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Is Horse Riding Safe for Children?

31 May 2023

Many parents wonder if horse riding is safe enough for their children. After all, it can be a dangerous sport with the potential for high speed falls. You may be relieved to know that there are safety precautions which greatly reduce the risks of horse riding, and it can be fun and rewarding for children of all ages. Here are 5 tips to help ensure your child's safety.

Choose the right horse

When choosing a horse for a child to ride, consider the horse's temperament and size. A calm horse that is not easily startled is ideal, as is a horse that is not too large or powerful. A smaller horse is also easier for a child to control. A professional can help ensure the saddle is well fitted, to help your child stay in place. Making sure the bridle is also well fitted will help your youngster control their horse, once they’re experienced enough to take the reins themselves.

Get the right gear

Horse riding is a great way for children to exercise and spend time outdoors, but it's important to ensure they wear the right gear to stay safe. The most important item is their helmet, which must be properly adjusted for a good fit and worn at all times, to prevent head injuries in case of falls. Your child should wear tight fitting clothing and tie long hair back, as loose clothing or hair could become caught on the horse or tack. 

Supervise your child

Supervision is key to preventing accidents when your child is on or around horses. It’s best to get your child riding lessons with experienced professionals, however there is still a role for parents to play while watching sessions, to ensure their instructors are paying close enough attention to safety. If your child is riding without an instructor present, you should take special care to supervise them and ensure you know how to prevent accidents. 

Be prepared for emergencies

Horse riding is a beloved pastime for many children, but it is also an activity with certain risks. One way to help make horse riding safer for children is to ensure they are prepared for emergencies. If your child falls off their horse, they must know how to get back on safely. They should also be familiar with the basics of first aid if they or the horse sustains any injuries. Make sure they have essentials like a phone, water and bandages with them and know who to call in an emergency. 

Teach your child proper horse riding

Almost anyone can get on a horse and go for a ride. However, without proper instruction, riding can be dangerous for both the rider and the horse. Learning proper techniques can help to prevent accidents and injuries. For example, children should be taught how to approach and mount a horse, hold the reins, and use their feet for cueing the horse. 

Horse riding can be a safe and enjoyable activity for children, but it is important to take some precautions to ensure their safety.

Photo by Barbara Olsen

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