There’s no need to go crazy buying equestrian clothing when you begin learning how to ride a horse. A few basic items will get you going.
Some horse riding schools will lend you a riding helmet for your first horseback riding lessons. Even if they do, you’ll soon need to get your own, and this is one item you simply cannot afford to skimp on. Don’t buy a used one: it may have unseen cracks and not do its job properly should you take a blow to the head. Buy a new riding helmet which conforms to ASTM/SEI standards and it will protect you.
Make sure it fits very snugly and - when the strap is closed - doesn’t move when you shake your head. Troxel makes very stylish riding hats around the $40 mark.
Don’t be tempted to purchase a Western hat for that style of riding – it won’t protect you and no horseback riding stables will let you wear it for lessons.
For your first few riding lessons, wear hard-soled shoes with ½ inch to 1½ inches heels. Later you can invest in a pair of riding boots.
Western boots are available for as little as $100. Tall synthetic English riding boots can be as low as $45. Alternatively you can purchase paddock boots which will cost you around $40. The advantage of these is that they’re comfortable to wear around the barn as well as when riding.
Jeans work for Western riding but not for English, as the inside seam will rub your knees sore. Start with loose-fitting pants or pull-on riding pants for around $25.
You can invest in a pair of chaps to put over your jeans for Western riding, but hold off on buying this expensive item until you know for sure that Western is going to be your chosen riding discipline.
4. Shirt (& Jacket, if necessary, makes the ½ item!)
For both Western and English riding you can spend a fortune on chic riding shirts and jackets. But as a beginner rider you are best served wearing a loose fitting shirt and jacket. Choose clothing that you can wash the horse smell out of!
Apart from your helmet, which should be new, you can buy good riding clothes at used tack stores and I have picked up incredible bargains this way. There’s no need for the correct riding attire to cost you a lot. Save your money for the riding.