Here you can learn some important, but often ignored safety tips that are in place for a reason. You might decide that some of these things are pointless as you've seen other riders doing the opposite. We will explain what is often overlooked and why it is a bad idea to do so.
You might of seen some people riding without any head protection, making you believe this is a safe thing to do. Sadly, this is not the case, and on most stable yards and Equestrian centres it is a requirement. If you are caught riding without a helmet, the owner of the yard or facility could fine you or give you notice to leave as this could invalidate their insurance policy or prompt a visit from the Health and Safety inspectors. You might feel it's safe as you're in a menage, only walking or because you don't want anyone to think you're scared. However, if you fall off and hit your head on something hard, this can lead to serious injury or death.
Think about when you're in a moving car which suddenly breaks sharply. The only thing that stops you hitting your head on the dashboard or even exiting the car through the windscreen is your seat belt. This is because whilst the car is slowing down, your body isn't. So if your horse or pony was to suddenly stop dead as you approached a wall or fence, you could be hurled forward over your horse or ponies head and end up getting injured.
You might see people hacking out on the road or on Bridleways without anyone else with them. In fact, if you asked most riders why they hack out on their own, they will often always tell you the same thing - "If anything happens I've got my mobile with me". However, this isn't as safe as many riders think and I have to admit I used to be guilty of this one myself. There are a number of things that might prevent you from ringing anyone for help if your out on your own.
- Your phone might loose signal, making you unable to make a phone call.
- Your phone battery might run out, making you unable to operate your phone.
- You could drop your phone without realising, and then have an accident.
- You could fall off and land on your phone, rendering it broken.
- In a worse case scenario, you could fall off and be knocked unconcious.
If you were to fall off, it means your riding partner would be able to help you. If you had gotten injured but it wasn't life threatening, they could either call anyone who was at the stable yard to come and assist or call Emergency services. It's important to note that a law was passed which enables a phone to connect to any and all networks it can find within a matter of seconds if an Emergency/SOS number is dialed. If your phone displays "No Signal" and it's a real Emergency situation, always try ringing the Emergency services first. A phone displays "No Signal" when your network operator has no coverage in that area, however, it doesn't mean that other networks don't have coverage in that area either.
You'll often see adults, standing behind their horse whilst grooming them, mixing food or undertaking other yard duties. Then you may see younger people stand behind their horse or pony and cuddle its bum. Adults have faster reaction times than children do, so it is strongly advised never to stand behind your horse or pony in case they kick. You will often hear people say one of two phrases - "They don't kick" or "They've never kicked before". Now, a lot of the time this is true. A horse or pony shouldn't have a reason to kick unless it's agitated, scared or feels threatened. Just because it hasn't happened before, it doesn't mean it's never going to happen.
If you ride out on the roads a lot, you might have noticed by now the amount of inconsiderate drivers that don't know the first thing about driving around horses. If you experience a lot of these types of people, you might consider investing in a camera. If you are met with an inconsiderate driver, you can then act out a bit of vigilante work and warn other riders about them by posting the footage on Facebook or YouTube. Should a criminal offence be commited, you can also pass the footage over to the Police for them to investigate. We will point out at this time that cameras, whilst 100% safe and legal, are disputed by a handful of riders so you might heare different stories from some people.
There are a few types of cameras you can get to use whilst you are riding, the most popular of which is a Go-Pro. There are other cameras on the market but nothing has quite as many attachements as the Go-Pro range of cameras. This means that you're very likely to find an attachement no matter where you want to mount it, whether it be your horses tail (on a tail guard) on your hat or even on your body. However, there are plenty of cameras that you can buy that are specifically tailored to horse riders (the 'Hack Cam' for instance)
However, please don't ride around holding your phone as a recording device. This is extremely dangerous as you do not have full control of your horse should they shy at anything.