What to wear
Clothing for Riding
The best advice that I can give is to always dress for comfort, practicality and for the weather. You do not need to be making a fashion statement – it's only the sheep looking!
When riding at Springhill, it is nearly always a couple of degrees cooler here than lower down in the valley and quite often the riding takes you higher still. You will not enjoy the fantastic scenery the same if you are cold and wet.
A well fitting riding hat is essential.
Here at Springhill we will supply you with a hat with no extra charge. If you continue to ride it is probably the most important piece of kit that you will buy. There are lots of different riding hats on the market, all of which should carry a kite mark – BSEN 1384 or PAS 015. Buying off the internet is often cheaper, but you need to know your head size and each make of hat is slightly different, and may not suit the shape of your head. In this case it is better to go into a proper equestrian store and have one professionally fitted. Buying second- hand is not advisable as the hat could be damaged, yet show no evidence. If a riding hat is dropped or bashed about you should replace it.
It is not essential to have proper riding boots, but a shoe or boot with a small square heel is a must, preferably with a smooth sole or small tread. This is to stop your foot sliding through the stirrup when riding, and causing your foot to get stuck. Trainers, sandals and high heels are not safe to ride in, and some walking boots have a heel but it is not clear enough or they have too chunky a tread and will get stuck. If you do not have anything suitable we will supply boots for you to lend at no extra charge. If you are unsure please ask, we are happy to give advice.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have lovely soft hands (men included!) it is worth wearing a pair if gloves. This will give you extra warmth and stop hands becoming sore whilst holding the reins. You don't need posh ones, any old pair will do – except ski type gloves which tend to be a bit too padded. Again we can supply if you forget.
Jodhpurs are traditional riding trousers, but again not essential for the occasional rider. Loose fitting trousers i.e. jogging pants, track suit bottoms are ideal. Jeans are ok, but sometimes the seams will chaff a little. Waterproof trousers are ideal if you choose to ride in the rain!
There is much choice for the ladies when buying jodphurs. The most expensive ones are not always the best, speaking from experience! I personally find that £20 - £30 buys you a decent pair and does not break the bank. Men don't usually like pink, so the choice for them is much more limited. Dublin do a decent range for men, as do some of the more popular makes. (We have lots of men who ride with us who wear them, and they and Steve are happy to discuss this further).
A warm, waterproof jacket is advisable. Jackets that flap in the wind are not ideal as they may worry your horse. We can lend jackets if necessary.
Jewelery and valuables
It is best to keep jewellery to a minimum. These can get caught up and be lost. We also advise that car keys remain behind, secured in our tack room. There is nothing worse than scouring the moors looking for lost car keys! Mobile phones, Ipods, MP3 players are not necessary when riding and again could be lost or damaged.
We are happy and fairly proficient at taking photos for you. There may be opportunity to take photos when riding, but please check with your ride leader for a suitable moment to do this. Your safety is more important to us than to risk it for a photo.
It is ok if you wish to wear a ruck-sack, but we can put your stuff in a saddle bag and your horse can carry it for you! Please ask a member of staff, who will fit one for you.
Whips and spurs
Ok, I know that John Wayne and Clint Eastward wear spurs, and yes they look cool, but our horses are trained not to need them. Whips are also not needed for hacking and trekking, and are at the discretion of the ride leader. When having a riding lesson, your instructor will guide you on this matter. Some horses may need them, whilst others take offense!
I hope that this information helps a little. If you have any further questions then please do not hesitate to ask. I hope that it does not sound too formal, but having sat in the saddle for many hours, I know from experience that you need to be as comfortable as possible to enjoy your ride.