Before you decide to take riding lesson, it will help if you have certain items. Riding lessons are a fabulous way to immerse yourself into the horse world. You don’t have to entirely commit to buying a horse, and you can ‘try it on’ to see if this is something you really want to do, and if you have a preteen daughter who has a severe case of the horse bug, you can (hopefully) satisfy her urge. Or you could be entering the horse world permanently, so proceed with caution! But before you sign up for riding lessons, there are some things you really need to have so you will get the most out of your lessons.
When you begin to do research on barns in your area, and see what is available. You should make appointments at barns or riding stables around you to see if this is what you were hoping it would be. Sometimes the first place you find might be great, but you should check out at least two different barns, and then make your decision.
Once you have decided to commit to a riding lesson program, there are certain items you really need to have in order to get the most out of your lessons. Some may argue that the initial cost is high, however in order to get the most from your investment of time and money it will help you to have the best quality items so they will last, and you will enjoy yourself.
A Trainer you Connect With
People are people, it’s that simple. You need to find a trainer who you(or your child) mesh with. If you need an assertive type personality or a quieter one, it doesn’t matter. As long as that particular trainer’s style of teaching suits you your lessons will be very valuable for you, and you will learn.
Comfortable Paddock Boots
When you are just getting started with riding, paddock (short) boots are going to be less expensive. And you can get some really nice boots for less than $100.00. They are easy to put on and take off, and you can wear them around the barn as well as using them for riding.
Half chaps are a good idea to have for your riding lessons. They will work with your paddock boots, and they come in synthetic, or leather. They will give your paddock boots the look of a tall boot, and they are a lot easier to deal with. The synthetic half chaps will be less expensive, and will last a long time. You can get leather ones too, but they will cost more.
If you are a thrifty shopper, you can find nice name brand half chaps on EBay for sometimes half the cost of a new pair. And if you are just getting started, it is perfectly acceptable to buy used chaps. You can buy these used, and save the extra money you would have spent and put it toward another item you will need.
An ASTM Riding Helmet
Of any equipment that you will be purchasing, this is the most important. The helmet will protect you in the event of a fall, so do not get cheap on this. You do not want to purchase a second hand helmet, or one of questionable quality. Do your homework! Read reviews of helmets before you make your decision. I purchased a very nice helmet from Troxel, called the Intrepid. It looks nice, and the reviews were very good, of how the helmet basically saved the rider from a head injury. It is comfortable and cool (another important aspect of a helmet, especially if you will be wearing it in 90 degree heat!) It is nice enough I can wear it for smaller shows, and it was not outrageous in price. I found it on State Line Tack for $55.00.
If you will be riding English (Hunter/Jumper) you should invest in a pair of breeches. This will help you get accustom to what they feel like in the saddle, and they will also save the saddle. If the lesson saddle you are using is an expensive saddle, your trainer may frown upon you wearing your jeans. The denim material can rub the saddle, and cause wear on the leather. SO get really prepared to be an equestrian, and invest in a pair of breeches.
Some may not think riding gloves are important for riding lessons, but they are. If you are riding in cold weather, they will keep your fingers warm, and keep your hands relatively clean when you are grooming and tacking up the horse. But they also offer protection for your hands, and also help you to get a grip on the reins.
A nice pair of riding gloves will cost around $20.00, and in my opinion, they are worth every penny. So in order to get the most out of your riding time, you should have a pair of riding gloves.
Comfortable Riding Shirt
A comfortable shirt may not be a necessity for riding lessons, but it should be. One of my favorite shirts to ride in is Kerrits brand riding t-shirt. It is great in the summer time, because it keeps you cool! The shirt is longer, so if you want to tuck it in you can.
You want your shirt to be comfortable and have some stretch so you can move with the horse, and not feel restricted or binded. Button style shirts are not the best choice, because the material can be stiff, and you could inadvertently pop off some buttons, which could lead to an embarrassing moment (you don’t really want to know how I know this do you?)
If you do have these items before you begin your riding lessons, they will help to make sure you get the most out of your lessons. It is not a huge investment of money, and if you or your child decide riding is not something they would want to continue, you can always sell the equipment you have purchased.
But if you find that the riding lessons are encouraging your riding adventure farther, then you will already have very useful items that will last you a long time, and help to further your riding. And then you can start thinking about saddles, bridles, and all of the other fun equipment you will need for riding, and possibly horse ownership.
What are your thoughts? What do you think it is really important to have before you begin riding lessons? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.