Last week I was out hacking my horse. The sun was shining. There was a slight breeze against my shirt. My horse was pricking his ears looking around in a happy, relaxed manner. My black Labrador was running next to us. In a flash, a dog came out of nowhere, barking at us. My horse startled, bucked and sent me flying. He galloped over me; knocking my head hard with one of his hooves. Luckily I had my helmet on. I got home with nothing more hurt than pride. I learned two key things that day:
- Safety apparel is essential for safe riding; and
- It was my loyal dog who was my best friend – my horse headed home without me.
A generous interpretation from a riding friend: my horse, Triple Fire, rushed home to call for help.
What are the most important basic pieces of safety apparel for a rider, while hacking out?
1. An equestrian helmet
Without doubt the most important piece of safety equipment is the riding helmet. Make sure that yours passes or surpasses the ASTM/SEI standards and that it fits correctly.
2. Riding boots
It’s really important to wear shoes with a heel when riding. This prevents your foot from slipping through the stirrup and getting trapped. Ideally you should wear proper horse riding boots.
3. Front opening jackets and jerseys
There is nothing more annoying than getting really hot fifteen minutes into a ride and wanting to take off a jersey or a jacket. Especially if you have to take it off over your head and can’t get it over your head and helmet. This is also dangerous because it may mean having to let go of your reins. It’s just must easier and safer to wear jerseys and jackets with front opening zippers etc.
4. Don’t wear scarves or loose items of clothing
Scarves or loose items of clothing can flap unexpectedly; causing your horse to spook. They can also get caught on branches. Rather avoid wearing them.