Horse riding is a risky sport. Apart from the obvious dangers of falling off when mounted, such large animals have always got to be treated with respect when handling them on the ground and in the stable.
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.
The riding hat
It is the most important piece of clothing which offers protection for your head. These hats are made of a hard shell which is lined with a material that absorbs shock. This is essential to provide protection for the rider in case he or she falls. It’s also important to wear them even though they are not riding because the horse may kick them instead. It’s advisable to wear them when handling horses on the ground.
If the rider suffers from a fall the hat should be replaced immediately. The fall can diminish the hat‘s protection. The protection also decreases over time as the padding compresses from daily use. Riding has should be replaced ever three to four years.
Three basic hats are available for the riders:
The first one is the classic riding hat. It’s a traditional velvet hat available brown, black, or navy. It has a hard peak.
The second is the skull cap which is also referred to as the jockey cap. It has no peak and is usually worn by jockeys. It’s now popular with other riders for leisure and competition. Silks which are peak covers can be placed over the skull cap. This gives them the appearance of a riding hat. There are also novelty silks available for children such as eyes and ears sewn on them.
The third one is the skull protector. It’s a riding hat similar to a cycling helmet. It’s very lightweight and ventilated. The hat is usually worn during the warm weather or summer.
- Body ProtectorsHorse 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.
No matter what your preferences are prevention is still better than cure. Coupled with riding hat body protectors are also important pieces of an equestrian‘s clothing.