Horseback riding gives you experiences and exercise in nature. However, horses have natural instincts, which is worth remembering when different types of horsepower meet on the road.
We base horseback riding on safety, but it has risks of its own. There is the undeniable risk of falling, and you need to treat these large animals with respect when on the ground and in the stable.
Riding does not have to be riskier than other sports, as you follow certain precautions. We should always bear safety in mind when near horses or riding.
Horses are protective if there is something they don’t understand. If you stand behind, you are in risk of being kicked. Some horses might bite you if they are in a bad mood. Some might bite because they think that the hand reaching out their nose is a carrot.
Visitors to stables, especially with children, should keep their kids in control. Children running around can cause a horse to back. So remember, stables are not a playground for kids.
You must use a riding helmet when riding. It is the main factor in your safety. We also advise you to use a helmet when handling horses.
A helmet should have a perfect fit. Helmets come in numerous designs – some suit you better than another, and some are more suited to your favored riding method.
A helmet must also comply with safety standards. They cannot prevent injury in all cases but help in most situations. So use it, don’t take unnecessary risks.
If the helmet has a serious impact, like dropping onto a hard surface, you need to replace it. Riding helmet prices range from under USD 50 to over USD 100.
When you use the same helmet for a long time, it’s protective padding compresses, and it becomes looser. Purchase a new one sooner than later to keep a proper protection level.
Helmets and the Law
The legal requirement for using a helmet differs from country to country, and in the US from state to state. Children under a certain age (14-18) must wear a helmet which conforms to the appropriate recognized helmet standard.
You can protect your chest and back with a body protector. It prevents serious injury if you fall, or horse stands on you after your fall.
Body Protectors have 3 levels of protection:
- the lower level of protection for licensed jockeys.
- lower than normal, only for low-risk situations, like no jumps, etc.
- the normal level for working with horses, regular horse riding, and competitions.
A body protector adapts your body’s shape and it might first feel very restrictive. Although it gets uneasy at first, keep going with it. After a few times, it will become a habit to put it on.
Find the correct size, and adjust it to give a tight fit. Check it is comfortable in all riding positions.
Protectors cost from USD 50 up – not a bad investment for a thing that may prevent injuries.
Falling off and getting your foot stuck in the stirrup can cause serious injuries. We recommend proper riding boots with heels. They prevent your feet slipping through the stirrups. What kind of boot, short or full length, you wear is a personal choice.
Don’t ride in trainers as they don’t have a heel and can be risky.
Long riding boots can cost around USD 50 up.
Road and Visibility
When riding on the road, wear high visibility safety clothing. Hi-viz apparel helps when it’s dark but use them also on daytime.
Too many car drivers nowadays seem to be unaware to leave space and drive slowly and they might drive far too close and too fast.
For the rider’s safety, it is important to remember that adequate riding skills, the suitability of a horse for off-road riding, and proper safety equipment, such as a helmet, are important. You should also consider route choices and avoid roads that have a lot of traffic.
Despite all the equipment, the real impact on safety is the nature of the horses and the handler.
We can never achieve full riding safety. Falling from the back of the horse is likely to come. The result is usually a fright but falls always have the risk of injury.