Thursday, November 26, 2015

Practical Riding Safety Tips

I got my first pony when I was two and he was one. The next year I rode him in the local Christmas parade. Four months after my 55th birthday I rode 109 miles in 17 hours. Over the years horse injuries have very rarely caused me to be hospitalized.

During that time I have picked up several safety tips that could keep more of you out of the hospital.

Jumping over increasingly high jumps seems to be great fun for teenagers. Not breaking my ribs is great fun for me. I have found that instead of jumping a fence I can progress equally well if I go through the gate and my chances of keeping all of my ribs connected and inside my body are much better in using the gate option. However, for safety sake, one should always open the gate before going through it.

After getting good at training wild horses I find that some of my riders develop a curiosity about riding bulls. By properly planning one's itinerary one can significantly reduce the chances of injury from bull riding. Simply put, never go any where that is so dangerous that you would even consider riding a bull to have to get out of there.

There seems to be something about reaching the age of 13 that causes kids to want to see just how fast a horse can run. Once again,planning is the solution to this problem. Even in competitive situations I can avoid riding at breakneck speed and yet cross the finish line first if I simply arrive and leave about 20 minutes before anyone else starts. I can then progress at a comfortable lope.

Regarding riding bareback--kids seem to really love that. That much fun should be shared instead of keeping it all to one's self. In fact, it is best to share the experience of riding bareback with one's saddle. Let the saddle be the one who is riding bareback. You can accompany your saddle on its bareback jaunt while siting on it with your feet firmly placed in the stirrups.

Lastly some riders seem to enjoy a romanticized fantasy that they and their horses are equal partners--so much so that the ultimate demonstration of that partnership is to ride a horse with out saddle bridle, reins or tack of any kind while galloping down a beach at top speed.

However, if one truly wants to be equal partners with one's horse one must be willing to treat that horse as a complete, equal partner. The safest way to achieve that equal partnership is to have your lawyer draw up papers making your horse responsible for payment of 50% of the hay bill.

Remember safety first!

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