What to have for lessons at an English barn?
Hey all, not sure if there was a better place that I could have put this, but here goes.
I'm finishing up my lessons at the small family owned barn that I currently ride at and I have a basic sort of grasp of riding (I've been going since spring for weekly lessons and now lease a horse there as well). I will be continuing my lease with my instructor but am hoping to move to another barn this fall for further lessons.
Here's the thing - at my lessons I'm used to toying around with both english and western riding, and it was all very informal. The new barn I'm going to is all English and do a lot of jumping, and seem a lot more strict. I'm not sure what kind of equipment they'd expect me to have for lessons there!
I just recently bought a pair of riding tights, a pair of breeches, paddock boots, and half chaps. I've got my own helmet and my friend gave me her gloves that don't fit her anymore. Would you add anything else? Does the shirt that I wear matter?
Thanks for the help, sorry for the long post!
Lessons are usually pretty informal. Riding boots and jodhpurs/breeches, a helmet and a respectable top (ie. not singlet or too tight/low cut - maybe a polo-shirt or plain top) are all you need. Gloves and chaps are usually optional. Don't worry too much, be clean, neat and polite and even if you do get something wrong, no one will mind too much :)
It sounds like what you have is fine. I usually ride in tights, paddock boots with half chaps, and the top depends on the weather (tank tops when it's hot, multiple layers when it's cold) If I'm trailering out to a lesson where I want to look a little nicer I'll wear a polo shirt, but that's the only real change I make.
It may be an idea to talk with the instructor. Most lesson settings are pretty informal, but some instructors do demand that your attire be "semi-formal," if you will.
When I rode with the last GP coach I took lessons from, I made sure that my tack was freshly cleaned, nice saddle pad, and that I was presented well - it was winter, so I wore a nice non baggy sweater, clean TS breeches, and made sure my boots were clean.
Different coaches will have different expectations - though most won't care what you're wearing so long as you're safe.
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At a minimum one should have proper riding boots and a helmet for riding. Beyond that I would say that you should have half chaps and maybe breeches for your lessons. I have some friends who only ride in jeans (even in lessons), but after I outgrew the "kid just having fun" phase of riding my instructor told me that I should be wearing breeches. She would have still given me lessons either way and I would have performed just fine in jeans, but it showed her a certain level of respect and presentation, and showed her that I was serious. Talk to your trainer about that. It may be nice to wear a nice looking shirt as well- doesn't need to be anything fancy, just something neat. You will be fine wearing either the tights or breeches, half chaps, helmet, gloves, and a neatish looking shirt!
Are you bringing your own horse or tacking up a lesson horse? If you are in charge of your equipment then I would clean your tack before your first lesson and use a clean and tidy saddle pad. You shouldn't necessarily be going for a show-quality appearance, but making an effort to look neat, clean, and presentable will go a long way in making a good first impression! It also never hurts to call and ask what is typical, and you could consider visiting the barn during lesson hours to see what other people are wearing. You don't need to be like everyone else, but you'll look off if everyone is wearing their best breeches with tall boots, a polo shirt, matching saddle pad, and spotless tack when you come in ratty jeans, a paint splattered shirt, slobbery pad with holes, and grungy tack. I'll be the first to ride looking sloppy, but you want to at least look neat and clean for the first time!
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