Eventing is a sport that's is full of adrenaline: horses are excited, riders are focused and the spectators are cheering for their favorite riders. In an eventing show, eventers have to complete three tests at every competition. They include dressage, showjumping, and cross-country. While dressage is fairly safe, showjumping and cross-country tests can be a bit risky, because of the speed and high fences. This is why many eventers take good care of their safety by getting the appropriate safety gear.
What kind of safety gear do eventing riders need?
Eventing can be very challenging for horses as well as riders. A cross-country course requires a lot from the horse and rider both physically and mentally. Even the smallest mistake can cause an accident. That's why you should always wear the appropriate safety gear.
A helmet is the most important thing
No matter if you ride at home or at a show, you should always wear a helmet. If and when you fall off a horse, you want to protect your head from concussions and fractures. You should always wear a helmet that is approved by the riding federation of your country and that has been tested safe.
Nowadays, most helmets you can buy from a tack store are tested and safe. Remember, that your helmet should always fit you perfectly, and not be too big or too small. Also, remember to tighten the chin strap before getting on your horse.
Safety stirrups can prevent bad accidents
If you get caught in your stirrups when falling off your horse, you may be in trouble. In the worst-case scenario, you may even be dragged behind your horse, which can cause the accident to be far worse than it should.
In the video below, an eventing rider falls off her horse, getting caught in the stirrups. Her horse gets spooked by this and takes off, leaving the rider injured. Note: this video may contain disturbing material and may not be suitable for all viewers.
Safety stirrups are always recommended, regardless of your discipline or whether you compete or not. A safety stirrup is the kind of stirrup that releases your foot one way or another in case of an accident. Take some time to read our comparisons of the best safety stirrups for adults and pick a pair that suits you the best.
Safety vests can protect your spine and rib cage
When jumping cross-country fences, you should always wear a safety vest. In the past years, explosive vests, such as Hit-Air, have become very popular. They inflate in case of a fall, providing cushion and protecting your spine and rib cage.
However, you should note that at many shows, an explosive vest by itself is not enough. In addition to this, you should also wear a traditional hard-shell vest.
Gloves protect your hands from burns and blisters
Even when riding at home, gloves should be your hands' best friend. They protect your hands from blisters and burns and good gloves, such as Roeckl gloves, can give you a much better grip.
Also remember, that wearing gloves in everyday situations with horses, such as when loading or walking a horse, can protect you from unnecessary burns.
What kind of safety gear should my horse have?
You should also protect your horse, especially during the cross-country test. Most riders choose to protect their horse for instance with the following safety gear:
- Tendon boots
- Bell boots
- Stud guard
All riders should take care of their and their horse's safety when riding, regardless of their discipline and training level. However, especially cross-country and showjumping riders should be aware of possible risks and possibly consider wearing safety vests, safety stirrups and gloves in addition to their helmet.