When helping outfit new English horseback riders here at Millbrook Tack, we tend to see two distinct groups: adults new to riding and kids whose parents signed them up for riding lessons.
The adult riders are the ones who have always wanted to take English riding lessons and are finally doing it for themselves. The children riders have just been signed up for that first life-changing riding lesson (if this is your kid, be prepared for a new lifelong addiction!).
Horseback riding is an incredible sport. Like any other sport, horseback riding is much more enjoyable with the right equipment! Most riding stables only require a few very basic items. In this post, we’ve included 5 items that will make riding lessons exceptional for the English horseback rider.
1. A Properly Fitted Riding Helmet
Most riding stables will offer these, however you’ll be more comfortable having your own. Like other helmets, they must not be dropped and need to be replaced after 5 years. We have riding helmets under $75 that are comfortable and certified (meaning they meet all helmet safety requirements)! They also haven't been on 100 stinky heads. We can be certain we get you out the door with the correct fit, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing the helmet hasn't been dropped countless times!
2. Correct Riding Boots
Riding boots are crucial for safe horseback riding. There are two types of English riding boots: tall boots and paddock boots. Paddock boots are a great choice for anyone just starting English riding. These are short boots that are low profile with a heel and an easy-to-use zipper. They are comfortable and provide support. The heel will keep the rider's foot from slipping through the stirrup should they fall. We carry full leather paddock boots as well as synthetic paddock boots. Synthetic paddock boots can get wet and they don't need conditioning. These are a great entry-level option!
3. Riding Gloves
A good school horse is worth its weight in gold, but chances are good that even the best horse will pull on the reins while you’re riding. Riding gloves are excellent for keeping you from getting blisters. They won’t allow the reins to slip through your hands by giving you grip where you need it.
English riding gloves come in a variety of materials. Leather riding gloves are always classic and the good ones are still comfortable in the summer. Other riding gloves are crocheted, nylon, or mesh, and only have leather on the palms and between the fingers. Trust us, solid, comfortable riding gloves are worth the investment (and can be as little as $20).
4. English Breeches
Breeches is a fancy word for riding pants. Yes, it is true, you may be able to wear jeans or leggings to your horseback riding lessons. However, the seams on jeans can rub against the saddle, scratching it and also chafing your legs. There's nothing more miserable than having the insides of your legs rubbed raw from jean seams. When you see western riders wearing them, it's usually a special design that doesn't have seams on the inner legs for this reason!
English riding breeches have extra padding where you need the grip. Most riders will start with knee patch breeches. This means they are enforced at the knee, usually with a silicone knee patch or suede knee patch. That extra grip will come in handy as the rider progresses. They are slim fit to prevent rubbing.
5. A Bottle of Water
Hydrate like the athlete you are! Spectators may think that the horse is doing all the work, but riders know that English horseback lessons can be draining. Take care of yourself before, during, and after your riding lessons by bringing enough water. If you're looking for a cute horse-themed canteen, we've got 'em.
As fellow riders, we know the bond between horse and rider is an incredible thing. This sport will help you discover more about yourself or your child than you would ever expect. It teaches our children responsibility, accountability, trust, and confidence. Kids and adults alike tend to blossom when around these magnificent animals.