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.