Horse riding is an expensive past-time and the kit required to undertake this sport safely is no exception; much of it is specially designed to provide maximum protection to vulnerable areas when on horseback and therefore the cost increases. It is important to be correctly dressed around horses and the items below are some of the essentials:
A good helmet
“Mess up your hair, not your head – wear a helmet”. Helmets are getting better and even a little more stylish so there is no excuse – it should comprise of an outer shell made of ABS plastic or glass fibre, a polystyrene liner, foam padding and an internal fabric lining. The polystyrene liner absorbs the energy from the impact to reduce bruising to the brain in case of an accident. You can spend as little as £25 or up to hundreds of pounds but as long as the hat you choose bears the BSI Kitemark it will be fit for purpose.
Choose a pair with a one-inch heel to prevent your foot sliding through the stirrup and getting caught. The sole and heel of the boots should be flat to allow close contact with the stirrup and the freedom to move, while the outer should be hardwearing, waterproof and easy to clean.
Use these safety cages on your stirrups to prevent a foot from getting caught in the stirrup in case of a fall. They are made from high-quality, lightweight material and offer complete foot stability as well as an improved lower leg position.
Even in warm weather gloves are highly beneficial as they provide a better grip on the reins and can protect hands from burns if the reins are pulled through your fingers. There are many different types of riding glove, from expensive soft leather to cheap woven pairs with rubberised palms but all should offer non-slip technology without restricting your feel on the reins.
Back or body protectors are designed to protect riders by absorbing high levels of energy created by being kicked or stood on by a horse, or falling off. Technology is improving rapidly with back protectors, also known as protective vests. Amateurs as well as eventers can now buy revolutionary inflatable air jackets to protect their back, neck, shoulders and spine. . See here for more details: http://www.point-two.co.uk/.