We have a trainer who educates us on proper horse techniques and safety on everything from tying a horse properly to saddle fitting. We always have someone hold the horse while we mount. Make sure to fit reins and stirrups at the right length.
Note: These are good basic precautions and horse handling skills leading to a solid foundation of horsemanship. Keep up the good work!
- Communicating with trainer
Tell your trainer if you are uncomfortable with what you are doing, especially if introducing new or scary situations for you or your horse.
Note: Nothing is worth jeopardizing the safety of you or your horse. Don’t feel like you have to do anything.
- Knowing your abilities
Never push yourself or your horse to do more than you are capable of doing. Be sure to train, practice and work up to more difficult activities.
Note: Overestimating yourself and/or your horse will get you hurt. Just like a human athlete starts at the bottom and works up to the top of their sport, riders and horses should take that same approach.
- Informational resources
Parents of children seeking information on horse safety can go to the website for the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. at www.ponyclub.org and search their bookstore for excellent books and pamphlets on horse riding and safety.
Note: Pony Club is a wonderful organization for young horse enthusiasts. It not only teaches riding but also horse care and management as well.
- Pony club
Young riders should join a local pony club as they teach and emphasize safety.
Note: There are many organizations that will help young riders become well rounded and safe horsemen. Working with a professional and competent trainer is also good for young and adult riders alike.
- Every Ride, Every Time
I require everyone I ride with to view the horse riding safety video "Every Ride, Every Time."
Note: This is a classic video on helmet and riding safety. All riders should take the time to watch it.
- Overestimated abilities
I have suffered two severe head injuries. In both cases, like a lot of riders, I overestimated my abilities with horses and thought I could make the horse do what I wanted. Know your and your horse's ability and pick a horse for the task at hand.
Note: Don't overestimate yourself or your horses' abilities. This is the cause of a lot of accidents. Take the time to find a suitable horse and work with a competent trainer to improve both you and your horses' skills.
- Bump training
I was trail riding when the horse in front hit a bendable sign. It snapped back and hit my horse. He spooked and spun and I fell off. I had bruises and a sore neck. Give the distance of one horse length between horses so that swinging branches, etc., will not hit your horse. Also, do ground school to get horse used to having things hit him.
Note: It is always good to keep one horse lengths distance for safety purposes. Horses don't like to feel trapped, so make sure you give them their space.