Horseback riding is an extremely dangerous sport. Many accidents, however, result when the rider fails to understand basic rider safety measures. Whether you ride in the show ring or on the trail, being safety conscious can save your life.
Remember Your Skill Level
It is remarkably easy for riders to think they are ready to move on to a tougher challenge. In many cases, this is a praiseworthy thing and can make a better rider. However, sometimes it can lead to serious safety issues. Consider your skill level before riding. Ask yourself questions such as; am I educated enough to control this horse? Do I have enough knowledge to handle a rough terrain trail? Am I a skilled enough to ride without supervision? If you cannot answer these questions, yourself, talk to an educated riding instructor. An instructor or even a more experienced horse person can help access your riding level.
Wear Proper Clothing
Always wear the proper clothing when riding. You must wear boots with heels when riding. If you do not have a heel on your boot, your foot can go through the stirrup and catch if you are thrown. Avoid scratches and cuts by wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants when riding, especially on wooded terrain. Always wear an ATSM approved riding helmet. The majority of horse related injuries are to the head.
Take Care of Tack
It is essential that you take proper care of your tack for your safety and your horse's comfort. A broken bridle or saddle can lead to a major injury. Take apart tack and clean it regularly. Always be sure the tack is properly put together. Do not use old, cracked or dry-rotted leather. You can easily lose control of the horse if a rein or a strap on a bridle breaks. You can also fall off the horse if a worn saddle malfunctions. If you are not sure whether your tack is suitable for use, ask a local tack maker or dealer for information.
It is never safe to "horse-around" around horses. No matter how bomb proof or sound your horse is, you must always use precaution when working around them. Don't attempt high jumps or dare devil stunts if you are an amateur rider. Never try to impress others by acting silly around your horse. Always be careful and think through each action. Never push you or your horse too hard. Stop if you need to for you and your horse's safety.
Remember, always share safety rider tips with others. Unsafe and un-smart horse handling give horses a terrible rap.