Falling off a horse is almost inevitable if you ride often. Learn how to prevent falls, reduce the risk of injury, and fall gracefully when it happens. Never hesitate to voice your fears to an experienced trainer or rider, who can help you with specific issues.
Part 1 of 4: Protecting Yourself Before Riding
1. Always wear a riding helmet. This can make the difference between a slight headache and a severe concussion. Choose a horse-riding helmet certified by a safety organization. Have helmet fits correctly before you mount. Ideally, have it checked professionally when you buy it, and return periodically to have it re-padded.
Don’t use a bike riding helmet instead of a riding helmet. Bike helmets don’t offer the same protection as riding helmets.
Keep some spare riding helmets at the barn. This way if somebody forgets their helmet you’re prepared.
2. Choose safe riding clothes. Wear ankle length zip up riding boots. Other types of shoes and tie up riding boots can get trapped in the stirrups, which will drag you along and cause serious or fatal injuries. Wear long trousers such as jeans or jodhpurs, riding gloves, reins with safety clips, half chaps so that you’ll stay in the saddle, and a jumping vest to protect your ribs and organs.
3. Ride using a ‘soft’ bit rather than a harsh bit. Harsh bits are often used to encourage a horse to slow down. However, unless they are being used by a very skilled rider, all they do is cause the horse pain when the reins are pulled, and therefore cause the horse to open his mouth to escape the pain. If the bridle has a noseband which stops him doing this, he will likely rear up or bolt instead. Therefore, unless you have been riding for many years, do not ride a horse in a severe bit as these usually make horses misbehave and act dangerously, increasing your risk of falling.
4.Check the tack is comfortable for the horse. The horse could be uncomfortable or in pain, for example because the saddle does not fit properly or is too far back or forward, or any of the tack rubs or digs in. The horse will learn to associate being ridden with pain/discomfort and begin to fear being ridden, and therefore may misbehave (e.g. by bolting, rearing or bucking) in order to try and escape from the painful tack. Painful tack is an often overlooked, but very simple way of resolving many behavioural issues well as ensuring your horse is happy so you have a good relationship.
5.Use Peacock Iron Safety Stirrups and non slip stirrup pads. Safety stirrups come in various designs, but all are meant to prevent your foot from becoming trapped in case of a fall.
Even with safety stirrups, make sure you keep your heels down. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
6. Check your tack before mounting. Confirm that the tack fits properly before you get on the horse. Check all equipment for worn out areas, and for straps that are too tight, too loose, or rubbing against the horse. These problems can cause bad behavior in the horse, increase the chance of a fall, and may make a fall more dangerous. After you mount up re-check your tack. This will prevent any accident from happening.
Pay special attention to the girth, or straps around the horse’s belly. If the saddle is not tightly cinched, it can slide and dump you off the horse. Always tighten your girth before mounting.
7 Check for signs of pain. If your horse is acting up or displaying unusual behavior, take some time to examine him. Rub your hand all over your horse’s body. If he shows signs of pain anywhere, have your vet check it. If your horse continues the unexplained behavior, ask for help from an experienced rider.
8. Buy a non slip girth and a non slip saddle pad to keep your saddle from slipping. The nonslip girth and nonslip saddle pad are designed to keep you and your horse safe. If your saddle slips while you’re riding you’ll fall and break your pelvis.
9. Buy some Safety Cross Ties for the barn. It’s just as important for your horse to be safe as it is for you to be safe. Use some Bailing Twine to install your Safety Cross Ties. Bailing Twine will last longer than chains and it will help your Safety Cross Ties fit your horse.
10. Make sure that you buy some boots for your horse. The boots will protect your horses legs. If you can’t find any boots buy some polo wraps to protect your horses legs. The polo wraps will work just as well as the boots.