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Basic Equipment

Get kitted out!

To help you get the most from your relationship with horses, and your riding experience, it is vital that you ensure your gear is up to scratch.

Protective headgear

An approved standard hat must be worn.


Due to a change by the European Commission regarding EN1384 and BSEN1384 no longer being an accepted standard, all hats which ONLY meet the standard EN1384 or BSEN1384, with or without a kitemark, and do not comply with another standard from the below list, WILL NOT be permitted for use at any BHS Approved Centre. Hats which bear EN1384 or BSEN1384 ALONG WITH another standard from the below list, will be permitted. For example, BSEN1384 & PAS015 (1998 or 2011) along with the Kitemark would be acceptable, but not BSEN1384 on its own.

The current BHS-recognised standards are:

PAS015:( 1998 or 2011) with BSI kitemark

VG1 01.0404: (2014 -12) with BSI kitemark

ASTM F1163:(2004a or 04a onwards) with SEI mark,

SNELL E2001: with Official SNELL lable and number

AS/NZS 3838 (2006 onwards) with SAI Global Mark

Hats should also ideally be Kitemarked. The Kitemark is a quality assurance mark and is the registered trademark of the British Standards Institute (BSI). It can only be affixed to products certified by them.

The Kitemark shows that helmets are independently and regularly batch tested by BSI to the appropriate specification. Hats tested elsewhere in the European Union may be tested to the EN 1384 standard. However, they will not carry the BSI Kitemark that is strongly recommended by the BHS and many insurance companies.

Riders competing under the rules of a specific equestrian discipline or the Pony Club and Riding Clubs should refer to the respective rule books for the standards required under their rules.

  • The hat must be solid and undamaged. If you have a fall, the hat may not show any damage to the naked eye but it could need replacing.
  • The hat must fit properly and should be fitted by a suitably qualified person (British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) approved). Most tack shops will have staff trained to do this.

The Highway Code requires children under the age of 14 years by law to wear an approved, securely-fastened helmet while riding on the roads. Other riders should also follow this advice.

It’s always best to have your own hat, but for first lessons, most schools have hats they loan out (check with them when booking).

Other equipment

Long riding boots or jodhpur boots, or a strong pair of boots that cover the ankle and have a smooth sole and heel should be worn. The ankles can become rubbed and sore if in contact with the stirrup and leathers. A small but defined heel on the boot is necessary to prevent the foot slipping through the stirrup iron. Trainers should not be worn as they offer little protection and can easily become stuck in the stirrup. Wellington boots are also discouraged.

Jodhpurs (trousers designed for riding) are useful but for beginner riders, a pair of strong trousers without a seam on the inside leg will be fine (a seam can pinch your leg while in the saddle).

A pair of sturdy, but not bulky, gloves are advisable to help avoid blisters while getting used to the reins.

A long sleeved shirt, a jacket that is fastened so that it doesn’t flap, or a sweatshirt are recommended.

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