Horse riding can be a both a rewarding hobby and sport, but to be comfortable and safe in the saddle, a rider has to wear the proper clothing and equipment. Here are five must-have items to don before getting up on your horse.
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned rider, don't get in the saddle without a Safety Equipment Certified (SEI) riding helmet. This organization provides manufacturers with an independent, third-party, voluntary certification program to ensure helmets have met strenuous safety testing. According to a recent article, nearly 80,000 people are injured from horseback riding annually, with head injuries accounting for 15,000 of those. Sixty percent of all equestrian deaths are from head injuries. Protect yourself with a well-engineered and form-fitting helmet.
Breeches and Pants
A good pair of Western-style jeans are suitable for occasional casual riding, but many avid horse riders prefer the comfort and authenticity of snug-fitting Pikeur mens breeches. They are usually made of a cotton-spandex blend that aids in keeping the rider from slipping in the saddle. While they typically have tapered legs so they easily fit inside riding boots, they are becoming more available in a boot cut style that can easily be worn over the boots.
Traditionally made of leather or suede, the invaluable leg coverings are also available in durable synthetics. Not just for cowboys, chaps can be either full-size, covering the entire front of the legs, or half-chaps, which protect from the knee down. Chaps assist the rider in firmly gripping the saddle as well as protect their legs from the stirrup leathers rubbing against them. They can also protect the rider from branches and thorns if riding in the bush. Additionally, they reduce wear and tear and dirt on your breeches or jeans, extending their life.
There are several styles of riding boots available, and which one you choose typically depends on what kind of riding you do. Cowboys are the traditional choice for Western riders while English-style riders go will knee-high field boots or paddock boots, which are more suited for casual wear around the stables.
While no special undergarments are necessary, many equestrians choose to go with the new breed of synthetic fabrics that are breathable and wick moisture away from the body. Some riders also use riding gloves. These can help aid with keeping your grip on the reins as well as protect your hands.