What to wear to your first riding lesson
So, it’s time for riding lessons! Welcome to the equestrian world - it is a great place to be, but can be very confusing in the beginning for aspiring riders and their parents, so we want to help you with step 1: what to wear. Depending on where your child is taking lessons, there may be different expectations for how young riders need to be dressed, however, there are a few basics that you will want to invest in no matter what your barn’s style.
While many barns have helmets for your child to use for their first few lessons, you will want to invest in a helmet if they plan on riding regularly. A bike helmet will not cut it. And best to purchase a new helmet, rather than using a hand-me-down, as the foam interior breaks down over time and provides less protection. If you can go to a local tack shop and have a helmet fit by a professional, that is ideal. The helmet should fit snugly and not move around on your kiddo’s head when they move their head up and down.
You have 2 options when it comes to riding pants - tights and breeches.
Tights are more like leggings and may be a great choice for a first ride. They pull on and often have silicone grips on the seat area to provide additional stability in the saddle. Tights pair well with short paddock boots.
Breeches are more like regular pants, with a zip fly. They are meant to be worn with a half chap (which we will get into more later), or tall boots (which come much later). Breeches are a much more professional look.
Paddock boots are short boots that stabilize the ankle and offer extra protection for toes - important for those times your child is not on the horse. These boots have minimal tread on the bottom, to prevent the foot from getting stuck in the stirrup in case of a fall, and the heel helps keep the foot from sliding out of the stirrup. While you can get away with a heeled fashion boot for the first couple of rides, you will want to invest in a pair of paddock boots. They are not expensive and can be found in local tack shops as well as big online retailers.
Half chaps are worn over paddock boots and protect the lower leg and provide extra grip while riding. They help keep breeches in place and prevent rubbing and sores on the lower leg.
There are many shirting options for young equestrians - and this is where your kiddo can really express themselves. In warmer months, a breathable mesh shirt or one with sun protection is desirable. For cooler weather or early morning rides, a heftier long sleeve top may be the best option which is also great as a layering piece. A tucked-in look is preferred at many barns, so a bodysuit may be a great choice. So much easier than trying to tuck a shirt into tights or breeches and no bunching! And a graphic tee showing off your equestrian style is always a good look - whether on a pony or hanging out around the barn!
At hippique, we created apparel that will take you from your first lesson and beyond. We are sure you will find something that suits your kid’s style and that they will love riding in.