15 Essential Horseback Riding Equipment Pieces You Need Now

If you’re new to the world of horseback riding, you might be surprised by all the equipment that’s needed. While some of it may seem obvious (like saddles and reins), other pieces are more specialized (like stirrups and breastplates). 

In this article, we’ll walk through each piece of essential horseback riding equipment in detail so you can learn how each one works and what role it plays in your overall experience on horseback.

Top 8 Horse Riding Essentials – YouTube
Selecting proper horseback riding equipment is critical for the safety and comfort of both rider and horse.
Horse riding equipment should be chosen based on discipline, horse conformation, skill level, and personal preference.
Investing in quality safety equipment is crucial for every rider, regardless of experience.
Regular maintenance and replacement of horse riding equipment is essential for safety.
Properly fitting horseback riding boots, a perfectly-fitting saddle, and the necessary safety equipment are fundamentals necessary for every horseback rider.


A saddle is one of the most important pieces of horseback riding equipment, and it should be comfortable and well-fitted. 

The saddle should also be appropriate for the horse’s size, as well as your own weight and skill level. 

If you’re just starting out, it might be best to start with a Western-style or English hunting saddle rather than jumping right into something more technical like an equitation or jumping saddle.

The type of saddle will depend on what kind of riding you want to do:

  • Western = long stirrups; used for cowboys in movies!
  • English = short stirrups; used by people who are trying not to fall off their horses

A pair of well-fitting horseback riding boots is essential gear. Not only do they keep your feet and legs safe while riding, but they can also help you maintain proper posture. Learn more about the importance of properly fitting boots, and how to choose the right pair, with our guide on The Importance of Properly Fitting Horseback Riding Boots.


The girth is the strap that goes around a horse’s body to keep your saddle in place. It should be wide enough for the horse’s barrel and long enough for you to ride comfortably.

It should also be sturdy enough to support your weight, but not so stiff that it rubs against his skin or causes chafing.


When you’re riding, your feet need to be firmly in place. The stirrups are what keep them there and allow you to control the horse with your legs. 

They should be the right size for the rider, as well as made of metal or synthetic material that won’t break under pressure (i.e., don’t use leather). Stirrup length varies depending on whether or not you have long legs or short ones; most people should have stirrups at least 4 inches long when they’re mounted on their steed.

Bridle with Reins

A bridle is a piece of equipment that attaches to a horse’s head. It includes a bit, which is placed in the horse’s mouth and controls its movements. The reins are used to control the bit and make contact with the horse when riding.

There are different styles of bridles available on the market today, including Western headstalls (also known as hackamores), English bits and even lightweight nylon halters for young riders or those who want something more comfortable than leather around their necks while they ride their horses. 

The size of each individual part depends on what kind you choose: A heavier rein will be thicker than one made from lighter material; similarly, longer bits have more leverage over shorter ones because there’s more room for them between your fingers when gripping at full length instead of holding onto only half as much rope like with regular sized models..

The saddle is perhaps the most important piece of equipment for a rider, as it directly affects the horse’s movement and comfort. Choosing the right saddle requires careful consideration of factors such as discipline, horse conformation, and personal preference. To help you navigate the saddle-buying process, check out our guide on The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Perfect Saddle for Your Horse.


A breastplate is used to protect a horse’s chest, help keep the saddle in place, and can be used during training or competitions. 

It’s made from leather, plastic or metal (often aluminum). The most common type of breastplate has a strap that goes around your horse’s barrel; some have chains instead of straps for added security.

Safety should always be a top priority for every rider, regardless of skill level or experience. Investing in quality safety equipment can make all the difference in case of an accident or fall. Discover the top 15 pieces of safety equipment you need to have with our guide on The Top 15 Pieces of Safety Equipment Every Rider Needs.

Riding Gloves

Riding gloves are an essential piece of riding gear that you should have in your tack room. They help prevent blisters, protect sensitive hands, and provide extra grip for riding. 

There are many different styles and materials available–from leather to nylon–so it’s important to find a pair that fits your needs and preferences.

Riding gloves come in a variety of colors as well! You can choose from black and white, or even pink! If you’re looking for something more subtle there are also gray or navy blue options available too!

Riding Helmet

A riding helmet is a must-have piece of equipment. Here’s why:

Safety – As you’ll see in the next section, there are many different types of helmets available, so it’s important to choose one that fits properly and offers adequate protection for your head.

Comfort – If you’re not comfortable wearing your helmet, then it won’t be much use at all–you may as well skip wearing one altogether! And no matter what kind of riding gear you get for yourself or your horse, if he or she doesn’t like being dressed up in it (or saddled up), then neither will he/she cooperate with any sort of training program.

