Horseback riding can be an exhilarating sport with a long history and tradition. While it appears to be a sophisticated recreation, it has its inherent risks. Statistics show that horseback riding injuries are more likely to happen than motorcycle-related accidents. Before getting swept by the romantic image of the sport, consider first these essential safety guidelines to make riding safe for horses, riders, and onlookers.
Inherent in the risks of horseback riding is the unpredictability of the horses itself. Horses are considered prey animals, which frightens them easily and makes them flee. Even as prey animals, their size and strength can cause considerable injury even if it is unintentional on the part of the animal. Get into the habit of speaking softly around horses and avoid sudden movements. Avoid riding on busy roads with heavy traffic and noise. To minimize the risks to onlookers, avoid riding through crowded parks with lots of children.
Fashionable outfits worn when riding horses primarily serve practical and safety purposes. Always wear a helmet even as you become a more experienced rider since head injuries account for most of the reported fatalities related to horseback riding. A.A. Callister suggests that you consider the best men’s cowboy boots, not as a fashion statement, but as essential safety gear. These specially-designed boots have numerous features to make riding safe for you. The height of the boot shaft protects the rider’s leg but allows the rider’s foot to slide off when he is thrown off the horse. Specific heel height also prevents the boots from getting caught in the stirrup while the pointed tip allows for easy mounting.
Essential Safety Skills
From the start, it is imperative to pick up safety skills that may come in handy when things get out of control. Learn how to perform an emergency dismount so that when your horse becomes agitated, you can take control from the ground. Also, learn how to do an emergency one-reign stop to keep your horse from getting into dangerous places and situations.
While horseback riding is a recreation long steeped in history and tradition with a very gentlemanly image, it does have higher risks of injuries compared to most sports. Learn these essential safety guidelines before diving in head first into the sport.