Modern horseback riding offers many physical and emotional benefits. It’s a sport that encourages you to be outdoors and connect with nature. Whether in the saddle or doing stable care, you can always get good exercise in your day. If you're wondering, "what do you need to ride a horse," our blog has you covered!
Learning the sport also allows you to invest time in developing skills that bring joy and fulfillment. Finally, doesn’t connecting with animals sound like a good way to spend your time?
But it can be intimidating if it’s your first time in an equestrian center. This is why we made a comprehensive list to answer the most important question for a beginner: What do you need to ride a horse?
With that, let’s hop into the article to find out the essential equipment, supplies, and clothing you need before riding a horse!
What Equipment Do You Need to Ride a Horse?
Eastern and Western horseback riding are North America's most commonly known styles. Learning the differences is good; you’ll see what you like better. But for this article, we’ll provide you with the essential basics, regardless of your preferred style.
When horseback riding, having the right equipment is crucial. Not only does it keep you and your horse safe, but it also allows you to enjoy the overall riding experience. Here is all the must-have gear for horse riding.
If you have to decide which equipment to buy first, it must be a saddle. You can also include a saddle pad and a girth. The size and fit of the saddle must be comfortable for you and match your horse’s back. A properly fitting one will distribute the rider’s weight evenly across the horse’s back, preventing soreness or injury.
The saddle pad goes under the saddle to prevent it from rubbing against your horse’s skin. The girth helps your saddle to always be in place.
Saddles can be made from different materials, such as leather or synthetic materials. They also come in various types, including English, Western, and endurance saddles. You can research more about saddles here to learn the best choice for you.
Next is the bridle, which includes the bit and reins. It acts as a communication tool for you and your horse. For safety purposes, ask help from your trainer to find a bridle that matches the size of your horse’s head. The bit is a metal mouthpiece that goes into the horse’s mouth.
Choosing a bit ultimately depends on your riding experience and your horse’s sensitivity. You must ensure that it doesn’t apply irritation or pain to your horse.
The reins are what the rider uses to communicate with the horse, and they should be long enough to avoid accidents when your horse decides to extend his nose and touch the ground.
A stirrup is a metal ring that’s attached to stirrup leather. It is a spot where you can rest your foot while riding or support yourself while mounting your horse.
Stirrups come in different types, such as traditional or safety stirrups, which release the rider’s foot in case of a fall. You must also pick the right size and length of stirrups to have good balance and stability.
Before riding a horse, always check if you’re wearing a helmet—not just any helmet, but a horse riding helmet that follows safety standards. Whether you choose jockey skulls or peaked helmets, selecting the right fit is essential. A helmet that properly fits will provide an enjoyable riding experience and protect your head when you accidentally fall.
What Supplies Do You Need to Ride a Horse?
You don’t have to buy everything you see on the internet. For a beginner like you, these essentials can make all the difference in your first horse-riding experience.
Different types of boots include long and short boots (also called jodhpur or paddock in English disciplines). You can choose from leather or synthetic materials in many styles.
If you’re a new rider, you may not be used to wearing long boots and find it too restricting. An ankle boot is a good choice, but make sure to choose one with a small heel to have a good grip on the stirrup and prevent slipping. Choosing boots that fit well and are comfortable to wear is important.
Next up are riding gloves. Looking at experienced riders’ hands, you may see some callouses. That’s because reins are not the most comfortable things to hold. As a beginner, you may find it awkward at first to have a passing rein in your hand.
Gloves protect your hands from blisters and help you maintain a good grip on the reins. Different types of riding gloves are available, such as leather gloves or gloves with grip patches. Choosing gloves that fit well and are comfortable to wear is essential.
The next item is the hoof pick. This is a small tool used to clean the horse’s hooves. Hoof picks come in different types and sizes, so it’s important to choose one that’s appropriate for the size of the horse’s hooves.
Last but not least, a grooming kit is a must-have for any horse owner. It includes brushes, combs, a hoof pick, and a sweat scraper. These tools keep the horse’s coat and hooves clean and healthy.
What Do You Need to Wear to Ride a Horse?
Riding pants are designed to provide comfort and protection in the saddle. They come in different types and materials, such as breeches, tights, or jeans. The material should be stretchy, allowing for freedom of movement, and durable enough to withstand wear and tear. The fit is also important, as you want pants that are tight enough.
Next, we have the riding shirt. A good riding shirt is comfortable, breathable, and allows for a full range of motion. The material should also be durable to withstand heavy usage. Riding shirts come in different types, such as t-shirts, polo shirts, or long-sleeved shirts, and can be made from cotton or synthetic fabrics.
Also called a safety vest, a riding vest provides an extra layer of protection while allowing for freedom of movement. Like with horse riding helmets, choose a vest that follows safety standards. It’s designed to protect you when you fall, and for beginners, it gives you more confidence. Riding vests come in different types, such as down vests or fleece vests, and should be made from a breathable material to prevent overheating.
Finally, we have rain gear. Even if the forecast is clear, it’s always good to be prepared for rain when horse riding. A good rain jacket and pants will keep you dry and comfortable, even in a downpour. The material should be waterproof and breathable, allowing sweat to escape while keeping the rain out.
Take Notes and Start Your First Horse Riding Experience Today
As a novice rider, you can get lost in the number of things you need to have before mounting your first horse. This is why this list exists—to provide a starting point.
We’ve talked about the essential items you need to start horse riding. Getting the right equipment, supplies, and clothing will keep you safe and provide an overall enjoyable first horse riding experience.
Now that you have the basic must-have knowledge, it’s time to get out and start your journey on the trails. Learn more about our services at Pine Hill Ranch to find the perfect riding lesson for you or your loved one.