Avoiding Accidents: The Do’s And Don’ts Of Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a great way to stay fit and have fun, but it’s not always easy. It requires special skills and knowledge, so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared before getting on the back of a horse. 

If you’re new to the sport or just want some tips on how to avoid accidents while riding horses, here are some dos and don’ts that will help keep you safe:

How to Be Safe Around Horses
Dos and Don’ts of Horseback Riding
Always wear a helmet while riding.
Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to your horse’s behavior.
Practice proper riding techniques and posture to prevent accidents.
Wear appropriate clothing and gear for added safety.
Know the risks involved in horseback riding and take steps to minimize them.

Do: Choose The Right Horse For Your Skill Level

If you’re new to horseback riding, start with a smaller and more docile horse. Choose a horse that is the right size for your skill level. If you are nervous or less experienced, it’s best to choose one that has a calm temperament and can be easily controlled by its rider.

Choose a healthy animal that is in good condition you don’t want an injured animal that could hurt itself or others if things go wrong during your ride. Finally, make sure that your chosen mount has been thoroughly trained for riding; 

no matter how much experience the owner says he has had with horses (or even if he claims “this is my first time”), make sure his claim can be backed up by evidence of proper training and care before hitting the trail together.

Understanding the risks and learning about proper safety measures is crucial for every horseback rider. Check out our comprehensive guide on horseback riding safety to ensure a safe riding experience.

Don’t: Buy Equipment Without Understanding How To Use It

Before you buy any horseback riding gear, you should make sure that the product is right for your needs. For example, if you are a beginner rider who only plans on using your horse once or twice a year for an hour at a time, there’s no reason to purchase an expensive saddle and bridle set. 

However, if this same person were planning on becoming an avid rider who rides every day and travels with their horses across the country (or even across continents), then investing in high-quality gear would be wise because it will last longer than cheaper options.

Buying Equipment Without Understanding How to Use ItUnderstanding How to Use Equipment Before Buying
Can result in wasting money on equipment you don’t needHelps purchase the right equipment to match your needs
Can lead to incorrect use of equipment and potential accidentsEnsures proper use of equipment and reduces accident risk
Can lead to discomfort and pain for both you and the horseEnsures equipment fits correctly and promotes comfort
Can hurt the horse’s movement and performanceHelps improve the horse’s movement and performance
Can negatively impact your riding experienceCan enhance your riding experience and promote confidence

Buying horseback riding equipment without understanding how to use it can lead to wasted money, incorrect usage, discomfort for both you and the horse, and even accidents. Understanding how to use the equipment beforehand is crucial for ensuring proper usage, reducing risk of accidents, and promoting comfort and performance.

Before buying equipment, research types of equipment that are suitable for your needs and riding style, and consider products from brands with a reputation for excellence like Dover Saddlery or SmartPak. By purchasing the right equipment that matches your needs and understanding how to use them, you can ensure an enjoyable and safe riding experience.

Do: Get A Lesson Before Saddling Up

Before you saddle up, get a lesson.

Learn about the horse’s personality. The best way to do this is by observing how they behave in their natural environment and when they are around other horses or humans. You can also ask the owner what kind of personality he/she thinks his/her horse has.

Learn how to properly saddle a horse and mount him/her safely and efficiently (see below).

Familiarize yourself with all parts of a bridle, including bit sizes; cheek pieces; curb chains; nosebands; reins; martingales/padded headstalls (if using one); blinkers (if using one).

When it comes to horseback riding, wearing a helmet is a must to prevent serious head injuries. Learn more about the importance of helmet safety in our article on wearing a helmet while horseback riding to protect yourself and stay safe.

Don’t: Ride A Horse You Don’t Know

If you’re new to riding, it’s best to start with an experienced horse. When choosing a mount, look for the following qualities:

  • Good health no cuts or bruises on the body, and no lameness in any of its legs.
  • Good temperament the animal should be calm and quiet when you approach it, not nervous or spooky (jumping up or running away).
  • Well trained the horse should stand quietly while you get on and off; walk at your command without pulling against the bit; trot when asked; stop when asked; turn in either direction without hesitation; and pick up its feet when told to do so (this last one is important because riders often step off their mounts during rides).

If these things seem like common sense but are hard for us mere humans to assess by ourselves (especially since we’re not used to being around horses), ask someone who knows what they’re doing.

