Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tips To Prevent Horseback Riding Injuries

Horseback riding

Tips to Prevent Horseback Riding Injuries By J. Foley

With a weight of up to 1,500 pounds, a height of 3 meters and a speed of 30 mph, horses can be quite formidable if the rider should happen to fall off. The amount and seriousness of the injuries can be very high and might also lead to fatal consequences. The probability of injuries in horseback riding is much higher than in motorcycle riding and as such it is essential that proper precautions should be taken so that the fun associated with horseback riding is not unnecessarily spoilt.

The most common areas of injuries are the arms, the spine and the head. If the injury is in the spinal region, the result can be permanent disability leading to paralysis. A head injury could cause seizures and the victim might even go into a coma. Although most injuries take place while riding, other injuries can be the result of handling, feeding and grooming the horse in the stable.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons has recommended the following preventive measures to reduce the chance of injuries

1) Horseback riding helmets that meet safety standards must always be worn while riding.
2) Beginners should be properly instructed by experienced instructors and they should be supervised while riding. Moreover, they should be asked to ride experienced horses that have a good temperament and are cool and more predictable.
3) Each rider should be allotted a horse that will match his age, experience, skill and size.
4) All riding equipment should be checked to ensure that there is no damage and that it is properly fitted.
5) No loose clothing should be worn and well-fitted leather boots with minimum heel should be used.
6) Safety stirrups that snap if the rider falls should be used by children and beginners.
7) Amateurs should not attempt jumps or stunts without someone supervising them.
8) It is important to move away from the side of the horse when you hit the ground, if you feel that you are falling from the horse.
9) You should always be on the alert for any sudden noise or movement as this makes the horse run away from the same.
10) It is advisable not to ride a horse if you are on medication, tired or if you have consumed alcohol.
11) Proper body-protecting gear should be worn to prevent soft-tissue injuries and rib fractures.

With all these protective tips, you can look forward to an enjoyable and safe horseback riding experience.

Horseback riding
Article Written By J. Foley