Horse riding hat
When purchasing a riding hat, it is essential that you get one with a three-point chin strap and make sure it fits securely for ultimate protection. Make sure it meets the current safety standards. It is wise to avoid getting a second-hand hat unless you know its history; even if the hat looks in pristine condition. If the hat has been damaged, even by as little as being dropped, some of the protective features may be restricted.
There are two basic types of riding boot; long boots and jodhpur boots. Although expensive, long boots have the advantage of protecting the rider’s leg and ankles. However, they can be restrictive and uncomfortable to wear. Jodhpur boots are generally more comfortable, but offer no protection to the rider’s leg and so they are most often worn with gaiters that cover the lower leg. Boots will have a small heel on the boot to prevent the foot slipping through the stirrup iron. Trainers should not be worn as they provide little protection and can become stuck in the stirrup, as can wellington boots.
When starting out you may be tempted to turn up wearing your jeans, thinking that these would be sturdy enough for riding in, but jeans can be quite restrictive and uncomfortable when riding. Choose instead a flexible fabric, ideally without obvious seam. Thick leggings or some types of sports or exercise trousers (but not too baggy) would be suitable to start off with, but as you progress you can purchase some decent jodhpurs.
Gloves are not essential though a pair of gloves are helpful to prevent blisters while getting used to the reins. They are also most welcome when riding in the winter months. You will be able to buy riding gloves from most tack shops.
When you begin to progress and move to riding outside the arena, you may wish to invest in a body protector. A body protector is simply a foam filled vest which is worn over the top of your clothes. They are designed to give protection to the back and chest area should the rider fall or be kicked. Again the protector should be bought from a specialist retailer to ensure it fits, and should conform to current safety standards.