Riding horses is one of the most enjoyable activities for everyone in the family. Whether you are a beginner, a trail rider, or a seasoned rider being safe must always be the first priority when saddling up. Check out the top horse riding safety tips below.
1. Wear A Helmet
Whenever getting in the saddle you must put on a horse riding helmet. It may be tempting to not wear a helmet but a fall from a horse can cause severe injury. And falls do happen. An ASTM-SEI certified riding helmet is designed to keep your head safe from heights of a horse. Invest in a comfortable helmet designed for your style of riding and always put it on before you ride.
2. Wear Your Boots
Whenever working with your horse wear cowboy or english riding boots. This is when riding and when working with them on the ground. Even when grooming or leading your horse a short distance keep the boots on. Horses are heavy and can cause a lot of damage if they step on an unprotected foot. Never be barefoot or in sandals when working with your horse. Horse riding boots are always designed with a heel and that heel keeps your foot from getting stuck in the stirrup. A boot without a heel can slide into the stirrup causing a huge safety risk.
3. Wear Jeans or Riding Pants
Whenever you get in the saddle wear a pair of horse riding jeans or breeches. Never wear shorts or even capris when in the saddle. Jeans and riding breeches protect the skin of your legs from developing sores and rashes from the friction caused by riding your horse.
4. Wear Horse Gloves
Many riders do not wear gloves when working with their horse but they are specifically designed to protect your hands from being injured and developing blisters. When riding, reins can cause sore spots but gloves will keep your hands blister free. Riding gloves will also provide you with a better grip on the reins or the lead preventing them from slipping out of your hands and causing a loss of control of the horse.
5. Always be Aware of Your Position
Horse are incredibly strong and can cause injury to an unaware person. Never walk up behind a horse as they may be startled and kick. Always approach a horse from the front at an angle. Don’t position yourself in kicking range or position and always take care when working near a horse’s rear.
6. Use Good Tack
The condition of your tack should be checked before every use. Worn out straps, reins, lead ropes and other tack can lead to loss of control and increase the risk of injury. Check all leather, buckles, and straps on your tack and if you find any issues do not use that piece of equipment.
7. Properly Mount and Dismount
If you are short always use a mounting step or block when mounting your horse. Use proper mounting technique and never try and mount a moving horse. Be cautious not to kick your horse as you mount or dismount. When dismounting your horse be sure to gently get off your horse. Never rush a dismount as it can startle your horse.
8. Never Wrap Reins or a Lead Rope Around your Hand
Reins and lead ropes should never be wrapped around any part of your body. If a horse is startled and runs they will drag you along. Reins and lead ropes should be held in hand and in hand only.
9. Properly Tie Horse
Whenever you ties your horse, whether to a trailer, a hitching post or in a stall, use quick release cross ties or a rope with a quick release knot. A horse not properly tied can injury themselves or you if startled when improperly tied. A rope that doesn’t give will scare the horse even more and they will use all their strength trying to get away.
10. Have Fun
Horses are heard animals and as heard animals their demeanor is effected by how you feel when you are riding them. A nervous or frightened rider will be tense and the horse will pick up on that tension causing them to be nervous and more likely to be startled or act unpredictably. Be cautious of your surroundings but relax and your horse will follow your lead.
Horseback riding is a special thing and as long as you take precautions you can have a safe and fun time. Always be sure to use the proper safety gear, a horseback riding helmet, riding pants, riding boots, and gloves. Be aware of your surroundings and use the right tack and you and your horse will have a great ride.
I’ve been riding horse’s for my entire life and these safety tips have helped me have a thus far injury free riding career. While we can’t prevent or foresee every potential risk, with some thoughtful planning we can help make sure we are safe whenever we go for a ride.