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abowman02 07-13-2014 10:19 AM

Get my own helmet or boots for lessons?
Hi everyone! Now that I am older and can afford to take lessons at a barn, I was wondering if I should get my own lesson/schooling helmet or boots to start with? The barn provides helmets, but just not sure I want to keep sharing a helmet with others. I have hiking boots that I have been riding in, but I am not sure that they are the best thing as I cannot feel the irons and they are not that flexible for English riding. Also, what brands/models would you suggest for a helmet and boots? I have been looking at Troxel helmets and Ariat paddock boots. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Not sure if this matters, but my lesson horse is a retired Thoroughbred racehorse. He is a VERY big boy and has to be well over 16 hands.

Thanks everyone!

bsms 07-13-2014 10:34 AM

When I took lessons, I used my own helmet and boots. I tend to sweat a lot, particularly taking lessons during the summer in southern Arizona, and I assume others do as well. I didn't want to deal with their sweat, nor impose mine on them.

Good fitting boots with a decent heel strike me as safety equipment, and I wouldn't want to try riding with boots that don't fit. I would NOT use hiking boots for riding because mine have waffle treads that would hang up in the stirrup. I use cowboy boots, so I can't help you with your choice. If your irons have a rubber tread, I'd choose leather soled boots. I often use irons without the rubber tread, and I prefer rubber soles for those. If in doubt, I like a bigger heel.

DancingArabian 07-13-2014 10:48 AM

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Yes, get your own helmet and boots.

The helmet is important because you don't know how it's been stored, if it was ever dropped, or even if someone fell in it. A lot of people do not manage their helmets appropriately. With your own helmet, you will be able to get the helmet fitted to you and you will know its condition.

Boots are also really nice to have if you can afford you own.

I would absolutely go for it!

ChitChatChet 07-13-2014 11:22 AM

I got headlice once by sharing a hat with someone... so yes to the helmet. Besides then you dont have to fiddle around with adjusting it each time you ride.

Proper footware is always helpful.

faiza425 07-13-2014 11:26 AM

I would definitely get both.

I owned a Troxel Spirit my first few years of riding. Their helmets are okay and the prices are great, but they tend to give a 'mushroom head' appearance and don't vent well in the summer. Also, they are meant for people with round heads, and since my head is more oval, I had to keep it really tight so it wouldn't wiggle side to side. (Which hurt the front and back of my head.)

I got an Ovation Protege a few Christmases ago - amazing! Just a tad more expensive ($40 or so) and much better ventilation, sleeker profile, and overall more comfortable. It also offers protection down the back of your neck, which I really like.

As far as boots, Ariat are a great brand, and while they can be somewhat expensive, are a good investment.

Left Hand Percherons 07-13-2014 11:52 AM

Agree. Get your own helmet and boots. Helmets are all slightly different shaped. Try on every brand your store carries and than decide. I would recommend a light colored one with great ventilation so your head doesn't cook. A removable liner that you can pull out and rinse off is nice too.

horselovinguy 07-13-2014 12:41 PM

Cost wise....get a helmet first.
Buy something new in a price range you can afford and is comfortable. You don't need to spend many hundreds to have protection. You do though need it to fit correctly...
If you ever take a fall and bump/bang your head send the helmet back to the manufacturer...they will check it out for safety reasons and advice you to replace or tell you it is fine.
Try very hard to not bang, drop or treat your helmet roughly...although it is made to withstand impact...well,.. you know...
Your helmet should be replaced every 5 years, falls or not is industry recommendations...
All helmets must meet federal/industry standards to have ASTM/SEI certification...yet you don't have to spend $600 to achieve it when you can spend $40...but the fit counts first! Don't buy someones used helmet...there is no way to tell by eye if it is safe to use anymore.

Then when $$ allows, look for paddock boots.
I started riding as a kid in work boots...a firm sole and a heel is what I had to boots fit that directive.
Then again when money allows do 1/2 chaps. I would suggest leather chaps and with a finished look to them...when combines with your paddock boots it will appear to be you have on tall boots...

By purchasing paddock boots you have the ability to wear them out with jeans or wear them for riding.
Personally, I think you develop a different feel and stronger leg riding with paddock boots than tall boots.
Besides, if you do tall boots then you will probably need at least 1 pair of breeches if not a few pair if you ride more than 1 day a week...sweaty you know...ick!
I rode for years in paddock boots no chaps and did just fine in lessons. When I added chaps it was a adjustment period and then again a adjustment period when I went to tall boots...

Enjoy your riding....



littlebird 07-13-2014 12:44 PM

What everyone else said.

Helmet: Children are the most common carriers of head lice and at a lot of lesson barns a great majority of the students are young girls. Also, as said in another post there is no way for you to tell what the helmet has been through to know how safe it is to wear (drops, age of the helmet, etc.).

I can't recommend any great helmet brands as I've only ever bought the cheapy $30 ones. Out of the cheaper models I've really appreciated the ones with the dial systems since you can adjust it to match your head size.

Boots: Pretty much same deal as helmet - athletes foot and warts. You don't want to catch any weird fungi from other people/kids at the barn.

I have ariats and love them. They tend to do better in dry climates. I had an old pair of ariat paddock boots last me about 8 years until I moved to a wetter place and the sole came off.

If you're interested in getting half chaps to go with your paddock boots I recommend tredstep since they give a nice semi-custom fit (measured by width and length of calf in inches instead of small/medium/large) at a pretty good price point.

Cielo Notturno 07-13-2014 01:30 PM

Yes, get at least a helmet. The boots might come later (I actually ride in hiking boots and I have no issue with them)

Problem with english boots is that you can either have cheap rubber boots, or expensive leather ones. Rubber boots are not exactly the best thing around.

Britt 07-13-2014 02:42 PM

Yes, get your own helmet and boots. Especially boots. Proper riding boots.

I used to ride in hiking boots, and several years ago my mare performed a few surprise bucks while galloping... I was thrown and my hiking boot got hung up in the stirrups and I was drug/trampled. not fun. For safety's sake, please get proper riding boots!

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