Safety when Riding

There are inherent risks involved in horse riding. These notes are reminders of best practice around horses, which we hope are helpful to all, including those who have been riding many years.

We rely on the information you provide us with to match you with the right holiday so it is very important that you are open and honest about your riding. The description of your riding experience will be given to your hosts before your holiday. Whilst riding or in the vicinity of horses, you must comply with the instructions of your guide.

If you have any doubt that your riding skills or fitness are not of the level required for your chosen holiday you should contact us immediately.

You must wear protective headgear when riding or around horses. We recommend for your own safety that you wear a hard hat that meets current PAS and BSEN safety standards. On some rides there may be hats to hire locally but you must not rely on these hats and you should always take your own. It is important that your hat fits properly. Some riders choose to wear a lightweight endurance style hat, such as made by Uvex, Troxel or Champion. Alternatively, wide brimmed covers in a range of materials which are designed to fit over a skull cap are available to purchase in the UK.

Basic Safety Guidelines for Handling Horses

  1. Horses can be unpredictable and accidents can happen.  However, if safety precautions and common sense are used then serious mishaps can be prevented.
  2. Always approach the horse from the side and speak to let him know you are there.  (The horse has two ‘blind’ spots – directly in front and behind him).
  3. Don’t make loud noises or sudden movements around horses.
  4. When walking round the back of the horse leave plenty of room.
  5. When working around the horse (ie grooming or tacking up) stay close to the horse so that, in the unlikely event that the horse kicks, you will not receive the full impact.
  6. Never wrap the lead rope or reins around your hand.
  7. When leading the horse into a stable, always turn the horse towards you at the door before taking the headcollar off.
  8. When turning a horse out in a field or paddock, always turn the horse’s head towards the fence before taking the headcollar off.  If more than one horse is being turned out, leave plenty of room between each horse and ensure everyone removes the headcollars at the same time.
  9. If you are not happy working around the horse (ie picking up feet), or are unsure of what has been asked of you (ie tacking up or untacking), ask for help.
  10. Always wear sensible footwear around horses.
  11. Remember that jewellery (especially earrings, rings and necklaces) can get caught and could cause injury.
  12. Always make sure loose clothing is buttoned / zipped up and cannot flap and frighten your horse.

Basic Riding Safety and Etiquette

  1. Riding safety and etiquette is a combination of common sense, good manners and respecting the horses and riders around you.
  2. You must wear a hard hat/riding helmet (even if the guide or other riders are not wearing one). Your hat should meet current international safety standards.
  3. When you are riding you are more than a passenger.  Be aware of your horse, what you are doing and where you are riding at all times.
  4. Always listen to the guide’s instructions and obey them.  They are for your safety.
  5. Never pass the guide, unless he/she has said you may do so.  Stay at the pace set by the guide.
  6. Never ride off until all riders are mounted and ready.
  7. When riding in a group, be aware of the other riders.  Do not allow your horse to get too close to the horse in front or you might get kicked.
  8. Do not suddenly cut in front of other horses, especially when cantering and jumping, or pass them at speed.
  9. As a courtesy to others, give verbal warnings for dangers (ie holes, low branches) and pass back messages clearly that the guide may have given.
  10. Another rider’s leg or horse does not make a good rubbing post for your horse and could result in biting and kicking.
  11. Horses can be startled by sudden movements.  Don’t throw things (ie hats, cameras) to or from a horse.  Always dismount to remove or put on coats and jumpers etc.
  12. Hats and sunglasses should be firmly secured.
  13. Always ride in boots that you would be happy to walk a long distance in.
  14. Horse riding is a physical activity.  The fitter you are, the less tired you will become and the more you will enjoy your holiday.

If you have any concerns over any of the above, please call us immediately on +44(0)1299 272 997