So you have a horse crazy kid at home who needs to be outfitted with horse gear. You don’t have to spend a fortune but safety is a priority. What is necessary for everyday riding and for showing?
Let’s Start with the Head
Protecting that growing melon is very important and there are some great riding helmets out there for kids. A helmet must fit properly to be effective, otherwise it is just decoration. A helmet designed specifically for use while horse back riding is best as it will meet the criteria for falling from a horse.
Here are some areas to check when fitting a riding helmet:
- Is it snug? It should not move much on the head but not squeeze the head.
- Does it come down far enough on the head? The helmet should ride about 1-1.5 inches from the eyebrows and not press on the ears.
- The chin strap should be able to be adjusted to fit snugly under the chin and not be able to pull forward over the chin.
- The side straps should be able to be adjusted and then locked in place just below the ears.
For showing in an English style event, one can get an inexpensive black velvet helmet cover to go over the everyday use helmet. If showing is going to be a common occurrence consider purchasing a velvet show helmet.
Moving to the Body
Any old shirt will do for everyday riding wear. It will get dirty. Keep in mind what season it is and dress for cool or warm weather and consider long sleeves for sun protection. There are shirts, of course, with fun horse designs and motifs for horse riders.
English Show Coat:
Your budding show ring rider will need a show coat. Ask your kid’s horse friends if they have any outgrown coats hanging in closets before purchasing a brand new one as used kids show coats usually have minimal wear.
Protecting the hands from the sun and for finishing the look in the show ring make gloves useful and necessary.
Since kids have a hard time keeping track of things gloves may be lost so don’t spend a lot of money. We keep gloves in a show equipment bag.
Jeans are the most practical for everyday use. For English style, Jodhpurs are easy to wear and go right over paddock boots. They can even be used in the show ring to avoid purchasing the more expensive tall show boots that the kids will grow out of before they wear out the boots.
Which Takes Us to the Feet
Leather boots are important and necessary as one step from a horse can permanently damage a foot or toe. Horses will not purposely step on human feet. However horse vision is not directed towards the ground so humans are responsible for keeping their feet out from under a heavy horse hoof. Tennis shoes do not provide adequate protection and flip flops should never be worn around a horse.
Don’t forget to teach your kids to take care of their boots by applying leather conditioner. The boots will get lots of wear and it is possible to use the boots for show and everyday if they are taken care of. The kids will probably find leather wipes easiest to use.
And Now for Some Fun
Everyone loves a little color and fun in life and socks are a great place to have some!
Product photos courtesy of Riding Warehouse[contentblock id=5]