Riding horses can be pricey - especially if you own a horse. Equestrian tack is not cheap and we need many things: breeches, boots, gloves, helmets, and of course the tack for your horse. But how much should you spend on your safety gear?
You have probably heard the saying you get what you pay for. It is also true when it comes to buying equestrian tack. You want to buy safety gear that lasts long and (of course) is as safe as possible. Cheaper products are not made to last - so, oftentimes it is best to invest a bit more in the beginning to get greater value.
How much should I spend on helmets?
No rider should ever ride without a helmet - that is an absolute non-negotiable. Even the most experienced riders can fall off, and you never know when it will happen. A helmet protects your head from concussions, fractions, and (yes) possible fatal accidents.
Most helmets you find on the market are high-quality and tested. So, the main difference between them is simply esthetic. The more money you spend, the better brand and more attractive helmets you can get. Of course, you should always pay attention to the safety featured of the helmet.
You can get a good helmet for about a hundred dollars, or a very nice one for $300-500.
How much should I spend on safety stirrups?
The purpose of safety stirrups is to release your foot from the stirrups in case of a fall. This way, you will not get dragged behind your horse. Every rider should have safety stirrups of a sort. However, the market is full of different kinds of safety stirrups. Your job as a rider is to pay attention to the safety features of the stirrups.
Each brand manufactures their stirrups differently, and you may end up spending tens or hundreds of dollars in a good pair of safety stirrups. Just keep in mind that when it comes to stirrups, the more you pay, the better they (most likely) are.
How much should I spend on safety vests?
Not all riders wear safety vests. However, it is always recommended, especially for showjumpers and eventers. A safety vest protects your ribs, spine, and chest from fractures and broken bones. A regular, hardshell safety vest is a great choice, but a Hit-Air vest for equestrians can be more comfortable. It gives you more freedom of movement and it is a lot lighter than a regular safety vest.
If you get a safety vest for yourself (which you should), invest in a good one that lets you move while protecting your spine.
What other safety gear should I get?
In addition to a helmet, safety stirrups, and safety vest, you should get the following:
- Riding boots
Gloves protect your hands from rope burn and blisters while riding boots are essential for keeping your foot from sliding through the stirrup or getting caught. They also protect your calf from the stirrup leathers.
You cannot put a price on safety - invest smart!
Frequently asked questions
Do I really need all the safety gear?
Depending on your discipline, maybe not all of them, but definitely all the essentials, such as a helmet, gloves, and boots. Preferably safety stirrups, too.
Are safety stirrups really that important?
Yes, they are! Every rider will, sooner or later, fall off their horse. When they do, it is important that falling is as safe as possible. Safety stirrups prevent your foot from getting stuck in the stirrups.
I see some riders ride without helmets all the time. Is it safe if you are very experienced?
No one should ever ride without a helmet. After all, it does not matter how good of a rider you are: your horse can always spook, trip, or even fall, due to no fault of his or your own. Accidents happen. You should always ride with a helmet on.