Boots are essential footwear for those who ride horses, and great attention must be paid to the choice of these accessories. A good pair of riding boots can make a difference not only in terms of sensitivity and control when riding, but also in the paddock in case of any hoof stomps. On the market you can find boots of different shapes, finishes and materials, and it is above all this last aspect that is among the most important in the choice. Rubber boots are cheaper than leather ones, but they have several disadvantages especially in case of frequent use: rubber tends to deteriorate more quickly, while leather is much more durable. Riding boots usually have a low heel, which does not exceed 3 or 4 centimeters in thickness. The sole must be made of non-slip material that allows optimal stability both when riding and when mounting and dismounting the saddle. To make it easier to put on, some boots are equipped with a side zip, but not always: the zip can in fact be annoying while riding, so many people prefer "one-piece" boots. Obviously the boots must be tried before purchasing, paying particular attention that no discomfort or abnormal compression is felt at the bend of the knee. There are two main types of riding boots: English riding boots and Western riding boots. English riding boots are the most traditional ones, black in color and shiny in appearance, and reach the knee. These boots are used in jumping and dressage competitions and for all classic riding-related activities. Western riding boots have a thicker heel, and are usually made of brown or natural leather.
Helmet ( cap )
Head protection in the event of a fall is of fundamental importance when riding a horse, and this is why riding helmets, known in jargon as caps, exist. These helmets are simply made: they have a cap shape with a small front visor and a chin fastening system (chin strap) using straps or clips. Some helmets are lined with velvet, usually black, while others are made entirely of plastic and more resistant to the elements. Many models are also equipped with grooves that allow the scalp to breathe: these helmets are essential in summer to avoid heat stroke. There are riding helmets of different shapes and models on the market, and the choice of one or the other is not a mere aesthetic question. It is in fact important that the cap adapts perfectly to the rider's head, therefore trying it in person is essential before purchasing. Finally, before purchasing the helmet it is necessary to check that it is approved in accordance with the European reference legislation, CE 1384. If the helmet were to suffer a strong impact, for example following a fall, it is necessary to replace it even in the absence of obvious external damage. It is in fact possible that the internal structure may have cracked or cracked, thus exposing the user to a considerable risk in the event of a subsequent impact.
Riding gloves are essential accessories especially when you spend a lot of time on horseback, since they help protect your hands from abrasion from the reins. Gloves are also very useful during the cold months, because they protect your hands from wind and weather. For this reason there are winter gloves, which are quite thick and robust and sometimes lined in GORE-TEX® (a breathable material that prevents rain from infiltrating). On the other hand, the gloves to be used in the summer season are much lighter, and covered with highly breathable fabrics to ensure maximum comfort of use. A very important feature of riding gloves is represented by their non-slip capacity: the palm covering material must guarantee maximum grip and sensitivity towards the reins. To improve wearability, some glove models are also equipped with an adjustable Velcro closure.
Those who only go horse riding occasionally are "satisfied" with wearing a pair of jeans or sturdy trousers, but for horse riding enthusiasts the right trousers are necessary. The riding trousers have a tapered shape that adheres perfectly to the rider's legs, without seams or annoying fabric folds. The end part of these items of clothing can also be slipped inside the boots without difficulty. In specific riding trousers, soft elements can be inserted at the level of the buttocks which allow for more comfortable riding, and thicknesses at the knees which increase adherence to the saddle. In addition to these "structural" elements, riding trousers are made of fabrics that are particularly resistant to rubbing and use, unlike normal clothing items which tend to get ruined after a few uses. On the market you can find trousers suitable for all seasons: the summer ones made of cotton are light and breathable, while the winter ones are thick, resistant to bad weather and usually lined internally with a warm material such as flannel. The riding breeches are available in versions for men, women or children.
Shirts, jackets and other necessary clothing
One of the aspects related to riding clothing that can most easily be overlooked concerns the upper part of the body. Unless you are involved in competitions or competitions, in fact, it is possible to dedicate yourself to horse riding by simply wearing a sweater, a fleece or other comfortable clothing. Obviously things change in the case of professionals or those who dedicate themselves to show jumping or dressage competitions. In this case the clothing must meet particular regulatory requirements, and include a blue or black riding jacket for high level competitions, which can also be of other colors (e.g. red or beige) for minor competitions . The trousers must be white, as must the shirt worn under the jacket, while as regards accessories it is essential to wear a cap (black velvet) and brown or black boots. In addition to clothing, it is also advisable to wear special back protection, known in jargon as "turtle". It is a sort of padded vest to be worn under clothes and which, in the event of a fall, cushions the impact with the ground. These vests are especially recommended for beginners and children.
Horse riding is certainly not among the cheapest sports, and one of the reasons is due to the cost of clothing and accessories. Nonetheless, you cannot skimp on the purchase price, since choosing the right riding equipment is first and foremost a matter of personal safety. Here are the prices, in general, of riding clothing:
- boots : the price range is extremely wide. In fact, they range from rubber boots, simple and for occasional use, which generally cost from 40 euros and up. When you move to leather models the prices obviously rise: the cheapest are around 100 euros, reaching over 200-250 for the most prestigious boots intended for professional riders;
- helmet : ranging from minimum prices of 25-30 euros for a simple training or walking cap, up to 70-100 for the caps used by professionals and for competitions;
- gloves : they are probably the cheapest accessories, and can be purchased starting from 10-15 euros. For the most sought-after models or famous brands, you have to take into account a higher expense, around 25-40 euros;
- trousers : also in this case the price variability is quite wide. The lightest and simplest trousers can be purchased starting from around thirty euros, while those to be used in competitions or in the cold season can cost up to 80 euros and more;
- shirts and jackets : usually the prices for shirts are around 30-50 euros, while for racing jackets you can spend from 80 to 250 euros;
- back protector : these protections usually cost from 60 euros up, but the most professional models can cost up to 150 or 200 euros.
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