For anyone with a love of horses, horse riding can be a beloved hobby. But as with any activity involving animals there is always the risk of accidents. Specialized horse riding equipment such as horse riding helmets and horse riding boots help keep riders safe and comfortable. The two most important pieces of horse riding equipment a beginning rider should invest in are a horse riding helmet and a pair of horse riding boots.
Helmets should be worn at all times around a horse, not just when riding.
A good horse riding helmet not only protects against impact with the ground if a rider should take a spill, but also protects the rider’s head if he or she is accidentally stepped on or kicked by the horse.
Horse riding boots are another important piece of horse riding equipment for many reasons. Horse riding boots not only protect a rider’s toes and feet if they are stepped on by the horse, but the heel on a boot also helps keep the rider’s foot in the correct position in the stirrup. Without a proper heel the foot can slip all the way through the stirrup and become caught.
For a beginner rider the task of which horse riding helmet and what style of horse riding boots to choose can be daunting. The most important thing to remember when purchasing a helmet is to make sure that it’s ASTM/SEI approved. This means it’s been tested by the American Society for Testing and Materials and also has been made specifically for the sport of horseback riding. Other types of helmets such as those made for biking or rock climbing do not provide sufficient protection for horseback riders.
Riders should make sure to try on any helmet before purchasing it. The chin strap should be adjusted to fit snugly without choking and the helmet should stay in place on the head without falling down over the eyes or bouncing around when moving. Most riding helmets look similar and are unfortunately fairly unflattering, but riders can buy helmet covers in a variety of colors, designs and styles in order to personalize their helmets.
An ASTM/SEI certified helmet will generally cost anywhere from $30 to over $100. For beginner riders a simple, schooling type helmet will provide sufficient protection and should cost under $50. As riders advance they should purchase a more professional, competition type helmet especially for jumping or faster disciplines such as barrel racing or polo.
When buying a pair of horse riding boots the number one thing to consider is comfort. The horse riding boots must fit correctly (just like any other shoe) and have a heel between 1 and 1 ½ inches. Horse riding boots are typically divided into two basic styles: English and Western.
English style horse riding boots are usually black, have a small heel, and run up the leg over the calf. This type of boot is used for the English style of riding such as dressage and jumping. Western horse riding boots are the more commonly recognized cowboy boot . They are leather, have a slightly higher heel, come up to mid-calf, and are made in a variety of colors. Western horse riding boots are worn for all types of western style riding such as barrel racing and calf roping. They also work well for trail riding or as boots to wear around the barn.
Both styles of horse riding boots usually cost around a $100, but riders can save money buy purchasing a used pair of horse riding boots. As long as the fit is correct and comfortable, used horse riding boots can be just as good as a new pair. When looking for helmets riders should purchase new, up to date helmets.
Horse riding equipment can be purchased on-line at websites such as Statelinetack.com and Theequestrianstore.com. Riders can also purchase and sell used horse riding equipment in the classified section of Bitsandbridles.com. In order to ensure the correct fit of horse riding equipment riders should visit their local tack shop where they can try on horse riding boots and helmets before purchasing them.
All horseback riders, especially beginners, need specialized horse riding equipment in order to ride safely. An approved, well fitted helmet and durable heeled boots are a necessity for anyone who spends time around horses. Horseback riding can be an unpredictable sport, but with proper, correctly fitted horse riding equipment riders can help ensure themselves a safe, comfortable ride.
Blocksdorf, Katherine. “Choosing clothes for Horseback Riding.” About: Horses. 2007. About, Inc.30 Apr. 2007. http://www.horses.about.com/od/choosingandusingtac k/a/garments.htm.
State Line Tack. 30 Apr. 2007. http://www.statelinetack.com.
The Equestrian Store. 2 May 2007. http://www.theequestrianstore.com.
Ad Sections. Bits and Bridles. 2 May 2007. http://www.bitsandbridles.com/cgi-bin/classifieds/ classifieds.cgi