With spring right around the corner, the weather is getting nicer. For many, this means that it’s time to get back on your horse! After all, nothing beats being out in nature with your best friend, exploring all the terrain after months under ice and snow. But before you head out for your first ride of the season, make sure you’ve taken a look at your equestrian safety essentials. The right gear and equipment can be the difference between a relaxing ride in the sun and a harrowing experience where something goes wrong. Here are some tips to have on hand this season so that you’re ready for anything!
As with anything else that goes on your feet, choosing the right pair of boots is vital. You want them to be well-made and sturdy, with a good grip on the sole and a fully-reinforced ankle. Make sure your boots have a clear heel, so your feet don’t get caught in the stirrups if you fall. A proper boot will keep you safe – even if you take a tumble!
There are many different ways to protect your head, but the best way is to wear a helmet. The most important part of your headgear is the protection it provides.
Helmets should have a snug fit and move with you without falling off. You want to make sure that the brim of your riding helmet is wide enough to cover your eyes and cheeks so that you don’t get debris in your eyes from flying insects or dirt kicked up from wind or other horses.
If you’re riding in an area where there’s potential for branches, head protection also provides some additional protection for these areas. Replace your helmet if you’ve fallen and it’s hitting the ground or another hard surface, it’s more than 3-5 years old (depending on the brand), or if it has any chips or cracks.
Saddles and Tack
Saddles are the most critical piece of equestrian safety equipment. They ensure that you and your horse have a comfortable ride. Saddles come in many shapes and sizes to accommodate different riders and horses. If you’re unsure which one is right for you, talk to an expert or contact a saddle fitter.
Tack refers to everything else outside the saddle: the straps, cinches, stirrups, and reins. It’s important to stay mindful of what type of tack your horse needs, as well as how it should be used. For example, some horses need special shoes on their hooves because they work on hard surfaces like concrete all day long. Others might require a more advanced saddle with more security features for their riders’ protection.
If you’re riding in the sun, quality sunglasses are a must. You’ll want to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. Too many people leave the house without their shades on or don’t have a good pair of riding glasses. However, you don’t necessarily have to go out and buy a new pair of sunglasses every year. Ray Ban replacement lenses can bring new life to old sunglasses and allow you to keep using your favorite pair.
Sensible Horseback Riding Clothes
You should always wear sensible riding clothes when you are on your horse. Look for long pants and fitted shirts but don’t restrict your movements. Fitted clothing is essential to ensure it doesn’t get caught in your tack.
The Importance of Knowing Your Horse’s Limits
It’s essential to know your horse’s limits before you get back in the saddle. If you’ve been off for a long time, it’s a good idea to start slow and gradually increase your distance. This way, if something does happen, you’ll have some time to correct it before it becomes an issue.
A Few Basic First Aid Skills
It’s always a good idea to know what you’ll do in case of an emergency.
Even if you’re not in the medical profession, basic first aid skills can be lifesaving. And don’t worry if you’ve never taken a class on first aid–there are plenty of resources out there for those who want to learn. A few great places to start are:
– The American Red Cross’ Basic First Aid Course
The American Heart Association’s course on Basic Life Support
And while this is a good starting point, it doesn’t hurt to take a refresher course every few years!
As we head into the warmer months ahead, it’s time to prepare for the upcoming horse riding season. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider with years of experience under your belt, make sure you’ve got everything on hand. That way, when Mother Nature reveals her beautiful colors this year and all those long-needed days of sunshine finally arrive, it’ll be time to hit up every trail in sight!
Don’t forget that the more time you take to plan for your ride, the more fun you’ll have!