Children’s riding apparel has a major impact on their ability to ride safely and effectively. Traditionally, equestrian riding apparel has consisted of jodhpurs, or riding breeches, tall boots or paddock boots, a riding helmet, a riding shirt, and a jacket. Certainly, a jacket is not necessary for your child’s riding lessons, but the other articles of equestrian riding apparel should all be considered necessary for a variety of reasons, safety being the most important.
Riding apparel for children is designed with safety and comfort in mind, with just enough added whimsy and color to make it fun for your kids. Your child’s equestrian riding apparel will protect their fingers and toes from injury, help them to maintain contact with the horse, and prevent their feet from slipping out of the stirrups. The most important article of children’s riding apparel is an ASTMF/SEI approved riding helmet. As parents, we all want our children to be safe and happy. The appropriate children’s riding apparel can help do just that.
Breeches and Jodhpurs
Riding pants have remained virtually unchanged for centuries, except for the materials used to make them, and for good reason. Riding pants must be snug in the lower leg to allow for contact with the horse and more flexible in the seat to allow for freedom of movement. Modern stretchable materials have made riding breeches, or jodhpurs, far more comfortable, breathable, and easier to get clean (and thank goodness for that!).
Baggy clothing should always be avoided around horses and riding in shorts is never a good idea. Pinched skin never feels good and falling from a horse because of baggy clothing that catches on something can mean a trip to the hospital. Properly fitting equestrian riding apparel allows freedom of movement and good contact, making riding lessons safer and more constructive.
Jodhpurs come in several styles, with either a traditional waist or a low rise waistband. Jodhpurs can be front zip, full seat, pull on, or side zip style. The most important things to look for when shopping for children’s riding apparel are fit and comfort. This is not something you want your child to “grow into”. Children’s riding apparel must fit properly to be safe. You can add to your child’s delight with children’s riding apparel that features fun designs and horse prints, while maintaining the high quality of workmanship that good children’s riding apparel requires.
Keep Your Head with an Approved Riding Helmet
Riding helmets must be approved by the ASTM/SEI to be safe. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) set standards of safety for riding helmets and the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) conducts the necessary tests to determine if a specific brand of riding helmet meets that ASTM standard. Approved riding helmets display an ASTM/SEI sticker on the inside. ASTM/SEI approved riding helmets are thicker, have better padding and a safer harness system than unapproved riding helmets.
Basic riding helmets incorporate all of the innovation, design, and technology available on the market today. You can go one step further with riding helmets that feature the Advanced Technology Dial-Fit System that allows you to customize the helmet by hugging the back of your head reducing the tendency of the helmet to shift forward or backwards when riding. The Dial-Fit-Feature provides for a perfect fit that will protect young riders as it wicks away moisture. Look at things like air flow, padding, and adjustability. If your child needs something more lightweight, you can try the Air-Light riding helmet. The Air-Light riding helmet offers a flexible visor and air vents. This riding helmet also features the Dial-Fit System for greater comfort and fit.
Tender Toes Need Protection, Too
As anyone who has ever been stepped on by a horse can tell you: it hurts. Young riders need the protection of paddock boots, whether on the ground or sitting astride a horse. Children’s equestrian apparel is made specifically with young riders in mind. You can purchase paddock boots or short boots for your young, novice rider unless they plan to enter the show ring. In that case, they will need tall boots.
Regardless of the type of riding your child will be doing, their footwear must provide toe protection, arch support, a non-skid sole, and a liner that will absorb moisture and prevent blisters. Well made riding boots will help keep your child’s foot from slipping out of the stirrup, thereby preventing a fall.
Stay Safe with Chaps and Gloves
Chaps are not just for motorcycle gang members. Chaps and half chaps provide protection from chafing and better contact with the horse. Generally, children wear half-chaps over their jodhpurs, which will only cover the lower half of their leg. Gloves are another article of safety gear that should be found in their stable bag. Young fingers and hands can be easily burned or damaged by a horse pulling away suddenly. Gloves provide excellent protection and they will help to keep your child’s hands warm during winter lessons.
Parents can make their child’s horseback riding experiences far more safe, constructive, and enjoyable with the appropriate children’s riding apparel.