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Are you planning on a riding holiday this year but unsure of what to pack? Jenny Richardson BHSAI shares her top tips for what you should take with you

Riding holidays offer equestrian enthusiasts so many benefits. Not only do they give you a chance to unwind, they also allow you to travel and see new places, people and horses. And, of course, riding trips can help you learn new skills. But how do you know what to take with you, and how do you assess just how much riding gear you’ll need?

Speak to your holiday provider

The first piece of advice I’d offer is to thoroughly liaise with your tour operator or, if you’re booking directly, with the operators of the holiday. They should be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Pack Light

One mistake many people make is to take too many clothes. One of my best recommendations is to choose items that are multi-tasking – for example, plain riding tights can pass as leggings. Jackets with zippable inner-layers work well, too.

Short boots and chaps

Take short boots and half chaps, or gaiters, instead of long boots, as half chaps flatten down and you can wear short boots to travel in.

Crease-proof clothing

Look for crease-proof clothes that can stand being rolled up. Outdoor and camping shops are great resources for long-sleeve shirts that are quick-drying. As even in hot weather, longer sleeves may be safer when riding as they protect your arms. Pack a waterproof top layer too, as forecasts can’t always be relied upon.

Gilets

Gilets with multiple pockets are ideal – if your local equestrian shop doesn’t stock them, try a fishing shop. This way, you’ll be able to fit your camera, sunglasses and sun cream in these pockets easily, making them ideal for trek-style rides.

Safety gear

I’d advise taking your own riding helmet, even though many venues will provide them. Place your clothing and accessories in the hat when you pack to save space and protect it. If you’re attending a training break, make sure your riding hat suits the discipline in question – ideally no fixed peak for jumping – and enquire whether body protectors are provided, or if you should bring your own. Be aware, however, that packing a body protector may take your luggage over hand-luggage size.

Formal occasions

Find out where you’ll be eating in the evenings – if you’re staying at a hotel, you may need a few smarter outfits and a change of shoes. Flip-flops or plimsolls are lightweight and comfortable but look the part. If you’re staying in rustic accommodation, your horsey gear will probably suffice, although a great tip is to wear the clean riding top you plan to wear the next day for dinner in the evening.

Travel-sized

Take travel-sized toiletries, including little packets of baby wipes and antibacterial wipes – perfect for mid-ride food or toilet-stops.

Sunglasses, sun cream and batteries

Don’t forget to pack important items such as sunglasses on a string, in case you remove them when mounted, sun cream, spare camera batteries and a solar battery-powered or electrical phone charger.

Jenny Richardson is Equestrian Centre Business Manager at Ireland’s Castle Leslie Estate, a venue that offers riding holiday breaks in the heart of Ireland. For more information , visit castleleslie.com

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