When you see riders galloping on their horses, you’d be impressed at how sophisticated and agile they look. You must know though that horse riding is not an easy activity and it could also be a dangerous one. I’m sure you have heard a story or two about someone getting hurt or injured while riding.
The danger that comes with horse riding should not hinder you from learning this activity though. With precautionary measures, you can stay away from injury and have a fun and exciting ride. Accidents can certainly be avoided as long as you put safeguards in place.
Below are horse riding safety tips that you must know:
The first thing that you have to consider before going for a ride is what safety equipment to bring. Just like how a warrior goes to battle with his shield and armor, you should never go out empty handed. You certainly don’t want to be caught without protection.
So what is the necessary horse riding equipment that you must have?
Below are a must to give you a safe and enjoyable horse riding experience.
- Underwear – Wearing the right underwear can drastically improve your performance. For women, a good sports bra is a must. This takes the strain off both the spine and the bust. For men, wear underpants or briefs that don’t have any seams that can rub against your skin when you’re riding.
- Upper body – It could get hot when you’re working or riding in stables. To avoid being warm and getting cold, wear some type of functional clothing closest to the body to transport the moisture away. Wear a jumper or jacket on top that can keep your body dry and warm by wicking the moisture. Avoid wearing large and loose clothes as well as jackets equipped with hoods. Soft and close-fitting clothes are recommended.
- Riding breeches and chaps – Riding breeches reduce the risk of blisters and help you have more stability in the saddle and sit better. Riding breeches can be made from various materials – the most commonly used are elastane, micropolyamide, polyester and cotton. Chaps are simple and practical way to pull on overriding breeches. Most chaps are made of napa leather or suede, but new models are made of waterproof nylon.
- Gloves – Protect your hands when working with a horse or in the stables by wearing gloves. Three-finger gloves are ideal for winter riding.
- Spurs and whips – Spurs and whips can help you reinforce your aids when it comes to giving commands or signals to your horse. There are various sizes and designs that you can choose according to what fits you and your horse.
- Helmet – You could really hurt your head during falls or accidents. To lessen the risk of injury, it is important that you wear an appropriate helmet the whole time. Choose the one that fits your head snuggly.
- Safety vest – Young riders and even experienced ones should wear safety vest to protect your torso. Aside from wearing the appropriate equipment, you should also make sure that your horse is comfortable and the saddle and everything else fit properly.
Choosing the right horse is not only essential for new riders, it is also important for everyone else. Some accidents happen because a rider chose a horse that is too powerful and too big for him. Make sure that you choose one that has a compatible size and strength as you are.
Most riders take time to get to know their horse first, especially if it’s a new one. They take their new horse out to feed or spend time with them first before breaking them in and riding them. You will be building a relationship with your horse so it’s important that you study every action and behavior of your horse. If you’re new in horse riding and want to take your green out, make sure that someone accompanies you just in case something unexpected happens.
Always strive to be calm and exude happiness when you’re near your horse. Horses can read all of your actions and emotions. When you’re happy, your horse will be in a better mood too. Avoid making jerky movements or sudden raise of tone. This could make your horse feel uneasy and tensed.
If your horse suddenly became agitated or disgruntled during a ride, you must remember not to deal with the situation while you’re still riding your horse. Dismount and try to calm your horse down from the ground. Trying to soothe a disgruntled horse while riding invites accident or injury.
Click here to learn how to calm your horse down.
Horse Riding Tips
Aside from the tips above, learn these general horse riding tips by heart.
- Don’t ride alone – This is especially true when you are still new to this sport. Horses can get unpredictable and you don’t want to be alone when accident happens. Have a friend or a trainer accompany you on your practice. If riding alone is inevitable, let someone know where you are going and what time you should be home. This way, they know where to look for you should something unexpected happens.
- Be cautious of your surroundings – Another skill that you must learn in horse riding is learning how to be cautious. Aside from being aware of your horse’s movements or reactions, it is also important that you study your surroundings. Horses can get startled quite easily so take extra caution when you are in a noisy environment.
- Have an experienced rider or coach/instructor – This is especially true if you are just learning to ride. Horse riding could be dangerous sports so don’t ever try it alone. Take lessons from an experienced coach or rider. Aside from learning all the basics in a short period of time, you also reduce your risk of accidents or injuries.
- When riding in a group, keep at least one horse length between each horse. Having all horses in a closer proximity could lead to a horse kicking another one.
- Reduce the severity of injury when being trampled by the horse once on the ground by learning how to fall and roll away from the horse.
Click here for more helpful tips about horse riding.