Learn How to Ride A Horse

Stay Safe When You Learn How to Ride a Horse

When you learn how to ride a horse you need to get into safe habits around these big animals. Here are 5 ways to increase your protection when you ride.

1. Check Your Tack Before Each Ride

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? And boring.

But I learned the hard way what happens if this step is ignored. Once my stirrup leather broke as I was jumping a 3’6” cross country fence! Another time the girth strap broke on my saddle and I was lucky there was a second one to keep the saddle (and me) on the horse.

So make sure the leather of your saddle and bridle is soft and supple. Horse riding books will all tell you how to clean your tack as part of your riding routine. It’s plain dangerous to let it get dry and brittle.

2. Don’t Loop Ropes Round Your Fingers

When leading a horse be careful not to place the rope round your fingers. Instead, place the loop ends through your hand. Otherwise, if the horse takes off, the rope will tighten round your fingers. At best you’ll have a sore hand, at worst you’ll lose a digit, as happened to a friend of mine.

For the same reason, make sure the reins are not wrapped round your hands while you’re riding, so that if you fall off, the reins slip clear of your fingers.

3. Use a Mounting Block

Mounting your horse from a block means not having to reach up so far and you can get on faster than without the help of one. It is also better for your horse as it puts less strain on his back.

If you’re a heavier person, using a mounting block is much less stressful for you, too.

4. Additional Straps

I have a bucking strap on the front of my saddle, to grab in case of sudden maneuvers by my horse that would otherwise unseat me.

Alternatively, put a stirrup leather round your horse’s neck to hold onto in case of emergency.

5. Relax!

This is the best hint for staying safe on a horse. By relaxing in the saddle, we reassure our horses and they are then less likely to spook or run off.

As well as taking these sensible precautions, be confident around your horse. He’ll feel safe round you, which will make you safer with him.

Is Your Horse Safe Around You?

Posted on 2010-05-20

We all worry about staying safe around our horses, but it’s also important to make sure we keep them safe, too.

Here are ways to ensure your equine buddy comes to no harm on your watch when you learn how to ride a horse.

1. Tying:

Tying a horse is so often done in a manner endangering the horse, that it needs to be addressed here.

Please never, ever tie your horse directly to a solid object! Always attach a piece of breakable twine or other material round the object first, then loop the lead rope through it. If your horse panics the twine will snap and he’ll be able to get away safely without breaking his neck or dragging the object behind him and causing further panic.

This applies to the trailer ties as well.

When you tie your horse, make sure the rope does not dangle below his shoulder, to prevent his getting his foot stuck in it. But make sure he has enough slack not to feel too restricted.

Please never tie your horse by the reins: if he panics and pulls away the bit will rip his mouth - and you’ll also have broken reins.

Make sure haynets will not dangle when they’re empty. Tie them high enough for the horse to reach, but out of harm’s way.

2. Stirrups:

Be careful to keep stirrups run up when you’re not riding. They can hit your horse’s sides while you’re leading him, or catch on something and cause him to panic.

3. Safety Round the Barn

Keep an eye open as you walk through the barn. If you see a pitch fork left out where a horse or human could tread on it, put it out of harm’s way. Wheelbarrows are a dangerous hazard if a horse gets his feet stuck between the handles and panics.

We owe it to our horses to keep them safe. As you gain more experience around these wonderful animals you’ll discover even more ways to look out for your mount.

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