sole so you don’t slip when walking around and are made of leather, which provide suppleness and breathability but does need looking after.
Price: from £69.99
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Hy Waxed Leather zip up jodhpur boots

The short boots are made with waxed leather and are ideal for all types of horse riding. They are made using calf leather, which increases suppleness and comfort, coupled with elastic side inserts and a rubber sole. These boots will feel great while in the saddle and walking around off the horse.
Price: £34.47 – £44.97
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Amidale Half Chaps in synthetic leather

These half chaps are perfect to couple with most jodhpur boots as they are lightweight and have stretch panelling to fit most calf sizes.
Price: £12.99
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Riding trousers

When choosing the right pair of jodhpurs or breeches, you should prioritise how they are going to feel sitting in a saddle – how they look walking around should come second. We advise buying a pair that are made of a stretchy, not restrictive fabric with added grip in the relevant places like the knee and under your bottom. When starting out you can choose any colour, but we recommend avoiding white, buff or cream unless you have aspirations to go hunting or competing in future.

GS Equestrian women’s Kerry jodhpurs

These jodhpurs have been designed with comfort and durability in mind. They are made of a high quality, four-way stretch, soft and breathable material for easy movement and comfort. The contoured seat will make you feel great and look good in the saddle, plus they are great value for money.
Price: £10.00 – £18.99
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Shires Men’s Saddlehugger jodhpurs

Made using 95% cotton and 5% elastane, these men’s jodhpurs allow for four-way stretch and offer a great fit. They are generously cut accommodating all shapes and sizes, plus they have knee strappings, a flat front and belt loops.
Price: £31.99
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Riding gloves

Seasoned riders often end up with callous hand, particularly between the little and ring finger, which is where the rein passes. To avoid blisters and to keep your hand clean and soft, we recommend you wear a pair of riding gloves. If you would like to take this option, it’s worth investing in a pair of gloves that are manufactured specificallyfor riding. They will be stretchy, grippy and reinforced in the areas where you hold the reins.

Harry Hall Domy suede gloves

Made from synthetic suede with hook and loop fastening strap to make sure that they don’t slip. The suede fabric provides great grip on the reins and comfort on soft skin. They are also well manufactured between all fingers so that where ever you put the reins you are provided with good grip and protection.
Price: £5.02 – £9.50
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Body Protector

A body protector is designed to absorb the impact from a fall or kick from a horse and often makes an inexperienced rider feel more confident. Just like with the hats this type of safety equipment needs to be fitted by a BETA-trained retailer. The BETA 2009 Body Protector Standard meets all the requirements of the European standard (EN 13158:2009) and for first time riders this is the lowest safety standard that you should buy. We advise you get one professionally fitted, but here are a couple of suggestions to point you in the right direction.

Rodney Powell Superflex Contour Adults Body Protector

This body protector is designed to be flexible and fit well. The blocking of foam gives great flexibility and shaping while providing a high level of protection.
Price: from £116.00
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Harry Hall Zeus Body Protector

This body protector has a panelled body for comfort and a close fit. It also has a red fitting indicators help you get the correct fit for proper protection.
Price: from £65.95
Buy now from Amazon