Helmets MUST be ASTM/SEI approved NO EXCEPTIONS. I strongly recommend that you purchase helmets new or from someone you know and trust. Typically if a helmet is involved in a fall it needs to be replaced. Use common sense in this- if you slid off and land on your rear then your helmet should be fine. If you hit your head in any way the helmet should be replaced. I really like the Troxel and Ovations brands, you can usually find good deals on the websites listed below. If you need help with size feel free to try on any of Kyhlwood Trainings helmets and look at the brand and style name.
Bike helmets are NEVER a suitable substitution. They are designed for much different falls from something much closer to the ground that is not capable of traveling at the same speeds as a horse.
Proper fitting, appropriate boots are very important. Boots prevent injury in multiple ways. The tough leather helps prevent serious injury when being stepped on. The tread of the bottom and heel prevents your foot slipping through the stirrup which can prevent being drug in the event of a fall.
Keep in mind that boots are priced in regards to the quality. Most boots from placed such as Target and Walmart use thin material for the top meaning they will not protect you when stepped on. They also use cheap plastic material for the bottom which actually makes it harder to keep your foot in the right place in your stirrup, often causing students to lose their stirrup and potentially lose their balance.
Boots with a pointy toe do not have a flat surface at the ball of the foot and result in difficulty keeping the stirrup in the right place when learning, especially if made of poor quality material.
My favorite boots are paddock boots or square toe cowboy boots. The places listed below are great places to find the appropriate footwear. Often you can get child or small size paddock boots for a much more reasonable price than cowboy boots.
Long pants are always required for riding. Typically breeches are preferred for English because it minimizes rubbing from the stirrup leather. I am fine with leggings for lessons but they are not appropriate for shows. Long jeans are suitable for showing western. They do not need to be specifically riding jeans. Longer length is preferred as it prevents the edge of the boot from getting caught on the stirrup fender.
Items for the Horseless student:
Great horsey gifts can be harder for a student who is riding a lesson horse rather than an owned horse. Some great ideas would be riding gloves, their own grooming kit, an English saddle pad (can be embroidered), boots, their own helmet, books and dvds.
Great places to shop local are:
Silver Spur Waterloo, IA
Wide variety of jeans, boots, shirts, belts and most tack items for western, no English. Tell Craig I sent you and he will make sure what you get is appropriate!
Tack Room Waterloo, IA
Mostly English or high quality western tack and equipment. Check before going as they are often not there as they travel to shows across the midwest.
Great places to horse shop online are:
-Kyhlwood Training is signed up for barn saver shipping. You can always have your order shipped to Kyhlwood Training for free. Just please let me know if you have something coming and if it is a surprise or not.