Starting a new sport or hobby usually involves some kind of financial outlay. Whether it’s safety equipment, travel costs, or clothing – half the battle is usually figuring out what it is you need right away and what can wait until later. You’ll find our recommendations on this here. The next step is to look at what you might need to spend once you do go shopping; how much does horse riding equipment cost?
It’s no secret that horse riding can be an expensive sport. There are many options in terms of what to buy depending on your level of experience. Here’s what to expect:
- BEGINNER TAKING LESSONS $5 to $83
- RIDING MORE OFTEN $80 TO $795
- EXPERIENCED $305 TO $2365+
The table below is a good guide to the basic items you will need, organized according to budget and experience level. This will help you to see what you might need to spend at different stages of your horse riding adventure. Each item of equipment has a price range, influenced by factors you’d expect such as brand, quality, and safety standards.
The amount you spend, even on the basics, could escalate quite quickly if you decided to go for the top of the range every time. When you’re going for your first few lessons or if you just have a lesson every few weeks, this is far from necessary. Reputable riding centers will have helmets and sometimes boots that you can borrow or hire, so all you need to purchase is a pair of gloves. They don’t need to be dedicated horse riding gloves, but they do need to have some grip.
It’s not very often that you end up needing to buy the best option on the market, no matter how deeply you get into the sport. However, there are times when it is prudent to invest a bit more for the sake of the quality and comfort of your riding. Making the right decisions about when to splash out on a more expensive item and when to economize can be tough – especially if you’re working with limited funds. Assuming you’ve already purchased that all-important pair of gloves, had a couple of lessons and decided to spend a bit more, let’s take a look at what else you should be buying, depending on your budget:
If you shop around, you can get everything you need for your horse riding lessons for under $100; riding helmet (and cover if needed) jodhpurs/breeches, and riding boots.
Invest in: A good pair of jodhpurs/breeches. It makes absolute sense when you think about it. When you’re riding, it’s your bum and your legs that are in close contact with the saddle and most likely to experience rubbing or friction. Riding breeches offer the right combination of flexibility and protection in these areas, which can prove invaluable. Being comfortable while you are riding allows you to concentrate fully on your instructor and your horse. You don’t want to be shifting and shuffling in the saddle as this interferes with the messages you are sending to your horse and can set both of you off balance. In addition, you’d want ones that offer protection from the elements. These breeches are especially good for some wintertime rides.
If you keep it basic, you can get all the items we’ve listed for under $200. If there is a lot of diversity to your riding; if you are riding outside in all weather, jumping, trail riding, schooling, and doing some light stable duties, then this is probably the way to go. However, if you don’t need some of those optional items just yet then think about putting the leftover budget into upgrading one or two particulars.
Invest in: A body protector. Chances are that, as you gain skills and confidence, you will start to do more daring activities – even if you are still just taking lessons at a riding center. Naturally, more daring activities mean there is a higher risk of falling off, so it’s worth spending a bit more on a protector, to keep your spine and your internal organs safe. The key here is to choose one that has side panels as well as at the front and back.
For this kind of budget, you can certainly splash out on some more expensive, individual items. What you choose to spend more on should be driven by the type of riding you are doing or are most interested in pursuing in the future. If you’re not sure, then it would be a good idea to save the money until you’ve had a chance to try different things and make some decisions. You don’t want to end up with top-end riding boots gathering dust in a cupboard because you’ve decided you want to go Western after all!
Invest in: A really good all-weather riding jacket. Something that will keep you warm and dry but that is breathable so you can continue to wear it even if it’s warm. This brilliant jacket is both insulated and waterproof with a solid zipper, high front pockets and convenient openings at the back which leads the rain water away from the seat and saddle leather, giving you a much better riding experience in wet conditions.
Invest in: A couple of purpose-designed horse riding tops. Maybe one long-sleeved and one short-sleeved. Along with your all-weather jacket, these will make riding in different temperatures and at different levels of intensity (eg. galloping out or jumping) much more comfortable. This site has lots of great options for all different shapes, sizes, and scenarios.
Invest in: A higher-end glove. Breathability and grip are key, along with a snug fit and quality material through which you can still feel the reins. Keeping your hands warm is only part of the equation. As you gain experience, you will be looking for a glove which allows you to keep the rein steady in your hand (no slipping due to rain or sweat) and doesn’t interfere with the sensitivity of the hand movements you make, as you learn to communicate more effectively with your horse. These gloves fitted our needs and tastes really well.
So, how much does horse riding equipment cost? Well, as we have seen – to a degree – it’s as much or as little as you want to spend. Some items can be fit for purpose without being specific to horse riding – for example, thick leggings will work until you get breeches or jodhpurs. Regular shirts, sweaters, and coats will be fine until you’ve got the budget to buy new ones. Safety equipment, such as helmets and back protectors, however, need to be those designed for the sport. As you get further into horse riding and purchase more items that have been made by equestrian suppliers, you’ll develop a taste and feel for your favorite brands and what features you value over others. Usually, they are designed and road-tested by horse riders, for horse riders, so that you can be as comfortable and safe as possible. You might also choose to get involved in a specific discipline, such as dressage or trail riding, which will naturally influence the kinds of purchases you make. Whatever your budget and interests, buy the best that you can for the money you have. Investing a bit more, wherever possible, will usually pay dividends when it comes to your riding – and after all – who doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy?