Great job, Mom and Dad. Signing your kids up for Western horseback riding lessons is the first step in a lifelong journey to higher self-esteem and a passion for hard work. Here's what you need to gather up for his or her first day at the barn.
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1. Cowboy boots.
Not just any cowboy boots, though! Leather-soled boots slip in and out of the stirrups easily—meaning in the event of a fall, your child would be less likely to get hung up and dragged. Some companies also offer synthetic soles that provide some traction in the stirrup without too much stick, and those soles generally hold up to a child's wear and tear longer.
As for the heel, a roper heel that's set straight down under the boot is the safest bet for keeping the child's foot from going the whole way through the stirrup in the event of a fall.
Check out Ariat's Kid's Crossroads Western Boots.
[Find Out More: Western Boots for the Whole Family]
[Related: How to Maximize Your Riding Lessons]
Denim is a cowboy's staple for a reason. Jeans help riders stay in the saddle, with enough grip to hold onto the leather. Plenty of Western jean companies also offer flat that won't rub the insides of your child's legs, causing uncomfortable saddle sores. Leggings or yoga pants slide in the saddle, making staying in the middle even harder than it already is. While not a safety concern necessarily, consider buying their jeans with a longer inseam than you would for regular wear. Jeans hike up your legs when in the saddle, even exposing an inch or two of skin above the boot. In the Western world, horsemen and horsewomen prefer to have their denim long enough that it stacks around their ankles rather than hikes up their leg.
Some riding barns do provide helmets, but if your child has watched many rodeos or Westerns, then he or she probably wants to look like the cowboys and cowgirls on TV. That's why the Resistol RideSafe is the perfect investment for your child's safety and cowboy cred. Built from a real Resistol Hat and featuring a rigid ABS shell, impact-absorbing EPS, EPS foam crown, lower guard, retention system and comfort dial, the RideSafe is a safe and cowboy option.
Purchase a Resistol RideSafe for the whole family.
4. Fitted shirt.
A shirt tail riding up your child's back or a top falling off his or her shoulders can be distracting. A hoodie or jacket can also get caught on the saddle horn. Make sure his or her top is comfortable enough to move around in but secure enough that it stays in place while your child rides.
5. Crew socks.
There's not much worse than socks that slide down into your boots... except, maybe ankles rubbed raw from socks that are too short to protect the ankles from a rubbing boot seam. Some companies even offer special riding socks, guaranteed to stay up over the calf and protect from chaffing.