A handy guide to horse riding kit for beginners

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  • If you’re on a quest to learn how to ride a horse and are wondering what to wear to go horse riding you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or a child, we’ve put together this simple guide to essential clothing and equipment to make sure you’ll be safe in the saddle – and looking the part, too.

    The two essential items you will need are a well-fitting riding hat that 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 will also find you are more comfortable in the saddle if you’re wearing a pair of jodhpurs, breeches or riding tights – these are all types of riding trousers – rather than jeans or jogging bottoms.

    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. Here are some tips to you get started…

    What to wear horse riding

    Charles Owen riding hat

    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.

    We recommend visiting a tack shop that has a professional BETA-trained hat fitter, who can advise you on which hat is best suited to your needs, but here are a few suggestions of hats that might suit the beginner rider to point you in the right direction. Plus, we’ve put together even more information about choosing a riding hat here, too.

    As a beginner, it doesn’t matter which style of riding hat you choose – jockey skulls and peaked helmets are equally suitable. The main thing is that it fits your head and some styles are more suited to particular head shapes. Adjustable riding hats have the benefit of fitting for longer if you’re buying for a growing child.

    Check out our guides to the:


    Dublin paddock boots


    A horse standing on your toe is painful and can cause significant damage if you aren’t wearing suitable boots. It’s also really important that your boots don’t have too much grip, but have a small heel to prevent your foot slipping through the stirrup.

    There are two main types of horse riding boots – long boots or short (jodhpur) boots. A long riding boot prevents rubbing on your inside leg, but new riders can find long boots quite restrictive – plus they tend to be more expensive. Ankle-length jodhpur boots allow more flexibility at the ankle and are commonly worn with soft half chaps or gaiters to prevent rubbing on the inside of the calf.

    Check out our guides to the:

    Fouganza 100 Light Horse Riding Leggings

    Riding trousers

    When choosing the right pair of jodhpurs, breeches or riding tights, you should prioritise how they are going to feel sitting in a saddle – how they look walking around should come second. Breeches are normally worn with long boots, while jodhpurs have a slightly different cut and are better with short boots. Riding tights are more like gym leggings.

    We advise buying a pair that are made of a stretchy 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, beige or cream as these are normally worn for competition and hard to keep clean. Riding tights and leggings have become very popular in recent years as they’re really comfortable, but can be quite slippy if you don’t opt for a pair with added grip.

    Check out our guides to the:

    A pair of the best children’s riding gloves worn by model on a horse

    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 (and warm in the winter), 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 specifically for horse riding. They will be stretchy, grippy and reinforced in the areas where you hold the reins, but thin enough that you’ll be able to have a good feel of what you’re doing.

    Check out our guides to the:

    Airowear body protector

    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, too. Just as with riding hats, this type of safety equipment needs to be fitted by a BETA-trained retailer. Look out for the BETA level 3 (2018) standard – this shows that your body protector meets all the requirements of the European standard.

    We advise you get one professionally fitted, but here are a couple of suggestions to point you in the right direction and we’ve put together some more information about choosing a body protector here.

    Check out our guide to the best body protectors and best body protectors for children, which include tips on what to look for when choosing.

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