#1 Check your saddle leathers frequently.
Saddle leathers on both sides of your cinch crack, stretch and split over time
due to simple wear and tear. If you even think the leather is compromised,
change it. You may want to automatically change both the latigo and the
offside billet every six months.
#2 Check your cinch before you mount and then again after riding a
I like to be able to easily put several finger between the girth and the horse
and have it feel snug to a gentle pull. It is also critical to recheck the cinch
after a short time of riding.
#3 Helmets are a good thing.
I am 1000% in support of wearing a helmet while riding.
#4 Keep horses separated.
No matter how gentle a horse may be, you never know when a horse will
decide he doesn’t like his neighbor and kick out. For your safety and the
safety of your horse, keep your horse a good distance apart from the next
horse both when tied in the barn and while you are in the saddle.
#5 Tie horses properly.
Learn how to tie a quick release knot. Look around for anything sticking out
that a halter could get hung on. Tie a horse at a comfortable height so he
doesn’t have to put his head up too high. Leave around a foot and a half of
lead rope. Be careful not to tie a horse with too much lead rope as he can get
his foot through the rope and injure himself.
#6 Let a horse know that you are approaching him.
When you walk towards a horse, talk to him. Do not surprise him, especially
around his hindquarters. When walking towards the front of a horse, look at
his shoulder and do not move suddenly.
#7 Make sure your horse is ready to ride.
When a horse has not been ridden for a while, be careful. Perhaps free longe
him in a round pen before you saddle him. Or saddle him and walk him
around on foot. Ride him in a confined area and “get the fresh off” before
you go outside of the arena.
#8 Have an emergency break for stopping.
Sometimes a horse will spook, or shy, or “crow hop” or get moving faster
than you desire. Make sure you know how to stop your horse in an instant.
This could include a two handed stop or a one rein stop to the side.
#9 Ride in control of your horse.
It is safe for you and good horsemanship for the horse to never go faster than
YOU really want to go. You are the leader of the partnership. No matter how
much time it takes, make sure you are going at the speed you desire.
#10 Ride with someone else around.
The safest thing you can do is ride with a buddy.
I understand that sometimes this is a tough one if you can only ride at home
by yourself. If you must ride alone, carry a cell phone and know whom you
would get in touch with if something out of the ordinary happened.