What to Buy a New Rider – Gift Guide
New riders are understandably enthusiastic about their equestrian hobby, and often want to dive right in and get all the gear!
With Christmas (and Black Friday) both fast approaching, now is a good time to spoil someone with some horse riding gear if you’ve got a child, spouse, or friend who’s recently been bitten by the horsey bug.
Breeches or Riding Tights
One of the most important parts of a rider’s wardrobe is a good pair of breeches or riding tights. These are far more comfortable than jeans or sweatpants when you’re in the saddle, and are designed to give riders flexibility and freedom to move in the saddle.
You’ll find a few different types including silicone and suede seat breeches, ones with grippy knee patches, or super lightweight and airy riding tights. For most Novice riders, your safest bet is to go for something with plain or silicone knee patches. Full seat breeches are often lovely, but new riders may find the stickiness difficult to adjust to.
If you live in a hot climate, riding tights can be a great gift as they’re much cooler and lighter than traditional breeches. Here’s a detailed guide to choosing between breeches and tights if you’re still not sure which would be the best option.
If there’s one piece of safety equipment that is worth investing in from the start, it’s a helmet. Hopefully the new rider in your life won’t be taking a tumble any time soon, but if they do it’s a relief knowing that they have proper protective headgear on.
Riding helmets these days come in a variety of styles, from blingy and eye-grabbing to traditional and muted. For kids, there’s the same funky and bright variety that you’d expect from bicycle helmets. Riding helmets are also far less bulky than in previous years and are now lightweight and comfortable to ride in, even on hot summer afternoons. Plus, they look good too!
The key thing when it comes to riding helmets is choosing one which is the right size and shape, and which the rider will be happy to wear day in and day out. Depending on your budget, you could look at something classy and polished like the IR4G XLT in navy and rose gold, or go for something that won’t break the bank but will still offer all the safety and function that you need, like the equi-pro helmet.
Boots are necessary from both a safety and practicality standpoint. Not only do a pair of good riding boots make it easier to feel the horse and give you decent grip in the stirrups, they’re also suitable for all the other parts associated with horses; tacking up in stables, walking across paddocks, hosing your horse down, longeing, and so on. In sneakers, you end up with dirty, broken shoes and socks full of grass and sand very quickly! It’s also good to remember that most riding-specific boots have sturdy toes to protect from a stray horse foot – this can be a lifesaver for new riders whose horsey spatial awareness skills are still developing!
On the horse itself, the extra ankle support provided by a boot helps to keep your ankle from rolling in the stirrup and can give the rider a better leg position. If you wear chaps or tall boots, it also stops the stirrup leathers from pinching the inner calves.
The choice of tall boots or short boots is largely due to personal preference, although most beginner riders start with paddock or jodhpur boots. Not only are they typically more affordable, they are also easier to get accustomed to as tall boots can feel restrictive in the saddle initially. And any rider will tell you that the ‘breaking in’ period for long boots can be a tough one! Regardless, we’ve got you covered with this guide to tall boots vs short boots.
If you do opt for short boots, a pair of half chaps is often a great idea to protect the legs and give you that equestrian look without sacrificing on comfort or budget!
Finally, a pair of riding gloves is a must-have for any new rider. Later on in their equestrian career they may decide to ditch the gloves (some showjumpers in particular prefer to ride without them), but most horse riders find them a pretty crucial piece of equipment when it comes to comfort.
Gloves are obviously there to help prevent blisters from the reins, but they’re also used for extra grip. This can be useful if your horse tends to get strong or pull the reins out of your hands, but can also just help the rider to keep a consistent contact on the reins. In wet weather, for example, reins can easily slip out of your hands and become a safety hazard for both the horse and rider if they are not wearing gloves.
Gloves also make a great gift for almost any rider because they’re easy to fit by just buying the right size, are an essential piece of kit that tends to get used daily, and because most riders tend not to splurge on items like gloves and will wear theirs until the fabric is more hole than glove.
There are so many things that you could buy for a brand new horse rider, from breeches to their very own crop, or even a special saddle pad for the horse they ride. However, these few pieces of riding gear are the essentials when it comes to being safe and comfortable in the saddle. Whether you’re buying for yourself or shopping for a gift, we’d recommend breeches, boots, gloves, and a helmet as the perfect starter kit for a new rider.