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Are you looking for a new sport to try this spring?. If you’re an animal lover, want to get a full body workout and love spending time outdoors, then horse riding (western or English style) may be the new sport for you. The benefits of horse riding are immense: ranging from physical exercise, to core strength and stability, to improved mental health from the release of serotonin (thanks to the horse and the exercise). Unlike many outdoor activities, horse riding is accessible to all ages and physical abilities. Learning to ride a horse is most easily achieved by signing up for riding lessons where an appropriate horse and tack will be provided for you to use during the lesson. If you choose this route, there is still some gear you’re going to need – we list the top 6 horse riding essentials.
It’s worthwhile investing in a well-fitting helmet with a 3-point chin strap. Don’t be tempted to use a helmet suited to another type of sport. It’s also not a great idea to get a pre-owned helmet as its protective features may have been compromised. Visit an equestrian supply store and try different options to ensure you get the right product for you. Don’t be tempted to just wear a cowboy hat if you’re a beginner and trying western riding – your head will be glad of that extra protection if you take a tumble.
Long riding boots with a small heel give your feet and legs the best protection for English style, although some people may find them restricting. Cowboy boots are a perfect option for western style riding. For either riding style a long-boot alternative would be ankle boots with a small heel and good tread, plus gators to give lower legs extra protection. Do not opt for running shoes or barn boots for this type of activity.
Pants without an inside leg seam and with some stretch are the best choice. Try to avoid standard blue jeans or other pants, which can be restrictive and uncomfortable due to the lack stretch. If you are able to purchase riding breeches look for versions with added grip in the butt and inner knee areas for English style riding. Something in the Wrangler range for those who ride Western style and prefer a multi-purpose pant would be a great option.
These give some protection to hands and assist with grip in holding reins for long periods of time. To avoid blisters and sore hands, choose a pair of riding gloves that have extra protection between the fingers where the reins sit.
The Safety Vest
A safety vest is an excellent horse riding essential to ensure your body is protected should you fall or get kicked by the horse during your session. It’s designed to be worn over your clothes and has a lightweight feel, so should be comfortable to wear. Ideally this should be fitted by a trained retailer.
The All-weather Mats
An essential for your car for the journey home, to protect the footwells in your vehicle from any dirt, manure or straw that may have collected on your boots during your equestrian session. Initially you may not think about putting Travall Mats Terrain Edition at the top of your must-have riding gear list, but when that smell of manure won’t leave your vehicle, you’ll definitely be wishing you had.