There is no beating around the bush – horse riding is a risk sport. Apart from the obvious dangers of falling off when mounted, these large animals have always got to be treated with respect when handling them on the ground and in the stable.
One thing that you have to be sure of when you are riding your horse, is that you are never asking too much of him. You have to be sure that he is always comfortable doing what you ask him to do, and you have to be sure that you are comfortable with what he does. This is very important, because if you are not comfortable you are going to find that both you and your horse might be forced to take chances, and this is not going to be good for either of you. It can be very dangerous, and so you want to be sure that you never have a horse do something he isn’t comfortable with.
When you are riding your horse, you are going to want to be sure to always only use the things that are sanctioned for use with horses. Be sure that the equipment you are using is strong and isn’t going to fall apart, and make sure that you are able to attach the saddle and the other pieces to him so that you know they are done correctly and aren’t going to hurt him at all.
Horse rider safety can be helped by a body protector which can give protection to the chest and back area if you fall from your horse. These are particularly useful if you fall onto a hard surface (such as a jump), or if your horse stands on you after a fall. Body protectors can help prevent serious injury.
There are three standards of protection, and each has a different coloured label in the shops to identify the level of protection offered.
Level 1 Black label
Protectors providing a lower level of protection that is only considered
appropriate for licences jockeys.
Level 2 Brown label
Protectors providing a lower than normal level of protection that is only
considered appropriate for use in low risk situations. These DO NOT include riding on roads or other hard surfaces, riding over jumps, riding young or excitable horses, or riding while still inexperienced.
Level 3 Purple label
Protectors providing a level of protection that is considered appropriate for normal horse riding, competitions and for working with horses. Protectors to this level should:
Prevent minor bruising that would have produced stiffness and pain.
Reduce significant soft tissue injuries to the level of bruising.
Prevent a limited number of rib fractures.
Riding need not be any more dangerous than any other risk sport, as long as certain precautions such as those listed on this page are followed. Horse Rider Safety should always be borne in mind when riding or near horses.