If this is the year that you’ve decided to allow your pony-mad kid to get in the saddle for the first time, here is our expert guide to what they need to wear.

The two essential bits of riding kit for children are a riding hat and correct footwear. Optional but advisable extras are a body protector, a pair of jodhpurs and gloves. There is so much choice when it comes to riding wear for children, but it is really important that you choose products that fit well and comply with the right safety standards so they are safe and comfortable.

Hats

This is the most important piece of kit and no child should be allowed to get on a horse without one. We also recommend that they wear one whenever they are around or handling horses. Hats are manufactured to comply with safety standards and here are the most up-to-date 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)

Little children’s hats should be lightweight as their neck muscles are not as strong as an adult’s. All hats should be fitted by a BETA-trained professional, a service that it available in most tack shops selling hats. We do not recommend hats are bought online, as they should be professionally fitted, nor purchased second-hand because there is no way to tell if the hat has been dropped or the internal parts damaged. Any hat that has been dropped or had an impact in a fall should be replaced.

Here are a few examples of the type of hat that might suit your young rider:

Harry Hall Legend Junior PAS Riding Hat

This hat from Harry Hall is lightweight, ventilated and comfortable to wear as well as carrying a high safety standard.
RRP: £79.99
Visit: www.harryhall.co.uk

Champion Junior Pro-Lite

This is a really lightweight riding hat, which is well ventilated and meets the up-to-date safety standards. The helmet has a three-point harness that incorporates a quick release buckle for ease of use.
RRP: £49.99
Visit: www.championhats.co.uk

Footwear

Children’s riding boots need to be comfortable to wear in and out of the saddle with a suitably grippy sole and made of a hardwearing material. Leather gives better breathability than PVC, but requires more care. Most junior riders find short (jodhpur) boots give them better control of their lower legs and a pair that has a zip front and/or elastic paneling will be easy to take on or off while achieving a snug fit. Alternatively long riding boots offer more protection to a child’s legs and may be preferred by some.

Harry Hall Silvio Jodhpur Boot

These junior boots from Harry Hall are made from real leather, which allows the boots to be waterproof and breathable, but it does mean that they need looking after and a regular application of boot polish. They have elasticated sides to give a comfortable fit and make them easy to take on and off. The sole is made from plastic to give great grip without allowing your rider’s foot to get restricted in the stirrup.
RRP: from £17.41
Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Toggi Unisex Kids’ Tucson horse riding boots

These Toggi boots are designed to appeal to young riders and their parents can rest assured that they have made a sensible choice regarding comfort and safety. The Toggi Tucson boots are handmade using oily nubuck and perforated leather giving great comfort and suppleness. The rear zip and elasticated panels ensures a good fit and allows for growing bodies. They include a rubber riding sole, which gives grip and stability.
RRP: £59.50 – £69.97
Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Brogini Capri Childs Long Riding Boots

These boots are classically designed and really will make any junior rider look and feel the part. The fabric is designed with a 3D stretch, which grips and contours the leg without being restrictive.
RRP: £89.99
Visit: www.robinsonsequestrian.com

Jodhpurs

Wearing jodhpurs for riding allows you to sit comfortably in the saddle and avoid getting rubs. For children look for stretchy, soft fabric, which is reinforced around the knee area, as well as being easy to wash and take on and off. Colour wise traditionally competition jodhpurs should be white, cream or beige, but for everyday riding your son or daughter can choose whichever colour they prefer.

Rhinegold Children’s Horse Riding Jodhpurs

These cotton/lycra-mix stretch jodhpurs will give first time riders a comfortable experience in the saddle, but will still provide security. The added extra of an inside pocket means that they can keep their most needed essentials on them at all times.
RRP: £13.20 – £19.95
Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

HyPERFORMANCE Belton Children’s Jodhpurs

These children’s jodhpurs are both durable and practical while being fashionable and flattering. They have belt loops, contrasting colour knee patches and as they are machine washable, they are ideal for everyday use.
RRP: from £14.16
Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

Gloves

As the skin on children’s hands is typically softer than that of an adult, wearing gloves is a sensible precaution. In addition junior riders’ have a weaker grip on the reins so a pair of gloves that provide added grip, without too much bulk in a stretchy material are ideal all year round.

HKM Magic Gloves

These gloves are made of 85% polyacrylic, 15% elastane so they can fit small fingers and growing hands alike. They are machine washable while the anti-slip knobs on palm provide improved grip on the reins.
RRP: £2.73 – £10.66
Buy now from Amazon.co.uk

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Latest children’s riding clothing deals

Body protector

A body protector is designed to absorb the impact from a fall or kick from a horse and often makes an inexperienced young rider feel more confident. Just like with 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. For children we suggest that you buy a lightweight, well-ventilated and flexible body protector so that your young rider can feel unhindered and comfortable on and off the horse.

Champion Flexair Children’s Body Protector

The Champion FlexAir Body Protector offers the BETA 2000 Level 3 and EN13158:09 standard, but is flexible, breathable and lightweight. It is made of layered nitrile foam that has ventilation holes, plus it is washable and moulds to the contours of the rider’s body.
RRP: £60.75
Visit: http://www.championhats.co.uk/product/flexair-childs-body-protector/