You've had a lesson or two and now you've decided to take up riding as a new hobby. Now it's time to get kitted out with the correct clothes and equipment needed for when you're riding. Don't forget, you can find a list of Retailers that stock Bridleway Equestrian products at the top of the page. You can also find a link to the sponsored retailer to the right.
Things such as T-Shirts, Socks etc aren't listed on this page as these are things that don't affect you're ability to ride. However, it is still important to wear the right clothing dependent upon the weather, and if wearing a coat, remember to have it zipped up so that it doesn't flap around and scare your horse or pony.
There are three main types of riding helmets available. These are the traditional riding hat which is usually covered over with soft velvet, the skull riding hat which, as the name suggests, looks like the top of a persons skull, albeit, made of plastic and then finally the endurance skull riding hat. The only real difference between the skull riding hat and the endurance skull riding hat is the latter is lighter, and usually has 'vents' built into them to make them more comfortable in warmer weather.
The main purpose of a riding helmet is to protect your head if you fall, especially if you hit your head on something hard such as a wooden pole, a road or even one of them stones you often find sticking up out the ground. You might see some people riding without a helmet, and because of this you might feel that it's safe to do so, however, this is not true.
Different people ride without helmets for different reasons. They may believe that nothing will happen to them and that they're perfectly safe, others have decided not to get one as a cost cutting measure. However, you must always wear a riding helmet as horses are totally unpredictable and although everything might be fine one minute, if your horse or pony shie's at something, things can become dangerous very quickly.
You will often find that most stable yards and equestrian centres have very strict rules in regards to helmets, and you may be banned from riding if you are caught not wearing one. Riding helmets will also need to be replaced if they are dropped on a hard surface or after a nasty fall. However, you can drop a hat up to three times on a softer surface (I.E. a rubber mat, sandy arena floor) as long as there isn't too much force behind it.
It's important that you get a riding helmet that is the correct size for you. It needs to be a snug but comfortable. We recommend you get a qualified helmet fitter to check any helmet you plan on purchasing.
If you're planning on doing any jumping then you might want to invest in a body protector. This is only optional and they are usually only worn by people when they're first learning to jump or by persons competing in cross country. Body protectors are designed to protect your back and chest if you fall, particularly if you happen to fall onto a wooden pole. There are a few different styles of body protectors available, however they all perform the same tasks.
- Click here to see a photo of a Body Protector
OK, so now we've reached the bit that all parents dread the most, going shopping for Jodhpurs or Breeches with their Children. The reason this is dreaded is due to the amount of colours, styles, variations and patterns available. Each colour, will have different patterns, which will then also have different colours as well, and the list doesn't stop there. In case you're sitting there scratching your head right now, Jodhpurs and Breeches are both trousers worn for riding. You may also here people calling them Jods and Joddies, so try not to let that confuse you.
The only real difference between the two is that Jodhpurs are meant to be worn with Jodhpur boots (see boots section below) as they go all the way down to your ankle, and sometimes end up being uncomfortable due to the excess fabric. Breeches on the other hand are meant to be worn with long riding boots or Jodhpur boots and chaps, as they stop above the ankle instead, they also tend to be not as tight fitting as Jodhpurs and are usually quite baggy (which is why they are the preferred choice for men). They are both designed to be more comfortable to ride in then other trousers. They are thicker than leggings so they are less likely to rip or tear unless they're quite old. They are also hug your legs tighter than jeans to there's no material rubbing against you causing chaffing.
There are a few different styles of each and you may here words and phrases such as "Full Seat", "Sticky Bum", "Pull On's" and "Denim". Everyday Jodhpurs or Breeches (often referred to as Pull On's due to their simple design) usually come with knee patches which help prevent chaffing, increase the durability of the material. You can also get ones called Full Seats, which as the name suggests, these patches run from the knees, and all the way up to the seat (bum) of them.
You can also get Sticky Bum, which means that there is a suede type material helping you keep your balance whilst riding, as the name suggests, this helps you stick to the saddle. There's also Denim Jodhpurs and Breeches which are made out of stretchy Denim. However, these are often classed as more of a fashion statement and you're more likely to see people mucking out in them as opposed to riding in them.
You may also here another phrase such as "Two-Tone" and these are Jodhpurs that have two different colours. They usually look the same as Full Seats, but they consist of one part of them being one colour and then another part (usually the seat) being a different colour. They are more popular with Children and Teenagers than what they are with Adults.
There are two types of riding boots available, there are Jodhpur boots which are primarily worn with Jodhpurs and then there are a taller boot which are referred to simply as 'riding boots' which are primarily worn with Breeches although can also be worn over Jodhpurs.
Jodhpur boots are short, usually around ankle height in length just like normal every day shoes and boots are. To help prevent chaffing and help keep you comfortable, they should be worn with chaps. These are usually made out of leather or suede material and go up your leg to just below the knee, much like a riding boot. This prevents the stirrup leathers from pinching at your skin. However, it is important to note that you can't wear chaps during certain events at shows.
Riding boots are tall boots that are usually made out of rubber and stop just below the knee. Unlike Jodhpur boots, you don't need to wear chaps to prevent chaffing, as this is taken care of by the rubber. This also makes them more waterproof and durable. You can also wear riding boots in all showing classes so you have constant protection from the stirrup leathers.
Both come with a small heel which is important for rider safety. This stops your foot from sliding too far into a stirrup iron which could cause your foot to get stuck. This can be extremely dangerous if you fall of as you could get dragged by your horse or pony. Flat bottomed shoes such as trainers and muck boots are not recommended and could actually get you banned from riding at most yards and Equestrian Centres until proper footwear is worn.
If you want to ride on the road, especially in the winter, you'll need to invest in some clothing that enables you to be seen clearly. There are a range of different garments available on the market ranging from fluorescent headbands to fluorescent half-chaps. They tend to come in bright yellow or bright pink (although orange is available but not commonly wore for riding) and have a white reflective strip which should reflect car headlights enabling drivers to see you more clearly. It's not just the rider that can be made to be seen when riding out either, there are lots of options available for the horse as well. Things such as fluorescent exercise sheets, boots, tail guards and more (these are also available in the 'Polite' range)
As well as a range of different styles of high visibility equipment, there are also various styles. There are padded gilets and jackets for riding in the winter months, and for the summer so you don't get hot, you can get gilets and jackets with no padding as well as tabards. There are also the options to get printed high visibility equipment, the most common one being "Please Pass Wide and Slow". If you are having trouble with vehicles not slowing down for you when you ride out, you might try opting for something from the very popular Polite range of clothing. These are styled so they have a strip of blue and white fluorescent squares around them, with a big "POLITE" in the middle, making them look like jackets Police wear. This in turn forces drivers to have to slow down in case it turns out to be mounted Police.
You can also get high visibility equipment with "Smile You're On Camera" printed on the back, again, this usually forces drivers to slow down as if they don't and they cause an injury, the rider can then hand the footage to the Police or put it on YouTube for some vigilante "naming and shaming".