Best Horseback Riding Gear

Paul Gonzalez
• Monday, 12 October, 2020
• 7 min read

Few sports have as much equipment as horse riding (just ask my bank account). Apparel and footwear, safety gear, tack, and stable supplies all play a role in your equestrian pursuits.

riding horse helmets equestrian safety sport protection
(Source: sportconsumer.com)


While there is something for every price range, the key features of any item you purchase is that it fits you and your horse properly, is safe, and is designed for the job. Either way, it’s easy to start with apparel and footwear for the rider, and you’ll need these items regardless of your chosen discipline or riding cadence.

The heel prevents the rider’s foot from sliding through the stirrup in the event of an unplanned dismount. Horse riding boots don’t always fit the same way that regular shoes do.

Western boots should have a relatively snug fit, as they typically stretch over time. If you plan to do cross-discipline riding, you may prefer equestrian footwear that resembles a pair of sneakers or hiking boots.

Make sure they’re designed for riding before you mount up, as many “normal” jeans feature bulky inseams can rub and be painful. Many English riders prefer jodhpurs or breeches instead of jeans, as these options are stretchy, designed with a knee patch or full seat for extra grip, and there are a myriad of options at Amazon for all seasons, body types, and style preferences.

While they will help protect your legs and hands, and increase grip, they are not imperative for you to enjoy your ride. Safety Gear You should always put your seat buckle on when you get in a vehicle, and you should always wear a helmet when you’re riding or driving a horse (or donkey).

horse riding gear buyer tail head guide
(Source: horserookie.com)

The sweetest, calmest horse in the world can trip and fall, or get spooked by something. Our favorite all-around helmet is the Tipperary Shortage, as it has ample venting, fuller coverage in the back, and the fit is comfortable over the long run.

Make sure you have the fit correct and purchase a body protector that is SEI-ASTM certified. Research your girth options while purchasing a saddle, and measure your horse to make sure you select the correct length.

Whether it’s the brow band on an English bridle or the earpiece on a western headstall, make sure it’s wide enough for your horse, and not too tight. Measure your horse’s mouth to make sure you are buying the correct size bit.

As you continue in your equestrian pursuits, you may start accumulating tack that falls into the “nice to have” category. Your horse should be measured for correct fit prior to purchasing all of these items.

Stable Supplies Horse care is one of the major components of being a responsible equestrian. There are some essential stable supplies that you’ll need to keep your horse comfortable.

horse viz riding hi gear equestrian seen tack horseback visible sturdy visibility comfortable adjustable safety makes
(Source: horsetack.website)

Rope halters feature a series of knots that help guide and correct your horse while leading it, and they’re very popular among equestrians. Pro Tip: Keep a spare halter and lead line around in case you lose or break one.

If not, you’ll need to acquire these before your horse comes home, and supply them in some boarding situations. That said, a slow hay feeder might be a nice addition to your stable supplies to help your horse have a more natural eating pattern, meaning they are continuously grazing.

Removing dust and debris is essential anywhere your tack touches your horses, but the best part of grooming is building your human/horse bond. Pro-tip: Don’t use the stiff brush on sensitive areas, such as the face.

Horses in warmer climates generally don’t need heavyweight blankets, but may find a fly sheet and mask essential. A quick discussion with other local equestrians or your riding instructor can help you decide which of these items are must-haves for your horse.

Many have built-in grooming totes for your brushes, and compartments to help keep you organized. Tack boxes also protect your investment by keeping your gear clean and dry at the barn.

riding horse gear
(Source: www.pinterest.com.au)

This typically includes items like a saddle, bridle, reins, bit, stirrups, harness, martingale, and breastplate. You should wear long pants that don’t have excess fabric to cause rubs, boots with a heel, and a helmet.

Do NOT use a bicycle helmet, as it was designed for a different type of impact that’s insufficient for equestrian sports. The heel prevents the riders foot from sliding through the stirrup in the event of an unplanned dismount.

Your attire will depend on the barn where your riding lesson is occurring, and the equestrian discipline. For example, if your lesson is in dressage or jumping, it may be expected that you wear breeches, field or dress boots, and a shirt with a collar.

Stable supplies is the term often used for the wheelbarrow, pitchfork, feed buckets, and brushes. I still remember my first visit to the local farm store, staring wide-eyed the bright-colored halters, fun saddle pads, and tie dye leg wraps, unsure what to buy.

While it may be tempting to grab everything that catches your eye and start purchasing immediately, you might find yourself with an empty bank account and a long list of items you still actually need. Before you move on to the fun stuff, your first priority should be picking solid safety equipment that you use every time you ride.

horse equestrian hi viz tack sturdy visibility visible horseback comfortable adjustable riding safety gear makes
(Source: horsetack.website)

Be sure to buy a pair of boots that are intended to be used for horseback riding to ensure they provide the ankle stability you need and have the right amount of traction for your stirrups. For Western riding, jeans that fit well and have a skinnier leg are ideal.

If you find the reins rub your hands, or you simply want a better grip, invest in a pair of riding gloves. Necessary horse care items vary based on its living situation.

Supplements Water Heater or Heated Bucket/Trough, if weather reaches freezing temps Outdoor Broom Wheelbarrow Pitchfork Manure Fork Horse Blanket Fly Sheet (Check out our 14 best horse fly sheets. ) If your horse is ever sick or injured, having these items available immediately could be a lifesaver.

You will still want to follow the basic rules for choosing pants and shoes, but summer lessons are a good time to throw on a short-sleeved cotton polo or that t-shirt you got for gym class. Choose lighter socks that wick sweat, and remember you will still need your helmet.

Check with your instructor for their specific policies, but many barns have fairly relaxed rules around lesson outfits. Typically, as long as they are comfortable and well fitting, regular tops and pants are acceptable.

horse riding gear tack viz hi equestrian horseback adjustable led seen visible visibility sturdy comfortable safety makes
(Source: horsetack.website)

Once you are sure you are going to stick with lessons, it is a good idea to invest in some riding specific gear to make sure you are as safe and comfortable as possible. It is not uncommon for a rider to purchase an item and not get much use out of it before outgrowing it, deciding their horse does not like it, etc.

If you want to look locally, many tack shops and barns have bulletin boards where other riders will advertise used gear for sale. Online, you can look to places like Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook groups dedicated to resale.

Jeans with a thick inner seam may cause irritation or bruising where you place pressure on the saddle. Tall wool socks will help keep your toes warm and if it is very cold, doubling up is an option.

Vests are another popular option to add some extra warmth without restricting your range of motion. Light, cotton clothing is a good choice to help keep you cool while also protecting your skin.

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