Equestrian Riding Apparel - What to Buy For Head to Toe Comfort and Protection
As you look over the shopping list provided by your trainer for your very first horseback riding lesson, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. There are more products to choose from than you could possibly have imagined, whether you are shopping for equestrian riding clothes for yourself or for your child. The key points to focus upon when shopping for equestrian riding apparel are durability, style and comfort. Each article of equestrian riding clothing has a specific purpose. Understanding that purpose will help you make more knowledgeable purchase decisions, resulting in greater satisfaction and a better riding experience.
The basic articles of equestrian riding apparel include boots, a helmet and jodhpurs. These items will protect you from injury while providing you with the necessary freedom of movement and close contact you will need to become a skilled rider. There are several other articles of equestrian riding apparel that will go a long way to protect your body and provide you with comfort. These include thick socks to prevent blisters, a good pair of riding gloves for when you are mounted, a pair of work gloves to prevent rope burn when working with horses on the ground, a crop that fits comfortably in your hand, a fitted riding shirt and a bag to carry everything in as you travel from home to the barn and back again.
Shopping For Style And Fit
Being new to riding, you will not be familiar with the different brands of equestrian riding apparel available on the market today, so stick with the most popular brands, such as Equine Couture, Tuffrider and Goode Rider. These brands have a proven track record and you are sure to get your money's worth and a good fit. Your riding breeches can be high or low rise, pull on, or front or side zippered. The most important factor in selecting your equestrian riding clothes is that you must be able to move freely while maintaining close contact with your horse.
Riding shirts and jodhpurs provide the flexibility you need to ride well, far better than any clothing from home ever will. Loose or baggy clothing should never be worn while riding due to the increased risk of snagging or chaffing that can occur with casual attire. High quality, equestrian riding apparel will make your riding experience far more productive while keeping you safe and comfortable.
Protect Your Feet With Riding Boots
Let's face it, horses are big and they are heavy. Anyone whom a horse has stepped on can tell you that the possible damage to your foot is well worth preventing. There are even some horses who, when they feel something uneven under their hoof (such as your toes), will lean even harder, despite your frantic efforts at shoving them away. Properly fitted riding boots, whether tall or short or in the form of paddock boots, will protect your feet from these risks while ensuring a secure foot position within the stirrup.
Well-made riding boots also provide you with a clear line of communication with your mount. Your heel will be far more effective at moving your horse where you want him to go if you are wearing a hard-heeled riding boot. Leave the sneakers in your car. They have no place at the barn - ever.
Never Ride Without An ASTM/SEI Approved Riding Helmet
Just as bicycle and motorcycle helmets are tested for their effectiveness, horse riding helmets are put through a grueling series of tests deigned by The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and conducted by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI). Always ensure that your riding helmet is ASTM/SEI approved and that the retention harness is secure. Never buy a used riding helmet, as there is simply no way to guarantee its protective integrity.
To determine the proper size riding helmet, use a tape measure around the widest part of your forehead. Use this measurement, in inches, to determine the proper size helmet from the manufacturer's sizing chart. There are added features available to make riding helmets more comfortable. These include ventilation strips and moisture-wicking panels.
The more comfortable you feel, the better you will ride. Everyone feels nervous the first few times he or she rides. It is a thrilling experience to mount and manage an animal as large and powerful as a horse. Wearing the appropriate equestrian riding apparel and an approved riding helmet will assist you in feeling and riding your best, today and for many, many years to come.
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