As anyone who's spent time around horses will know there's a lot of equipment required to ride one, some pieces more essential than others.
There are reputable riding outlets all over Australia that can fit you out in all the gear you need, starting with a solid pair of riding boots, with a raised heel to stop your foot from sliding through the stirrups. Gloves are highly recommended too, as you'll be holding the reins for long periods and will want to keep your hands in decent condition!
A good pair of jodhpurs, made of flexible material and snugly fitted below the knee, will ensure you are comfortable in the saddle, though jeans are fine too, as long as they're not so tight as to restrict your movement. For your upper body you will want a t-shirt or some form of base layer, with either a long sleeve shirt or a jacket over the top to provide some protection from the elements. Some riders enjoy the extra confidence a body protector offers, both from falls or stray branches when riding through wooded areas. These are also recommended for advanced riders attempting to jump.
Most riding schools will provide helmets, but if you're starting to ride more regularly you will want your own as riding without a helmet is never a good idea. Bike helmets are not suitable for riding purposes, so you will want a specific horse riding-developed and certified helmet, and there are plenty of styles and colours on the market these days. Look for a helmet that is snug, but not so tight it's uncomfortable, with a chin strap that's the same. And, always remember if a helmet has been involved in an impact you should replace it straight away!
When it comes to the horse you can spend a fortune kitting them out in an endless array of equipment, but there are a few key pieces. The bridle consists of the bit (the metal piece in the horse’s mouth), the leather or synthetic headstall around the horse’s head, and the reins which we use to guide the horse. The saddle is traditionally made of leather, though lighter synthetic models are growing in popularity, and it is all but essential for horse riding. It's vital that the saddle is well fitted for the comfort of the horse and the rider, and so that the rider can best control the horse. The saddle sits on a pad, to keep the horse comfortable, and these come in a variety of materials too.
There is no shortage of incredible horse riding equipment on the market, but to start riding you really don't need to spend a fortune. There are many great retailers around the country who will do all they can to help get you on your way, so what are you waiting for? Saddle up today and enjoy the ride!