There are about a hundred horse riding-related traffic accidents and ten deaths per year in the UK. And according to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, horse riding is accountable for three per cent of the spinal injuries in England every year. To help you and your horse keep safe on your riding extravaganza, continue reading our horse riding safety guide!
Many children look forward to horse riding as a great summer camp experience. However, there are a number of potential dangers the activity poses. Here are some safety measures that will ensure an enjoyable, but most importantly, a safe horse riding activity.
- Appropriate attire
- You must always tuck your shirt in.
- You should always wear pants (jeans are acceptable).
- Wear closed-toed shoes to protect your feet and toes.
- Shoes also have to have heels to avoid them sliding in and out of the stirrup.
- It is recommended that you wear gloves so that the reins will not slip off when your hands get sweaty.
Helmets should be worn at all times to keep your head protected.
- Proper saddles
Make sure that your saddles are fit properly to avoid slipping out of it and falling.
One of the necessities of horse riding safety is the training of both the rider and the staff. The staff should be skilful and comfortable around the horses to be able to give riders an effective training. Beginners should also be asked to show their ability to ride safely before they get to ride a horse.
Riders should always be monitored. The staff has to make sure that the riders are comfortable riding the horse, if they are following the rules, and are riding safely.
- Inspect riding areas
It is important to check tracks and/or areas where the riding takes place to make sure there is no unsafe ground.
Approach Horses Safely
The major causes of injuries happen when the horses are surprised and alarmed at the same time. Unfortunately, they are frightened easily. To avoid danger and prevent getting serious injuries, it is best to make sure that both the staff and riders are well aware of what actions can startle a horse. Here are some of the possible occurrences that might scare a horse:
- Flashes from cameras
- Unexpected/sudden movements
- Loud and surprising sounds (whether they are mobile phones, whistles, alarms, screams, etc.)
- Wasps and other types of insects
- Other animals (like wild ones, unleashed dogs, etc.)
- Large crowds
Safe Riding Guide
To support you further on your safe horse-riding journey, besides prevention techniques and safe horse approaches, here is a safe riding guide:
- Do not go riding only by yourself; ride out with a skilled instructor, coach, or a mate. It is the safest and the easiest way to learn how to ride.
- Ride a horse according to your riding ability or one that suits your skill best. If you are a beginner, we recommend that you ride a well-mannered horse for it is accustomed to riding errors most beginners make.
- Do not race.
- In case you are riding a young or an unfamiliar horse, ride in a place you are familiar in or with supervision. Riding a new horse for the first time and on your own is not a good idea.
- Do consider wearing a safety vest that is meant to protect your torso when riding, and be sure to inspect your girth before you mount the horse.
- Wear hardy boots that have at least an inch of a heel.
- Use toe cages or stirrups to provide protection for your feet in case they get trampled.
- Always check tacks to see if they are weak or worn out.
- Dismount your horse if it has become distressed. It is best to handle the situation from the ground.
- Consider studying emergency dismounting and emergency stops. It is a safe strategy that you might be able to use in the future.
- You can also try learning how to fall from your horse. Although this would not guarantee safety, this might help you avoid getting injured by rolling away from the animal.
- Ride in control. Just like bikes and cars, the faster you go, the quicker things can fail.
- Map out your route when riding, and note your expected return time. This way, your mates back home know where and when to look for you if you have not come back.
- Avoid riding in roadsides where there are vehicles that may frighten your horse. Many of the horse accidents happen when riders take their horses along the roads.
- It is safer to walk your horse on your way back home. This will avoid the terrible rushing habit.
- When in a group, ride according to the skill of the least competent rider. And make sure to ride in at least one horse distance to avoid getting accidentally kicked.
- Keep children supervised and instruct them on how to behave around horses. Additionally, it is important to remind them not to cause distraction when there are others who are riding.
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Dangers of a Horse
Fractures, sprains, concussions, abrasions, and bruises are the most common injuries from horses. They are large animals that are built with incredible power and speed. You can also get injured from getting kicked or being stepped on by the animal. In some cases, you could be thrown by a horse, which can cause far more severe injuries in the head, neck, and spine. These are the things you need to consider before taking the risk of horse riding.
Now that you have reached the end of this article, share to us personal tips on horse riding in the comments. And if you have not ridden a horse yet, let us know if you want to. Have a safe horse riding!