A Helmet or Riding Cap
This item is essential for your safety. Wearing a helmet when horseback riding is mandatory, as it will protect your head in the event of a fall. Your helmet must conform to rigorous safety standards (all Decathlon helmets do) and it must fit your head properly in order to ensure maximum protection. Some equestrian centers rent helmets but, for safety and hygiene reasons, it is preferable to have your own.
Note: if you do experience a fall, it is strongly recommended that you buy a new helmet as the impact may have damaged the interior of the helmet—even if the damage is not actually visible. This is true of all sports where a helmet is worn: after a fall, it is best to get new gear.
You don’t have to ride for very long to understand the importance of proper riding pants.
When you are just starting out, your legs will have a tendency to move quite a lot, which will quickly cause irritation on the inside of your knees. Not very comfortable! Riding pants are lined with Basane leather on the interior to minimize friction between the legs and the saddle. The cut has to be fitted so as to avoid any folds that could irritate the skin. Choose a comfortable fabric that is stretchy, sturdy and easy to care for. If possible, avoid synthetic materials.
Riding Boots (or Boots and Mini-chaps)
Riding boots are quite high (up to knee height) in order to reduce the friction between your calves and the saddle. The heel is designed to stop your foot from slipping through the stirrup entirely and getting stuck there. You can also pair your regular boots with "chapettes", which will provide the same protection as riding boots.
If you plan on wearing your boots in winter, just be sure you have enough room to wear thick socks inside.