What horse riding clothing should I buy for my child?
After hours of haranguing, your child has finally convinced you to take her horse riding… but there’s no need to rush out and buy a whole new outfit to start with. Don't be tempted to splash out until after a couple of sessions.
As a parent, your first concern is definitely going to be safety. Your riding school should be able to offer you a hard hat and a body protector for hire. If you’re trying to stagger the cost of all the kit, why not continue to hire the hat and the body protector, especially as these are much more expensive than the clothing described below?
To start with, close-fitting trousers or stretchy leggings will be perfect for the bottom half. Take it from a rider who knows: jeans are actually really uncomfortable to ride in! Boots with a low heel will work but no trainers. A close-fitting t-shirt or top, jumper or jacket. Finally, make sure that gloves are on your list, as reins do have a tendency to cause painful blisters. Then once you and your child are both certain that she or he will continue to ride, you can invest in the appropriate kit.
Start with legwear. Younger children tend to start riding in jodhpurs. For everyday riding, any colour can be worn but for competitions you will need white or beige. Here at EQUUS we love the Toggi Showring – it’s great value, hard wearing and comes in a beautiful selection of colours. Older children often prefer to wear breeches. These finish around the mid-calf and are normally worn with long riding boots. We particularly like the Pikeur Braddy Girls Grip Full Seat Breeches.
Jodhpurs are designed to be worn with Jodhpur boots and these are a very important piece of kit. They are short black or brown boots that can be worn on their own or with ‘chaps’. Again we love the Shires Moretta Rosetta Children's Paddock Boots which can be used for everyday riding and competitions. ‘Chaps’ are a form of gaiter. They provide grip for the rider and protection from the stirrup leathers rubbing the inside of the leg. Take a look at the cute Saxon Children's Equileather Half Chap or you could go for a 'suede effect' one if you prefer.
In the early stages, the only other item of clothing I’d recommend is a jacket. Go for one that’s not too baggy and that doesn’t have a hood, or the hood is removable to take off while they're riding. HKM Children's Softshell Sport Jacket is our favourite as it's got so many great features: it's made of technical fabric that means hay, straw and shavings don't stick to it, it's a modern style, and it's waterproof.
Gloves are an important part of riding wear. Nowadays there are lots of styles to choose from. These Noble Equestrian ones will keep blisters at bay or, if you prefer something more traditional, the Mountain Horse Crochet Glove II Jr is a well known best seller.
So the moral of the story is: don’t let your child be impressed with by other children in jodhpurs and jackets… all this can come later when you know they’re in it for the duration!
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