Comfort – If you’re not comfortable wearing your helmet, then it won’t be much use at all–you may as well skip wearing one altogether! And no matter what kind of riding gear you get for yourself or your horse, if he or she doesn’t like being dressed up in it (or saddled up), then neither will he/her cooperate with any sort of training program

If you’re new to horseback riding, figuring out what gear and equipment you need can be overwhelming. Understanding the basics, such as the importance of a good helmet and proper footwear, is crucial for your comfort, safety, and enjoyment on horseback. Check out our guide on 10 Must-Have Horseback Riding Gear and Equipment for Beginners to get started.

Half-Chaps or Chaps

Half-chaps, also known as chaps, are short leather boots that cover the rider’s lower legs. They can be worn over regular tall boots or breeches to protect them from mud and dirt while riding.

Chaps have many benefits over traditional riding boots: they’re lighter in weight, more flexible and easier to put on/take off when you’re in a hurry (say, if you need to dismount quickly). 

They also help keep your ankles warm during those cool spring mornings when it’s still too cold for shorts but not quite warm enough for long pants yet!

But before we get into how to choose the right size chaps for yourself or your child rider–which I promise will be easy once we cover some basic information about sizing–let’s talk about where these pieces originated so that we understand their history behind why someone would wear them at all times while out horseback riding…

Protects tall boots and breeches from mud and dirt while ridingAriat Scout Half Chaps, TuffRider Micro Touch Half Chaps, Dublin Easy-Care Half Chaps
Provides additional grip and support for the rider’s legsHorze Amara Half Chaps, Ovation Suede Half Chaps, SmartPak Classic Suede Half Chaps
Offers a cost-effective alternative to purchasing tall bootsSaxon Equileather Half Chaps, Devon-Aire Kids’ Concour Elite Half Chaps, Tough-1 Deluxe Half Chaps
Provides a comfortable and customized fitTredstep Deluxe Half Chaps, Kerrits Close Contact Half Chap, Derriere Equestrian Quad Stretch Half Chaps

Note: The brands mentioned above are not an endorsement, they’re for informational purposes only. Please do your own research and choose products that suit your needs.

Horse Equine Boots

Horse equine boots are a type of shoe that protects the hoof and provides support. They’re often used in conjunction with shoes to help prevent horses from getting injured while they’re traveling on uneven ground or through rocky terrain. 

These boots come in different materials, including leather, synthetic materials and even rubber.

Some people prefer to use horse equine boots because they are less likely than horseshoes to get stuck in mud or snow. However, some horses may find them uncomfortable due to the fact that they cover up part of their feet (the frog).

Saddle Pad or Blanket

Saddle pads are used to protect the horse’s back from sweat, dirt, and body oils. They can also help prevent saddle sores by keeping the saddle in place. Saddle pads come in different thicknesses depending on what type of riding you’re doing.

You may want to use a blanket if you’re going on long rides that require lots of stops or if it gets cold where you live (or even if it doesn’t!). 

Blankets will keep your horse warm during colder temperatures and provide extra padding while they’re being ridden in hot weather–and they look super cute too!

Since there are so many options out there when shopping for one of these items–and because everyone has different preferences when it comes down to picking out their own style–it’s important that we take some time now so that later when we go shopping at our local tack store we’ll know exactly what kind of material type works best for us based on our personal needs as well as those belonging specifically within each individual category: Horseback Riding Equipment Pieces You Need Now.

The bridle is a crucial part of a horse’s equipment, allowing the rider to communicate effectively with their mount. With so many types and styles of bridles available, it can be tough to know which one is the right choice for you and your horse. Become an expert on bridles with our guide on The Best Horseback Riding Bridles for Every Discipline.

Sportwatch or Heart Rate Monitor

A heart rate monitor and a sportwatch are two essential pieces of equestrian equipment that can help you improve your riding and overall fitness. 

A heart rate monitor is used to measure your heart rate and let you know if it’s too high or low for optimal performance, while a sportwatch tracks how many steps you take per day, as well as other metrics such as distance traveled and calories burned. Both types of devices are relatively inexpensive, so there’s no reason not to pick one up if you’re serious about getting fit through horseback riding!

A lot of people buy these types of products just because they want something cool-looking on their wrist–but don’t let the marketing fool ya: these gadgets are also great ways to keep track of how hard (or easy) each ride was compared with others in order to improve over time. 

For example, if someone rides every day but never changes up their routine or tries anything new like different terrain types or speeds…they might end up burning out faster than someone else who mixes things up more often!

