Safety Associated with Riding and Care
Issues associated with safety and horses, offers a wide range of
challenges to many current competitors and owners. One of the most
frequent areas of safety and insurance liability issues is in the rental
and loan of a horse for recreational riding. The key issue associated
with these incidents is negligence on the part of the owner, renter, or
lessee. Determination of negligence is critical, and thus understanding
some necessary protocols is necessary at the time of the incident.
Working with horses poses certain inherent physical risks, when one
considers the fact of an animal the size and weight of a horse. For
example, a female rider may average 135 pounds in control of a 1,200
pound horse. With the size and power of this horse the rider/handler has
the potential for extreme injury if the rider/handler is not properly
trained to manage the horse, following traditional safety guidelines.
checks of all horse equipment must be conducted on a regular basis to
prevent unnecessary accidents from occurring. Checking saddles for the
strength in girth and stirrup leathers, and bridles for worn and fragile
The arena horses are ridden or driven in need to have proper footing to
prevent and reduce hoof slippage and falls. Arenas with unsafe surfaces
must be adjusted to permit horses, or removed from assess, regardless of
the consequences, as safety needs to be a top priority.
Approved hardhats should be worn to prevent injuries to the head in the
case of falls or injuries caused by the horse. In today’s western
competitions, the use of approved safety helmets is recommended but not
required. Yet, there are many different breeds shown English, without
the use of approved safety helmets. Youth should always be encouraged
and required to wear approved safety helmets.
Camp and youth riding programs need to place a strong emphasis on
teaching safety, both on the horses back and while handling the horse on
the ground. Safety needs to be the primary lesson when introducing the
new rider/driver/handler to the horse. All horses used in rental/camp
riding programs need to test ridden to assess their abilities and rider
suitability, with the elimination of all unfit horses.
Those participating in the sport of horse riding and driving need to
verify the availability of professional limited liability protection
under their state’s legal statues.
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