Taking up riding? Or thinking of buying a horse? You’ll be in for a bumpy ride unless you make sure that you and your new equine friend are properly kitted out. A big animal comes with a big list of gear you’ll need to provide.

Read on for our comprehensive guide to horse and pony riding equipment.

Choosing the right tack

Let’s start with your animal. What equipment does your horse or pony need?

A good synthetic or leather saddle is a must, for both the horse’s comfort and health and for the rider’s. Make sure you measure your horse correctly, or better still, get a saddle fitted professionally.  Prices range from around £60 for a basic child’s pony saddle up to several thousand for the serious jockey saddle, but there’s also a good second-hand market.

You’ll also need a saddle-pad to stop the saddle rubbing or slipping against the horse’s back and sides. Expect to pay anywhere from £20 to £200 or upwards. A girth will keep the saddle firmly in place.

Then you'll need a bridle and reins, for which prices start at around £20. A bit and stirrups could also set you back around £20 each.

Beyond those basics, the equipment you’ll need depends on your individual horse and what kind of riding you’re doing: dressage, hacking, show-jumping or just for leisure.

It’s certainly pricey – but fortunately, you can get your tack covered with good horse insurance.

Caring for your tack

If you’ve bought good quality equipment, you’ll want it to last. Tack, especially if it’s made of leather, needs regular cleaning and polishing, otherwise it will become brittle and cracks – endangering the safety of both you and your horse.

You can get soaps, oils and conditioners for leather or synthetic materials from any equine store.

Grooming your horse or pony

Who doesn’t love the sight of a horse in full gallop, or even a playful pony? But to keep them running freely, and their coats glossy, you’ll need a full set of grooming and horse care equipment.

You’ll start your grooming routine with a curry comb, which loosens dirt from the horse’s coat. Then you’ll need a set of brushes for the horse’s body, face, mane and tail.

A hoof-pick gets out any stones or dirt from your horse’s hooves before they can fester and cause discomfort or infection. Equesure give away FREE hoof pick to anyone attending our trade stand at Equine shows, the hoof pick is metal as these are deemed the best type (stronger than plastic) and they have a loop at the end so you can hand the hoof pick on the stable wall/door as hoof picks often get lost. Be sure to attend one of our upcoming events to take advantage of this!

If your horse is covered in mud, it will need a good wash. Choose a specialist shampoo as horse skin is generally quite sensitive.

It’s easiest to buy a specialist grooming kit containing all the essentials. You can pick them up from an equestrian shop for around £30-50.

It’s a lot of gear – but grooming and caring for your horse is not only a health and beauty must, it’s also a fabulous bonding experience. In fact, it’s where the phrase ‘curry favour’ comes from: a great way to get in your horse’s good books.

Equine food, shelter and health

One option for stabling is to keep your horse housed in a professional yard offering a livery service. That will include turning them out for exercise in the mornings, feeding and watering them, and keeping their bedding fresh. However this can cost over £100 a week!

Alternately you can go for a cost effective “DIY” option where you have to put in lots of hours to care for the horse yourself. This usually costs around £60 pounds a month upwards depending on the facilities.

Your animal will love a good stable rug that buckles around their body to keep them warm at night. In the summer, lightweight turnout rugs can keep off the flies and protect from the sun. Expect to pay around £60 for a heavyweight rug and a little less for something more lightweight.

Your horse is going to eat like the proverbial, so feeding and water troughs or buckets are essential. They don’t need to be pricey, just tough!

Make sure you have basic healthcare to hand, such as fly repellent, bandages, wound cream, and cleansing wipes. You can buy a first aid kit for around £25.

Horse rider insurance may include cover for some vet fees for your mare, stallion or pony for accidental injuries while you are riding.

Horse riding clothing

Now it’s over to you!

Safety first: your hat. This could be a life saver. All riding hats sold in Europe must be CE certified, but it’s best to check for a Quality Assurance Mark such as a BSI Kitemark or an SEI Mark, too. Prices start at around £70, but this is not an area where you want to skimp on quality.

An extra safety item you might consider is a body protector, which provides cushioning if you fall. For kids, they begin at around £30, but you can pay in the region of £200 for an adult, lightweight, flexible one. Some of them even have an airbag that inflates when you leave the saddle!

Riding boots with a smooth sole and a small heel are the best form of footwear, as well as looking swish. You can get a basic pair for just £30 or some made to measure ones for a much bigger price tag with the biggest brands. A pair of riding gloves will keep your hands comfortable and warm for just a tenner.

Whatever safety equipment you choose, make sure you’ve also got horse rider insurance offering a good level of personal accident cover.

Once you’ve got safety sorted, you can ride in pretty much any comfortable clothing. However, there’s a great selection of jackets, jodhpurs and other clothing out there that will keep you hacking, showing or jumping in comfort and style!

Where to shop?

Many of the big sports shops, such as Decathlon, offer equestrian equipment. There are also specialist stores, such as The Saddlery Shop or Derby House

You might find that prices are cheaper online, and most shops will accept returns. However, it’s still wise to get some items measured correctly: a poorly fitted saddle or helmet could spell discomfort or even serious injury if you were to have an accident.

Protecting you and your horse with horse rider insurance

Here at Equesure, we’ll search our UK panel of insurers to find horse rider insurance for anyone who rides, whether you actually own a horse or not.

Bespoke cover can be tailored to your needs and can come with various options including:

  • Personal accident cover up to £20,000
  • Personal dental treatment cover up to £1,750
  • Custodial liability

Horse rider insurance is available for riders from the age of five upwards. We have three options – Junior, Adult and AdultPlus. We also have a “pick and choose” policy where you can add cover for your riding clothes as they often get cut off when you have a riding accident and there is also additional legal cover available.

Get your horse rider insurance in place today and you and your horse can hack, jump or school safe in the knowledge that you're covered!

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