What are the safety risks to take into account when riding horses?

Horseback riding is very popular and both kids and adults love it. It has so many benefits physically and mentally, and the time spent at a farm is never wasted. However, as anyone involved with horses knows, there are safety risks when riding and grooming horses. They are big prey animals, and you never know what may happen. Though horses are generally mellow and friendly, they can get scared and accidents happen.

In this article, we will look at the safety risks you should take into account when riding horses.

Safety risks when riding horses

Falling off is one of the biggest risks

Riding horses is very safe – as long as you will not fall off. However, the truth is that eventually, everyone falls. Especially, when you keep on riding years after years. Sometimes, the reason for falling can be as simple as losing your balance. Other times, the horse may get scared and take a funny step, which will cause you to lose your balance. Also, some horses may exhibit some funny behavior, such as bucking, and it can cause you to fall as well.

Showjumpers and eventers are at a bigger risk of falling off, as both of these sports are extreme and done at a greater speed than dressage, for instance.

The ways you can protect yourself from getting injured when falling off are the following:

  • Wear a helmet: you should always wear a helmet, no matter the discipline
  • Wear a safety vest: for instance, Hit-Air vests are excellent for everyone
  • Get safety stirrups: they prevent your foot from getting stuck in your stirrup when you fall off

Accidents happen when grooming, too

When you are grooming your horse, accidents may happen then, too. Your horse might step on your toes, kick or bite you, or try to run over you if he gets scared. Though these are unlikely events, they need to be taken into account when grooming. You can easily prevent accidents from happening in these situations simply by taking into account a few safety measures:

  • Don’t walk behind the horse: if your horse gets scared or doesn’t see you, he may kick
  • If your horse bites, stay away from his head when you can
  • Wear gloves: they protect your hands from rope burns when you are walking your horse
  • Wear shoes with iron protection over the toes: there are shoes where the toe is covered in iron, and it protects your toes

Basic safety measures should always be considered

When you start riding, your instructor will teach you the right ways of taking the necessary safety precautions. For instance, they will teach you how to walk your horse safely, how to mount safely, and how to ride and groom safely.

The main thing to keep in mind is that every horse is a prey animal, and ultimately, a wild animal. Though they have been tame for hundreds of years, their primary instinct is to run if they get scared. Horses weight hundreds of pounds, even over 1000 pounds – appropriate safety measures should always be in place.

Frequently asked questions

Is horseback riding dangerous?

When you take lessons with an instructor and well-trained horses, horseback riding is not dangerous. However, it is always risky, which is why you should always wear a helmet and take other safety measures into account.

Is horseback riding safe for kids?

Horseback riding is wonderful for kids. It teaches them responsibility, humility, and focus, as well as improves balance, strength, and coordination. Kids usually start on ponies, and under the supervision of an instructor: so, frankly, horseback riding is safe for kids. However, they should always wear a helmet and even a safety vest – even when grooming the horses.

What if I fall off?

If you ride horses long enough, eventually, you will fall off. Probably multiple times. The good news is, though, that most of the time, you will only get a couple of bruises. But, as we have stated before, there are always risks involved, which is why you should wear a helmet and a safety vest, as well as use safety stirrups. This makes falling off as safe as possible.

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