Ovation Riding

New Rider Essentials

Gear Up for Your First Ride: New Rider Essentials Attire

Horse riding is a rewarding and exhilarating activity that can improve your health, happiness, and bond with your horse. As a beginner, you should have the proper gear and supplies to keep yourself and your horse safe and comfortable in any situation. Here are some of the must-have items for every new horse rider.

Safety Equipment

Safety is the most important thing when you are around horses. You need to have the right gear before you ride, so you can be comfortable and protected. A professional should help you find the best fit for your safety gear, so it stays in place and works well. Follow this page to learn more about safety equipment.


Helmets are essential for horse riding safety across all divisions and disciplines. They protect your head from serious injury by reducing the impact felt during a fall and preventing sharp object penetration. According to the American Medical Equestrian Association, ASTM/SEI approved helmets have reduced all riding-related head injuries by 30% and severe head injuries by 50%.

Helmets come in various sizes, colors, and styles, so you can find one that fits your head, your budget, and your preference. You should always wear a helmet that suits you well, no matter your riding style. You have many options for helmets in different colors and shapes, so find one that matches your preferences and flair.

Safety Vests

Safety vests are an important piece of equipment for equestrian riders. They can protect the rider’s torso, neck, and pelvis from injuries in case of a fall or collision. Body protectors are made of lightweight foam that absorbs and distributes the impact of a fall. They are always on and cover the chest, back, and sides of the rider. They can prevent rib fractures and internal organ damage, but they cannot prevent spinal injuries or crush injuries from the horse. Safety vests can reduce the risk of serious injury for equestrian riders, but they are not a substitute for proper riding skills, training, and helmet use.

Helmets and Safety Vests

Gear and Apparel

Equestrian Pants

Equestrian riding, also known as riding breeches, jods or tights, are designed to provide increased safety, comfort, style, and flexibility while riding horses. They are important for all riders because they protect your legs from chafing and bruising your thighs. Ensure close contact with the horse's skin which offers better control

The 3 types of equestrian pants are:

  • Jods are full length pants that need to be rolled up by a few inches at the bottom. The excess material means they don't sit flat over your ankles, because of this, they're best suited for short riding boots. Such as Jod boots. Hence the name!
  • Breeches are not designed to be full length. They’re slightly shorter, stopping just above your ankles. This means that they sit flat to your calf, because of this breeches that fit correctly aren’t suitable for use with short boots. Best for tall riding boots.
  • Tights are a more recent addition to the riding world often falling into the ‘athleisurewear’ category. Riding tights are designed to feel like a second skin. Generally a sportier, thinner, pull up version of traditional jods.


Equestrian boots are a critical component for safety, performance, and comfort. They are an integral point of contact with your horse and pivotal in defining your ride's safety and quality. They protect your feet from unpredictable elements such as mud, rain, or rough surfaces. Riding boots increase your control over the horse by preventing your foot from sliding through the stirrup. Additionally, they offer invaluable supports to the rider's ankles and legs, aiding in maintaining the correct posture and reducing fatigue during long rides.

Dress code: Different disciplines have different rules and expectations for what kind of boots the rider and the horse should wear. For example, in show jumping, the rider should wear tall boots or paddock boots with half chaps, and the horse should wear tendon boots2. In dressage, the rider should wear long boots that are more rigid and less flexible than show jumping boots, and the horse should wear boots that are discreet and match the saddle pad.


Equestrian tops are clothing items that riders wear on their upper body when riding horses. They are important for comfort, protection, and style in and outside of the show arena.

Some of the features of equestrian tops are:

  • They are made of breathable, moisture-wicking, and stretchy fabrics that keep the rider cool, dry, and flexible.
  • They have sun protection to shield the rider from harmful UV rays.
  • They have fun and fashionable designs that reflect the rider’s personality and taste.

Some of the things to avoid when choosing equestrian tops are:

  • Tops that are too loose or too tight, as they can restrict movement, cause chafing, or get caught on the saddle.
  • Tops that are not suitable for the season or the discipline, as they can make the rider too hot or too cold, or violate the dress code of the show.
  • Tops that are made of low-quality materials that can fade, shrink, or tear easily.


Riding gloves shield your hands and enhance your hold on the reins. They are not necessary, but many riders like to wear them as they adjust to the friction and tension that happen when guiding the horse.


To ride, both you and your horse need to be equipped. We have covered your equipment, now it's time to outfit your horse. If the barn lends you the horse, you may not have to bring your own tack. But if you use your own horse, you need to select the right gear for them. Wrong-sized tack can injure your horse and make riding unsafe. Consult your instructor for sizing advice. The tack you will need covers:

  • Bridle
  • Bit
  • Halter
  • Lead Ropes
  • Reins
  • Stirrups
  • Cross-ties
  • Saddle
  • Saddle Pad
  • Saddle Accessories such as leathers, girth strap, and irons

For general horse care:

  • Blankets: Blankets are used to keep horses warm and dry in cold or wet weather. They come in different weights and sizes, depending on the horse’s needs and climate. Blankets should be checked regularly for fit, cleanliness, and damage. They should be removed when the weather is warm or sunny, or when the horse is sweating.
  • Horse boots: Horse boots are protective gear that cover the horse’s legs and hooves. They are used to prevent injuries from impact, abrasion, or overreaching. They also provide support and stability for the horse’s tendons and ligaments. Horse boots should be fitted properly and cleaned after each use. They should be removed when the horse is resting or in the stall.
  • Horse leg wraps: Horse leg wraps are bandages that wrap around the horse’s lower legs. They are used to prevent swelling, inflammation, or infection of the legs. They also provide warmth and compression for the horse’s muscles and joints. Horse leg wraps should be applied correctly and changed regularly. They should be removed when the horse is exercising or in the pasture.