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Horse Riding Equipment List: What You Need & What You Dont
Horse riding is a rewarding and fun sport that can bring you many benefits, both physical and mental. Whether you want to ride for pleasure, fitness, competition, or therapy, horse riding can offer you an amazing experience that will enrich your life.
But before you hop on a horse, you need to know some basics about horse riding, such as what equipment you need, how to choose a good riding center, and how to ride safely and enjoyably. In this article, we will cover all these topics and more, so you can get started with horse riding with confidence and ease.
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What is horse riding and why is it a great sport?
Horse riding, also known as equestrianism or equitation, is the art of riding or driving horses for various purposes, such as recreation, sport, transportation, or work. Horse riding can be divided into two main categories: English riding and Western riding, which differ in the style of saddle, tack, clothing, and techniques used.
English riding includes disciplines such as dressage, show jumping, eventing, hunting, polo, and racing. Western riding includes disciplines such as reining, cutting, barrel racing, roping, trail riding, and rodeo. There are also other types of horse riding that are influenced by different cultures or regions, such as endurance riding, vaulting, driving, saddle seat, Icelandic tölt, and Mongolian archery.
Horse riding is a great sport for many reasons. Here are some of the benefits of horse riding that you can enjoy:
Physical benefits: Horse riding can improve your fitness, strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, posture, and cardiovascular health. Riding also burns calories and helps you lose weight. According to a study commissioned by the British Horse Society (BHS), just half an hour of horse-related activity can be classified as moderate exercise.
Mental benefits: Horse riding can reduce your stress, anxiety, depression, and improve your mood. Riding also stimulates your brain and enhances your learning, memory, problem-solving, and creativity skills. A study by the Tokyo University of Agriculture found that horse riding can improve cognitive abilities in children.
Emotional benefits: Horse riding can boost your confidence, self-esteem, discipline, responsibility, patience, empathy, and communication skills. Riding also fosters a strong bond between you and your horse, which can be very rewarding and fulfilling.
Social benefits: Horse riding can help you meet new people who share your passion and interest in horses. Riding also offers opportunities to join clubs, teams, competitions, events, or volunteer activities that can enrich your social life.
What equipment do you need for horse riding as a beginner?
If you are a beginner rider who wants to try horse riding for the first time or take some lessons at a riding center, you don't need to buy a lot of expensive equipment right away. Most riding centers will provide the essential equipment for both you and the horse that you will use. However, there are some items that you should have for your own comfort and safety. Here is a list of the basic equipment that you need for horse riding as a beginner:
Clothing: You should wear comfortable, breathable, and stretchy clothing that allows you to move freely and doesn't chafe your skin. Avoid wearing loose or baggy clothing that can get caught on the saddle or the horse's equipment. You should also dress according to the weather and the season, wearing layers that you can add or remove as needed. Some examples of suitable clothing for horse riding are:
T-shirts, polo shirts, or long-sleeved shirts made of cotton or synthetic fabrics.
Breeches, jodhpurs, leggings, or jeans that fit well and have minimal seams.
Socks that cover your ankles and prevent blisters.
Gloves that protect your hands from friction and cold.
A jacket, sweater, or vest that keeps you warm and doesn't restrict your movement.
A raincoat or poncho that covers you and your saddle in case of rain.
Helmet: As we mentioned before, a helmet is a must-have item for horse riding. It should fit snugly on your head, have good ventilation, and have a secure fastening system. You should always wear a helmet that is approved by a recognized safety organization, such as ASTM or SEI. You should also replace your helmet every five years or after any impact that may have damaged it. Some examples of good helmets for beginners are:
[Troxel Spirit](^1^), a versatile and affordable helmet that comes in different colors and sizes.
[Ovation Deluxe Schooler](^2^), a lightweight and low-profile helmet that has an easy-adjust dial fit system.
[Tipperary Sportage](^3^), a sporty and stylish helmet that has a high-density ABS material shell and a rear reflective strip.
Boots: You should wear boots that are designed for horse riding, as they provide the necessary ankle support and traction for your stirrups. They should also have a heel of about one inch to prevent your foot from slipping through the stirrup. You should avoid wearing boots that have too much tread, as they can get stuck in the stirrup and cause an accident. You should also avoid wearing boots that are too tight or too loose, as they can cause discomfort or injury. Some examples of good boots for beginners are:
[Ariat Heritage IV Zip Paddock Boot](^4^), a durable and comfortable boot that has a full-grain leather upper and a moisture-wicking lining.
[Dublin River Boots III](^5^), a waterproof and breathable boot that has a full-grain leather upper and a rubber outsole.
[Justin Stampede Western Boot](^6^), a classic and sturdy boot that has a leather upper and a rubber outsole.
How to find a good riding center near you?
Once you have the basic equipment for horse riding, you need to find a good riding center near you where you can take lessons, rent horses, or join other activities. A good riding center will provide you with quality instruction, well-trained horses, safe facilities, and friendly staff. Here are some tips on how to find a good riding center near you:
Do some research: You can start by searching online for riding centers in your area, using websites like [Yelp](^7^) or [Horseback Riding Near Me](^8^). You can also ask for recommendations from friends, family, or other riders who have experience with riding centers. You can also check out local directories, magazines, or newspapers that feature equestrian businesses.
Visit the riding center: Before you sign up for any lessons or services, you should visit the riding center in person and see it for yourself. You should look for signs of cleanliness, organization, safety, and professionalism. You should also observe the horses, the instructors, the facilities, and the equipment. You should ask questions about the riding center's policies, prices, schedules, programs, and qualifications. You should also ask for references from previous or current clients.
Try a lesson: The best way to find out if a riding center is right for you is to try a lesson with one of their instructors. You should choose an instructor who is certified by a reputable organization, such as [CHA](^9^) or [USEF](^10^). You should also choose an instructor who matches your skill level, learning style, and goals for horse riding. You should also choose an instructor who is friendly, patient, and supportive. You should feel comfortable and confident with your instructor and be able to communicate well with them. You should also ask for feedback and tips on how to improve your riding skills.
How to ride a horse safely and avoid common mistakes?
Learning how to ride a horse can be a fun and exciting adventure, but it can also be challenging and risky. You need to be aware of the potential dangers and hazards that can occur when you are on horseback, and how to avoid them or deal with them. Here are some safety tips and common mistakes that you should avoid when riding a horse:
Wear proper equipment: As we mentioned before, you should always wear a helmet, boots, and gloves when riding a horse. You should also wear a protective vest or body protector if you are doing high-risk activities, such as jumping or cross-country. You should also check that your saddle, bridle, girth, stirrups, and other tack are in good condition and fit your horse well.
Mount and dismount correctly: You should always mount and dismount your horse from the left side, using a mounting block or a helper if needed. You should never mount or dismount your horse while it is moving or in an unsafe area. You should also never pull on the reins, the saddle, or the horse's mane or tail when mounting or dismounting.
Hold the reins properly: You should hold the reins in both hands, with your thumbs on top and your fingers closed around them. You should keep your hands low, close to the horse's withers, and in line with your elbows. You should never hold the reins too tight or too loose, as this can confuse or irritate your horse. You should also never wrap the reins around your hands, wrists, or fingers, as this can cause injury if the horse pulls or bolts.
Sit in the correct position: You should sit in the center of the saddle, with your back straight, your shoulders relaxed, your chest open, and your head up. You should keep your legs long and slightly bent at