I wonder if we went back in time thirty or so years ago and had a look at a tack room at a riding school or equestrian yard, I imagine it would look a bit basic and sparse of equipment. Bring yourself back to modern age and the array of tack and accessories that you have now just to hack out, school or compete is absolutely vast!
The equestrian industry is now a minefield of gadgets and gizmos for all aspects of riding. I have over the years been drawn into buying anything from a stirrup extender to collapsible water carriers…all of which I have never used! I have learnt now to curb this impulsive equestrian shopping habit and try and buy only what I actually need. So where do you spend your money wisely when buying riding wear?
WEAR A RIDING JACKET THAT DOES THE JOB
I struggle going into an equestrian retailer without coming out with yet another jacket, gillet, hoody or fleece. This is my real weakness…. However a good quality riding jacket which is waterproof, breathable with pockets for your phone and other essentials (ie. polos) will see you out for many years.
WEAR JODPHURS OR BREECHES THAT ACTUALLY FIT
Make sure you have also correctly fitting clothes when riding a horse. There is nothing worse riding with jodhpurs too tight in the waist, or baggy on the legs. I have also maintained that shopping for jodhpurs or breeches is like buying jeans. We are all different shapes and sizes out there and ill-fitting jodhpurs or breeches are pretty uncomfortable to ride in.
ALWAYS BUY A PROFESSIONALLY FITTED RIDING HAT
Never ride out on a horse without a correctly fitted riding hat, it’s your equivalent of a seat belt in a car. The pink glitzy riding hat on the stand may grab your eye and you feel you have to have it…but does it fit you properly? Always go to a reputable saddlery to buy a riding hat where it can be fitted professionally.
BE COMFORTABLE IN YOUR RIDING BOOTS
Being comfortable must also apply to riding boots. Ensure you have ones with a good comfortable fit, a decent tread for non-slip and fit perfectly for your leg length and calf width. Don’t be tempted by the bargain pair that may be too long in the leg, thinking you can wear them in. Pinching in the back of the knees when riding is not a pleasant experience… Another one of my shopping mishaps was buying riding boots that didn’t fit in my stirrups irons! So this costly purchase ended up with another pair of irons to accommodate the new chunky riding boots….
DON’T FORGET RIDING GLOVES
Another item that is necessary to use when you’re riding, whatever the weather, is riding gloves. These are not just to keep your hands warm in inclement weather, they are vital for extra grip and also preventing “rope burn” if the horse pulls away from you fast or spooks. They are also much needed when schooling a horse or competing to ensure you have plenty of grip which helps with control of the reins. Gloves come in all shapes and sizes so make sure you use a sizing chart for the brand of gloves that you are choosing to buy. Guess work can lead to gloves being too big, too long or too short which makes a very uncomfortable ride.
Every horse owner and rider likes a bit of horsey shopping and perhaps you can never have too many pairs of breeches, boots or gloves. However do you really need that diamond encrusted tack box… probably.
Written by Samantha Hobden for https://www.macwet.com/
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