Well, we’re just beginning horseback riding, and we need to figure out what place we should ride at, what riding discipline we should participate in, what clothes to wear and numerous other things.
Full disclosure: I’ve owned a horse farm for 26 years, where we do English riding, including hunters, jumpers, dressage and eventing . We use an English saddle and wear an ASTM certified helmet.
By law anyone under 16 is required to wear a certified equestrian helmet. Due to insurance reasons most barns also require those over 16 to wear one as well.
When my wife was first beginning horseback riding, her mother asked her trainer what type of lessons she should start with, English or Western? At the time the trainer was an old cowboy at a trail riding barn.
What he said was “If you don’t already know which type of riding you want to learn then take English lessons because it is easier to switch from English to Western than from Western to English.”
Now I know this is where all the Western riders come out and say that I am nuts. When you
learn to drive a car and you start with an automatic it’s harder to switch to a standard. That doesn’t mean that one is better than the other…they are just different.
Please understand I am not disparaging any discipline.
When you’re in an English saddle, you are in a closer contact saddle, you are more in touch with the horse.
You should make sure that you wear a riding helmet that is ASTM/SEI certified.
I live in New York State, and by law you have to wear a bike helmet if you are under 14 years of age and ride a bike.
The insurance company for my farm requires that all riders need to wear a certified equestrian helmet…SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY
When you get on a horse, generally you are further from the ground than when you are on a bike. There are times that you will go faster.
Wear a helmet!
In the wild wolves and lions used to jump on the horses backs and eat them. The fact that they let us humans get on their backs is amazing to me.
Wear the helmet!
This is a very large animal you are getting up on. There is no seat belt, steering wheel or airbag.
Okay, having said that, hopefully the barn that you are choosing has them available for you to start off with. Make sure the helmets are well-maintained.
If you are just beginning horseback riding then you won’t have to spend the money on a helmet until you are sure that it is something you want to stick with.
After a month and a few lessons you should probably get your own.
My wife has an article on her blog about Charles Owen helmets. They are a bit more expensive than some of the helmets here but having researched them thoroughly she says that the Charles Owen helmet is the next helmet she is getting for herself and definitely the horse riding helmet that she would choose for her child.
Once again, my number one safety tip to you is wear an ASTM/SEI certified horse riding helmet right from when you are beginning horseback riding!