A Safety Checklist for You and Your Horse

Always have in your mind that horses are unpredictable animals, not machines. Our familiarity can lead to taking liberties and accidents occurring.

How many of these practices are on your own safety list?

1. Always wear clothes and boots that are designed for riding.

2. ALWAYS wear a riding helmet that fits you correctly and complies with current standards.

3. If you are young, your horse is misbehaving, you are out of practice or you have lost your confidence, wear a body protector.

4. Make sure your tack is suitable for the job, comfortable for you and your horse, and gives you enough security for your level and type of riding.

5. Tack, particularly girths and stirrup leathers, are under strain, so always check that your tack is in good working order. Opt for good quality leather work and check the stitching EVERY time you clean your tack. Put suspect leather work aside and take it to a sadller for checking and mending.

6. Horses should always have leg protection during exercise and turn-out. I prefer to use open fronted boots while jumping, as they encourage a horse to be careful, whilst still offering protection.

7. Regardless of your level or ability, always have someone else present with you while you are jumping. This person doesn't have to be knowledgeable about horses, but someone who can assist you or summon help should something go wrong.

This particular practice has saved my life. I had a bad fall a few years ago and as the horse was getting up it kicked me on the side of the head, knocking me out. I had swallowed my tongue and if I had not had help there, I would have died.

Tim Stockdale

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Comment by Hannah on November 30, 2009 at 6:06pm
I really do appreciate this list of your. It’s great to see that you’re so careful even tho you are very experienced, I feel many riders today take more chances the better they get, like riding without a body protector or a helmet. I this this is pure stupidity and I wish there were international rules that demand all riders to wear a helmet (and body protectors in jumping) at all shows. Just a few weeks ago I could see Olympic riders riding around in the warming up area at Oslo Horse Show without any sort of protection. And this would be fine if they had only themselves to worry about. But then, when they smile and wave at all the young girls hanging over the fence with stars in their eyes, this becomes so wrong. So thank you!

And before this comment becomes stalkerish fanmumbling I must say that I don’t really agree on the protecting the horses legs the whole time. They are animals and quite capable to stay on their feet. My horses only wear protection during jumping and hard dressage lessons (native horses as well as warm bloods) I think it’s good for the horse to learn where to put their feet, and even where it hurts. That’s my opinion.

Again thank you and every thing on that list is in my head (apart from the leg protection when they are turned out) every day!
Comment by Elizabeth Gormley on November 18, 2009 at 3:04am
Hello Mr. Stockdale,

We are enjoyng your blog over here in Ocala Florida USA. Your advice is always focused on key issues of each subject that you cover. Many things you write about are vital details overlooked by others on the same subject. This week your number seven tip really caught my eye. I feel less guilty now when i drag non horse oriented people along when I train my horses. It is such good news to hear that you were not injured more severely during that accident you described. The horses used for jumping today are very large and powerful compared to those from previous generations. They can cause us more damage than we may realize despite their gentle warmblood dispositions( I myself have a large SF stallion as shown on my page). Looking forward to the next subject you cover....Hope you and your horses are all doing well!

all the best,

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