Horseback riding safety – what are the risks and how to avoid them
Horseback riding is a fun activity pursued by millions of people on a daily basis. Although it looks relatively easy, horseback riding is actually a very dangerous sport. The height, speed, and unpredictability of the horse’s behavior can sometimes result in a fall and, therefore, a serious injury.
This is why horseback riding should never be taken lightly. You must always consider the risks and take all the necessary safety measures to prevent hurting yourself.
In this article, we are going to give you some general advice when it comes to horseback riding safety. Although these tips can help you better understand the dangers of this sport, you should also consult a professional coach or a rider.
Acquire a Horseback Riding Coach
This should almost go without saying, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good horseback riding coach. Not only would you be safer, but you will also learn faster and improve your horseback riding skills the proper way.
Consider Your Skill Level
If you’re a beginner horse rider, start with a quiet and tamed horse. Don’t try to be a show-off and ask for a faster horse, as you won’t be able to control it as easy as you think. Beginner horses are much safer to ride and they won’t put you at risk if you make any beginner mistakes.
Wear a Proper Gear
Falls happen. They are a part of this sport. Even if you don’t fall that often, you always need to be prepared for the worst, and wearing proper gear can save your life. Of course, the most important part of horseback riding safety gear is the helmet. Make sure that the helmet you are wearing is ASTM approved. They are a little pricey, but they are the safest ones you can buy. Apart from the helmet, you should also look into some torso protecting vests.
Horseback riding is not the same as horse racing. Never try to race with your horse unless you are properly trained to do so, even though it can be tempting. The faster you go, the more likely you will fall and injure yourself. Also, if you are riding with a group, always make sure to keep a safe distance between yourself and other riders.
Never Ride Alone
If you’re riding out somewhere where there are no other people, make sure that you bring a friend or at least carry a phone or a cell radio. If you fall and break your leg and there’s no one there to help you, you won’t be able to walk back or get back on your horse.
Learn to Fall
Although you may never fall from a horse, it’s best if you are prepared for such mishaps. Falling from a horse will likely hurt and learning how to properly do it won’t guarantee that you don’t get injured, but you should still know how to fall as safely as possible so you can avoid any serious accidents. Get instructed by a professional coach on how to roll away while falling.
Learn to Dismount
Dismounting a horse is one of the first things you will learn, but you should also know how to do an emergency dismount when your horse is moving. This is safer than waiting for too long and preparing for a fall. Noticing when your horse is getting agitated is also very important, as you should immediately dismount and try to handle the situation.
Never ride where there are cars and other noise which can scare off your horse and make him agitated.