With enthusiasm and a “I-got-this attitude,” your young rider will feel ready to hop on a pony for her first ride. Although she might have the right mindset, she also needs the right equipment to ensure her first ride is safe and enjoyable.
Before you break out your wallet, you will want to know two things. First, make sure your child likes riding and wants to stick with it. There is no use investing in a lot of equipment if she’s going to lose interest after a handful of lessons. Second, you want to know the essentials she needs to get started. Horse riding can be an expensive sport, so you will want to start with the fundamentals and add on as needed.
Here is a checklist of basic riding equipment your young rider needs to stay safe in the saddle.
- Helmet. Don’t let your child mount a pony or horse unless she’s wearing a sturdy, snug-fitting helmet to protect her from head injury in case of a fall. She might be able to borrow a helmet from the instructor for her first few lessons, so ask before you buy one. When you do decide to purchase one, look for an ASTM/SEI certified riding helmet. A young rider new to the sport could opt for a schooling helmet (rather than the more expensive show helmet), which comes in a range of sizes, and is durable, lightweight, vented, and adjustable. Expect to spend $30 and up for a quality helmet. Tip: Look for a helmet with a removable, washable headliner.
- Paddock Boots. When your young rider first starts out, she should wear ankle-length paddock boots when riding a pony. The boots provide much-needed ankle support and the small heel helps prevent tiny feet from slipping out of the stirrups. You can find a decent pair of paddock boots starting around $30.
- Pants. For the first few lessons, your little rider can wear jeans or leggings to ensure her legs don’t chafe against the leather saddle. Eventually, you’ll want to buy a pair of riding pants such as breeches or jodhpurs. Tip: Look for sewn-in, durable knee pads to protect the pants (and knees!) from wear and tear.
- Gloves. To protect little hands from blisters and, more importantly, to ensure a solid grip on the reins, a pair of gloves rounds out the “must-haves” for young riders. Tip: Look for a comfortable, “grippy,” breathable fabric with Velcro-fastening for an adjustable fit. You can find a good pair of kids’ gripper gloves for under $10.
Before your young rider hops up on her first pony, make sure she has the basic riding equipment she needs for a safe ride.
Contact us at PonyTail Bows for more information.