What to Pack for Horseback Riding Lessons

When you or your child first start out with riding lessons, one of the biggest questions you will probably have is what do you pack in a riding lesson bag? That’s a great question! The supplies that you pack for riding lessons start out very basic and then over time you might add more items as your riding levels progress. Let’s jump right in!

It doesn’t matter what age you are: starting out in a horseback riding lesson program is EXCITING! I remember taking lessons as a kid and I remember how much I looked forward to them every week. The great news about starting in a lesson program is that riders don’t need much in the way of equipment to get started. Assuming that you are taking lessons at a lesson barn, you can rely on the farm to provide the horse, tack, riding area, grooming tools and of course, the instructor.

Having a few basics on hand can help a beginner horseback rider feel prepared and also be as comfortable and as safe as possible throughout the lesson. (Pssst…. need a riding lesson bag? We have some suggestions!)

The Basics – What Every Beginner Needs

Some of these items will be worn to the barn (jeans/jodhpurs, boots) and others can be packed in your lesson bag and used once you arrive at the farm!

  • Boots: Proper footwear is important for both safety and comfort during a ride. Choose boots that have a small heel, which prevents the foot from slipping through the stirrup. For those first few rides when you’re trying the sport out, you can get away with cowboy boots from a big box store. If it seems like riding is going to turn into a regular hobby, consider upgrading to boots made specifically for equestrian sports.
  • Helmet: I say to my own kids often: you only get one brain. A well-fitting helmet can protect from serious injuries and should be worn while both on the horse and on the ground while working with the horse. Did you know that helmets expire? Helmets should typically be replaced every 5 years OR after a fall that has head impact. Never leave your riding helmet in a hot car – the extreme heat can damage the protective foam that absorbs fall impacts.
  • Jeans or Jodhpurs: Choose long pants like jeans or jodhpurs to protect your legs from getting pinched in the stirrup leathers.
  • Horse Treats: Treats after a ride are a fun way to build a bond with the horse you ride. Popular treats include carrots, apples, peppermints, homemade horse treats or store-bought horse treats. Always ask your trainer or horse owner what treats their horse can eat before you feed them.
  • Hair Tie: For those with long hair, keeping it tied back is important for both comfort and safety.
  • Snack and Water Bottle: Riding horses can really work up an appetite! Pack a small snack in your lesson bag for a post-ride refuel. Staying hydrated is always important. Bring a water bottle for some sipping pre, during, and post ride.

As You Grow – Adding to Your Pack

Progressing from the occasional rider to a regular weekly rider is a fun accomplishment! Spending more time on a horse might mean adding a few more tools to your lesson bag.

  • Half Chaps: Half chaps are a popular piece of equestrian apparel. They go over your long pants and protect your lower legs even more against painful rubbing from the saddle or stirrups. Half chaps also provide more grip with your legs.
  • Crop: Some horses respond to crops as a form of communication. When used properly, crops can aid in communication with the horse, and should be used responsibly and respectfully. Your trainer will tell you if a crop is necessary or not.

Additional Must-Haves for the Committed Equestrian

As you find yourself or your child committing to a regular, consistent riding program, you will likely spend even more time at the barn! Consider adding these items to your bag:

  • Gloves: Riding gloves can both protect your hands and also improve your grip on the reins.
  • Sunscreen and Bug Spray: For outdoor lessons, sunscreen and bug spray are essential to protect the skin.
  • First Aid Kit: A small, personal kit for minor scrapes or blisters can be a lifesaver.
  • Notebook and Pen: Encourage kids to jot down what they learned or questions they might have after the lesson.

Tips for Organizing Your Lesson Bag

Here are some tips for keeping your lesson bag organized and well-stocked:

  • Check your bag before and after lessons. Make sure that you have packed everything you might need. If you used any supplies during your lesson, make sure that it is replaced or replenished before the next lesson.
  • Use small organizers and zipper pouches to keep track of smaller items. Grab a packing cube set for clothing like extra socks or a clean tshirt. Small compartment organizers are helpful for keeping little supplies contained. A wet bag is a great idea for dirty clothes.
  • Clean out your bag often. There is nothing worse than finding that apple that you forgot to feed your lesson pony 4 weeks after you packed it. Clean out the lesson bag frequently and throw out old food and other trash.

I hope that these tips and ideas are helpful as you pack your lesson bag! Starting out in the world of horseback riding can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! When in doubt, ask other riders/parents at the barn – they are usually the best resource for newcomers!

Is there anything you would add to our list? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!


Leave a Comment