The most important piece of equipment for a rider is an ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) approved helmet. The helmet should fit correctly and the chinstrap should be adjusted snugly.
The shoe or boot should be high enough to support the ankle. It should have a heel so the foot cannot advance too far in the stirrup, and the sole should be rigid for comfort and protection. Short boots can be worn with half chaps. Half chaps protect the rider’s calf from being pinched by the stirrup leathers. They are very practical and replace the need for (more expensive) tall leather or rubber boots.
Riders should wear long pants that are stretchy with no inseams. Inseams can cause painful chafing.
Gloves protect the rider’s hands from blisters and calluses. They prevent the rider’s hands from slipping on the reins, and also provide warmth in cold weather.
For early lessons the novice rider simply needs to wear something tough and comfortable. Rubber boots or hiking boot is possible, but shoes must have a proper heel and a sole with a tread. An ASTM approved riding helmet is essential from the onset.