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Horseback Riding: Safety Tips “Rein In” Injuries
Date:4/24/2013

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  • Always wear a horseback riding helmet that meets safety standards. An equestrian helmet is different from those designed for other sports like bicycle or motorcycle riding. It covers more of the head than a bicycle helmet, fits lower on the head and distributes protection more evenly around the head rather than concentrated at the front and top. The helmet has a hard shell on the outside made of an impact-resistant resin or plastic. Beneath the shell are materials designed to absorb the impact of a fall or blow. The helmet must be securely fastened at all times. Replace a helmet that has undergone impact.
  • Have an instructor or other professional check that your boots are properly matched to your stirrups and that your foot is properly positioned in the stirrup. Young and inexperienced riders should consider using safety stirrups that break away if the rider falls off the horse to prevent the foot getting caught in the stirrup and the rider being dragged by the horse, a frequent cause of injury.
  • Inspect all equipment – saddle, bridle, etc. – before every ride to ensure that it is in good condition and has no cracks, splits or loose stitching.
  • Wear clothing that is snug but comfortable. Wear sturdy leather boots that have a one-inch heel that prevents the foot from slipping through the stirrup. Wear non-skid gloves to prevent the reins from slipping out of the hands.
  • Never ride alone. Young and novice riders should always be supervised by a professional. Attempting any new maneuver, such as jumping, should be done only with appropriate supervision.
  • Take lessons in riding and handling horses. Learn about horse behavior and especially how to avoid actions and situations that might frighten the horse. Horses can be spooked by sudden, unexpected movements; sudden loud noises, such as alarms, whistles, phones, screaming; large crowds; other animals, such as unleashed dogs; insects; and camer
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