Equestrian Safety Tips – Protecting Yourself and Your Horse

Even the most docile and calm horse can kick someone if startled. While horse attacks are rare, every rider must understand how horses defend themselves.

When approaching a horse, it is best to speak to them first and avoid walking directly in front or behind them; this will help prevent them from jumping or kicking.

Always Be in the Lead

Every equestrian like Zoe Reardon knows that riding is not without its risks. Even the most calm and experienced horse can become dangerous under certain conditions. For this reason, you must always have control of your horse.

When leading a horse, never walk ahead of it or behind it. Instead, stay beside it with one hand on its shoulder and the other near the halter. This will help you to avoid applying too much pressure to the reins or risking having them wrap around your hands.

Another reason to be in the lead is that horses have a blind spot directly in front of them. This makes approaching them from the rear particularly dangerous if they are spooked. Always walk beside your horse, talking gently to it while you do so.

Stay Alert

Horses are strong creatures that can easily injure you if they get excited or panic. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your safety equipment is in good working condition. This includes a helmet that has been properly certified and a stirrup leather that is securely fastened to the saddle.

It’s also important to ensure all gates are closed and secure before you ride. If a gate is open, horses can escape and end up in unsafe areas, like busy roads and neighborhoods; also, following the guide’s instructions while riding is important. Leaving the trail without following their directions could result in an accident. This is one of the main reasons why people often get injured while riding.

Don’t Approach From Behind

Horses have blind spots directly in front of and behind them, so approaching a horse from these angles can be dangerous. It is better to approach a horse from the side and speak to it before walking near to ensure it knows you are there.

When horses are frightened, they may buck or bolt off at high speed, which could injure you and the horse. Therefore, you must make it a habit to ask permission before approaching a horse that does not belong to you.

Also, do not feed a horse in a pasture or paddock containing other horses, as this can cause the horses to jostle one another or even fight, which is unsafe. This will also encourage horses to take grain from your hand and throw it in a herd of other animals, which again is not safe.

Don’t Sit on the Floor

When working with a horse in the field or its stall, keep it secure with a quick-release knot or breakable tie such as twine. This helps prevent kicking when it becomes excited or frightened.

When a horse is frightened, it will try to protect itself by pushing back on its tail and kicking. It is best to place your hand on the shoulder or rump of the horse, rather than the tail, to work with it.

Many riders believe they don’t need a helmet, but statistics show that even experienced riders are more prone to head injuries than any other body part. Learn to ride with an instructor or trainer. This will help you become more proficient and safer.

Remove Your Shoes

Horses can get hung up on things such as ropes and clothes while grooming or mounted. This could result in serious injury. All handlers must be dressed in sensible footwear when working around horses and that any loose clothing like jackets are zipped or buttoned up so they do not flap or frighten the horse.

Lastly, only take food into a group of horses if it is specifically for them to eat. This entices them to crowd around you, and they might inadvertently kick or trample you. Always speak to the horse first and approach them from the front or side to avoid provoking their startle reflex.

It is also crucial that all riders wear protective riding hats that meet the appropriate safety standards. This will minimize the likelihood of head injuries.



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