Tracks and records heart rate during riding and other physical activitiesGarmin Forerunner 945, Fitbit Versa 2, Polar Vantage V2
Provides insights into physical fitness and recoveryApple Watch Series 6, Coros Apex Pro, Suunto 7
Tracks distance, pace, and speedCoros Pace 2, TomTom Runner GPS Sports Watch, Polar M430
Offers additional features such as GPS, music, and smart notificationsSamsung Galaxy Watch3, Garmin Venu, Fitbit Sense

Note: The brands mentioned above are not an endorsement, they’re for informational purposes only. Please do your own research and choose products that suits your needs.

Arm and Knee Guards

Arm and knee guards are essential equipment pieces that protect your arms and knees. They can be made of leather or synthetic materials, and they can be worn under or over your riding pants. 

Arm guards are typically shorter than knee guards so they don’t interfere with a rider’s ability to use the reins properly.

Arm/Knee Guards should always be purchased at a tack store or online; these items are not sold in stores like Walmart or Target because they’re considered “riding necessities” rather than regular clothing items like jeans or shirts!

Ear Plugs for Horses and Riders (optional)

Ear plugs are a great way to protect your horse’s ears from loud noises, and they can also help you communicate with your horse better.

If you’re riding on a trail or in an arena where there are other horses around, it’s important to wear ear plugs so that your mount doesn’t get startled by another animal’s whinnies or other sounds that may be loud enough for them to hear.

Ear plugs will also help keep out all sorts of background noises–including music from nearby speakers or people talking nearby–which can make it harder for you and your horse to focus on each other during training sessions.

Protects horses’ ears from loud noisesEquiFit T-Foam Ear Plugs, SmartPak Deluxe Hunter Ear Plugs, Professional’s Choice Comfort Fit Ear Plugs
Reduces stress and anxiety in horsesCashel Quiet Ride™ Fly Mask with Ears, Back on Track® Mesh Neck Cover with Ears
Improves communication between horse and riderEquine Comfort Products Quiet Ride Ear Net, Cashel Quiet Ride™ Ear Net

Note: The brands mentioned above are not an endorsement, they’re for informational purposes only. Please do your own research and choose products that suits your needs.

Whip/Crop or Crop Holder (optional)

A whip or crop is a long-handled lash used to strike the horse. It’s not like you’re going to be whipping your horse all day, but it’s good to have one on hand in case you need it.

The main difference between a whip and crop is that whips are made of leather while crops are made of stiffer materials such as wood or plastic. 

Whips tend to be longer than crops–upwards of five feet (1.5 meters) long–and they’re also thinner at their ends than crops are at theirs. 

You can hold them in either hand as long as you’re comfortable doing so; some people prefer holding their whips with two hands because it gives them more control over where the tip lands when they strike with it!

If you don’t have any other equipment yet but would like something else besides just using your hands when riding horses (which works fine too!), consider buying yourself either one or both types of these tools so that everything feels more secure during your sessions together!


If you’re looking to get into horseback riding, or if you already are and are looking for some new equipment, this list should have you covered. 

We hope that it was helpful in giving you some ideas on what types of items might be right for your own needs and budget.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you learn more about horseback riding equipment:

Horse Tack: 15 Essential Horse Equipment for Owner and Horseback Rider: A comprehensive guide to the necessary horseback riding equipment for both horse and rider.

Horse Riding Equipment List – What do you really need?: An article that provides a helpful breakdown of the must-have equipment for any rider.

Horse Riding Equipment: Horse Clothing 101: This guide explains different types of horse clothing used for various seasons and disciplines, so your horse can be comfortable and well protected.


What is horseback riding equipment?

Horseback riding equipment, also known as horse tack, includes the various items needed for horse riding, such as saddles, bridles, bits, stirrups, riding boots, etc.

What are the essential items of horseback riding equipment?

The essential items of horseback riding equipment are a saddle, bridle, reins, stirrups, girth or cinch, bits, horse boots, helmet, gloves, appropriate clothing for rider and the horse based on weather and discipline.

What equipment is needed to ride a horse safely?

To ride a horse safely, you need a properly fitting helmet, riding boots or shoes with a heel, and a saddle and bridle that fits your horse well. In addition, you should use other safety gear such as proper riding gloves and protective vests for certain types of riding.

What size saddle should I use?

The size of a saddle is dependent upon the size of the rider and the build of the horse. You should measure your horse’s withers and your own seat size to find the appropriate saddle size.

How often should horse riding equipment be replaced?

Horse riding equipment should be regularly inspected for wear and tear, and should be replaced as soon as it shows signs of damage or wear. Some equipment has a lifespan, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding replacement. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and replace equipment well in advance.