What Equipment Do You Need to Ride a Horse?

When choosing a sport to participate in, it’s important to understand all of the required gear and equipment. Some sports require very little equipment, while other sports, such as horseback riding, require quite a bit. 

Read on for a thorough list of the horse riding gear & apparel you’ll need if you choose to take up riding. 


The largest piece of riding equipment you’ll need is a saddle, which varies based on the style of riding you plan to do. Saddles are also where the stirrups attach. 


The girth is a wide strap lined with soft material, such as wool, that holds the saddle on the horse. It connects to either side of the saddle using buckles and stretches across the horse’s abdomen. 

Reins and Bridle

The reins and bridle are what allow a rider to control a horse. The bridle wraps around the horse’s head, ears, and jaw. The bit, a metal bar that goes in the animal’s mouth, is attached to the reins, which are long leather straps that are used to steer the horse. 

Harness and Lead Rope

The harness fits around a horse’s head like a bridle, but unlike a bridle, a harness has no reins. Instead, a lead rope is clipped to the harness and acts as a leash. The harness and lead rope are used for leading horses from one place to another when they have not yet been prepared for riding. 


A pair of non-slip riding gloves can help you maintain control of your horse by preventing your hands from slipping on the reins. They also help prevent blisters or calluses on your hands. 


A helmet is inarguably the most essential piece of equipment a rider can own. Helmets help prevent head injury when and if a rider falls. An important thing to remember about helmets is that you should replace yours after any significant fall, especially a fall that involves a head injury. 


Riding pants are designed specifically for flexibility and grip. Many have panels on the inner thighs and seat that help keep you from slipping. 


Riding boots come in a variety of styles. The most notable feature of any riding boot is the heel. A good boot will have a heel that is tall enough to cling to the stirrups but short enough that it won’t be cumbersome. 

Proper attire and equipment are essential to a good riding experience, so make sure you’re always using the items best suited to your horse and purposes. If you’re just starting out as a rider, you can usually borrow a lot of this equipment from your instructor and purchase attire second-hand or on sale.