It’s time! You are finally getting your first horse riding lesson (or returning for your first lesson after several years), and you are eagerly packing your bag, ready for the big day. But that leaves you with the question of what you will need to get the best experience possible.
In this article, we are going to share with you:
- The best clothing to wear to your first lesson
- What equipment you will need for your first lesson
- The best post-riding self-care
What to Wear to Your First Riding Lesson
What you wear for your first lesson has more importance than ensuring you look great in those first-ride photos. Clothing is integral to personal protective equipment, and you must get it right. Wearing the wrong thing can result in saddle sores, grazes, bruises, and other skin-related issues. While we have a full guide to what to wear horseback riding, here’s a crash course on what to wear to your first lesson:
Selecting the Right Clothing
When you go riding, you should choose clothes based on three criteria
- Clothing that is tough and durable
- Clothing that covers your skin
- Clothing that is easy and comfortable to move in
Hard wearing clothes
Your clothing needs to be hard-wearing because you will find riding horses is very unforgiving on your clothing. Not only will your clothing get dirty, but it will also be rubbing against the saddle for the entire duration of your ride. Your clothing may also get caught on sharp edges in the stable and tear your clothing. I have had to throw away many pairs of jeans that developed holes in the inside of my thighs! This is why proper riding pants are considered a valuable investment. Riding pants have reinforcement in all high-wear places.
Covering Your Skin
The second criterion is that your clothes need to cover your skin. Protecting your skin is essential to prevent rashes or blisters from both the saddle and dirt found in the horse’s coat. Having exposed legs or arms can also be a problem when you ride outdoors because exposed skin makes you susceptible to sunburn.
Don’t Forget Your Toes!
When choosing your outfit, ensure you don’t forget about your feet. I can tell you from experience that it hurts a lot when a horse accidentally stands on your toes. So the best shoes to wear are steel-toe boots. But any boot with a covered toe will work if you don’t have steel-toe boots.
Equipment to Bring to your first Riding Lesson
The items on this equipment list are entirely optional, but they will help take your riding lesson to the next level.
Gloves: We highly recommend riding gloves. They will help protect your hands from ‘reign burn,’ keep your hands warm in winter, and increase your grip. Of course, you don’t have to wear gloves, but they make your experience much more enjoyable.
Half Chaps: Half chaps are great if you wear regular jeans and low-cut boots. Not only do they help keep your jeans from being damaged, but they also increase your grip and protect your shins if your horse kicks you.
Helmet: You should ALWAYS wear a helmet when riding a horse, and most riding schools will provide them. However, you can often take your own helmet (please check with your riding school, sometimes they have specific requirements). Having your own helmet not only means that you can get one that fits your head perfectly, but you also know its entire history. If a helmet has even one fall, it can become ineffective and needs replacing. By having your own helmet, you know you have a helmet that is in good condition.
*If you decide to purchase a helmet, make sure you buy one new, not second-hand.
Water: You should always take a water bottle to your riding lesson. Horse riding is hard work, and it is easy to become dehydrated.
Snack: Again, horse riding is hard work, and there is a chance you will be hungry when you finish.
Camera: You can’t use a camera during your lesson, but you can take a photo of the first horse you rode! (Make sure you get permission from the instructor). If you ask very nicely, you may even be able to get the instructor to take a quick photo of you on your horse!
After your first lesson
When you finish your lesson, you can do a few things to ensure you don’t end up sore and regretting your decisions! Horse riding is fun, but it also uses muscles most of us don’t even know exist until we ride! Your muscles will be sore for a few days after your lesson, but there are things you can do to reduce soreness after horseback riding. To help your muscles recover as soon as possible, we recommend you do a few things, including:
Stretch: Stretch your muscles to allow them to cool down after your ride
Bath: Have a warm bath with Epsom salts to help your muscles recover and decrease the amount of muscle soreness you experience.
Water: Drink lots of water. Re-hydrating will help your body and muscles recover from your workout.
Eat: Eat a healthy, nutritious meal to help your body recover its energy and grow the muscles you just worked.
Massage: If you find you are just too sore, consider going and getting a massage to help your muscles relax.
Final Thoughts on What to Wear to Your Horse Riding Lesson
Riding lessons can be a great experience with tons of benefits, and we hope you love every second! But to take your lessons to the next level, make sure you dress appropriately. Wear a long sleeve shirt, hard-wearing jeans, boots, gloves, and a helmet. You won’t believe how much more enjoyable your lesson becomes. But don’t forget to look after yourself when you finish your lesson by drinking water, eating a nutritious snack, and then sinking into a hot bath, reminiscing the incredible afternoon you have had.