I hope this beautiful day finds you well, and able to spend some time with your horses. Today I want to talk about ways to avoid injury when you are riding your horse. Horseback safety is an important topic for anyone who rides. We forget, sometimes, how big and strong horses are. They are gentle creatures, but if we are not careful accidents can happen. Let’s figure out how to avoid those accidents.
Horseback Riding Tips
We will start by looking at some horseback riding tips that we all know, but sometimes forget.
- Ride a horse you know. If you are riding somewhere that can’t provide you with a horse you already have a relationship with, be sure you are honest about your experience. By doing this you can get a horse that matches your abilities. Horseback safety relies on a horse and rider who are well suited to one another.
- Buddy up when you ride. When riding with friends, you can watch out for each other. If you are riding alone, be sure that someone is aware of where you are riding and when you expect to return.
- If you are riding on a trail, stay in a single file line unless the trail opens up to allow plenty of space for riding abreast. Crowding another horse is a foolproof way to cause an injury.
- Know where you are riding. Unfamiliar terrain can make for an exciting ride, but do your research. Knowing what to expect allows you to be safer.
- Watch the weather. Sudden storms and high winds can change the trail and can also spook your horse.
- Educate your horse. Making sure your horse knows how to respond to different situations can prevent injuries. Carefully introduce your horse to traffic, the sound of off road vehicles, and other people. The more socialized the horse is, the less likely he will be frightened by new surroundings.
- Ride right! Keep your head up and your heels down. Proper riding form is key to horseback safety.
- Wear the right gear. An ASTM helmet is essential. Comfortable clothes and boots are a plus. The helmet is, hands down, the most important part of your gear. Make sure it fits well and wear it every time you ride. If you are thrown from the horse, it is a long way to the ground.
- If you have a cell phone it is a good idea to have it with you. If something goes wrong, your phone supplies a quick link to assistance.
- Check your equipment regularly. Making sure your equipment is all in good working order can prevent a failure that could be disastrous. It only takes a few moments at the end of your ride to inspect each item before you put it away.
Horseback riding tips are only useful if you follow them. Even if you are an expert rider, accidents can happen. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are responsible for your horse’s actions. Know yourself and know your horse. Enjoy every minute that you get to spend with your horse but temper your enjoyment with a little caution. As my Mom always told me, better safe than sorry!