 A good friend who owns horses might be able-bodied enough himself/herself but still unable

Riding an Unfamiliar HorseRiding an Experienced Horse
Increases the risk of accidents and injuriesLowers the risk of accidents and injuries
Can be difficult to control and maneuverOften responds well to instructions and commands
Can be unpredictable and have unique temperamentsGenerally has a more predictable and manageable temperament
May require additional training or adjustmentsMay require fewer adjustments or training
Can lead to a negative riding experienceCan lead to a positive and enjoyable riding experience

Riding a horse you don’t know can be risky for both you and the horse. Unfamiliar horses can be difficult to control and maneuver, making them prone to accidents and injuries. Choosing an experienced horse with a consistent and manageable temperament can lower the risk of accidents and lead to a more enjoyable riding experience.

Look for horses with a history of good training, obedience, and temperaments like the ones offered by trusted brands like Horse Scout or Equine.com. Riding an experienced horse can help you build more confidence and trust and set you up for success as you continue to develop your riding skills.

Do: Warm Up Your Horse

Warm up your horse before riding. A good warm-up will help to prevent injury, and it’s also an excellent way to bond with your horse.

How to warm up: Walk around the arena for five minutes at a slow walk, then jog for five minutes at a fast trot or lope (your choice). Repeat this sequence three times before mounting up.

Proper riding techniques and posture are key to preventing accidents and ensuring a safe ride. Read our guide on the importance of proper riding techniques for safety for expert tips on maintaining control and avoiding risks while riding.

Don’t: Neglect Your Posture

  • Do: Maintain good posture.
  • Don’t: Neglect your posture.

Keep your back straight, with shoulders back and hips level, as much as possible. You may find that this helps to support the weight of the saddle on your horse’s back better than slouching or leaning forward would. 

If you have poor posture, try to improve it by stretching and strengthening muscles in your lower back and core area (the belly button). A few exercises that can help include:

Standing with feet hip-width apart and holding onto something sturdy for balance; slowly bend forward at the waist until you feel a stretch along either side of the spine (but not so much that it hurts). Then hold for 5 to 10 seconds before returning upright again; repeat 10 times per day until improvement is achieved.

Neglecting PostureMaintaining Proper Posture
Can cause discomfort and pain for both you and the horseReduces the risk of pain and discomfort for both you and the horse
Can negatively impact your balance while ridingImproves control and balance while riding
Can cause the saddle to become imbalanced on the horse’s backDistributes the weight of the rider more evenly on the horse’s back
Can lead to health issues like back pain and poor circulationPromotes better posture and overall health
Can affect your horse’s movement and performanceHelps improve your horse’s movement and performance

Neglecting your posture while horseback riding can negatively impact both your riding experience and your horse’s comfort and performance. Poor posture can lead to pain and discomfort, affect your balance and control, and even cause health issues.

Maintaining proper posture, on the other hand, can help distribute the weight of the rider more evenly on the horse’s back, promote better posture and overall health, and improve the horse’s movement and performance. Posture-correcting products like the Back on Track Posture Brace or the EquiFit ShouldersBack can help riders maintain proper posture and ride with more ease and comfort.

Do: Learn The Basics Of Communicating With A Horse

  • Learn how to use your voice.
  • Use body language and posture.

Use a bridle or halter to communicate with the horse (depending on the type of riding you’re doing). This is an essential part of communicating with your mount, as it helps them understand what you want them to do and gives them something stable on which they can rely when making quick decisions in response to commands from their rider.

Use your hands and legs as well as the reins when giving directions, since these parts of the body are far more sensitive than reins alone and they’ll also help keep you safe by keeping you close enough that if anything goes wrong, he’ll still be able to stop quickly enough before hitting anything dangerous like trees or rocks.

Horseback riding can be exhilarating but it also comes with inherent risks. To mitigate these risks, it’s important to be aware of and practice safety guidelines. Check out our article on 10 essential safety tips for horseback riding for practical safety measures that every rider should know.

Don’t: Forget To Stay Calm Around Horses

When you’re riding a horse, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and forget that horses are prey animals. They can sense your fear and nervousness, so it’s important that you stay calm around them at all times.

Don’t show fear or nervousness: Horses can sense when people are afraid of them, which will make them skittish and jumpy around that person for a long time afterward. 

If someone is scared of something (or anything), try not to let them see it it will only make matters worse.

Don’t make sudden movements: If there’s one thing horses don’t like, it’s sudden movements, especially from behind! 

Keep your body relaxed so as not to startle either yourself or your mount; moving slowly will help avoid any accidents from occurring during rides together down trails in national parks near me today.

The Consequences of NervousnessThe Benefits of Staying Calm
Can cause your horse to become nervous and anxiousPromotes a sense of calmness and trust between you and your horse
Can negatively impact your control over the horseCreates a safer and more enjoyable riding experience for both you and your horse
Can make the horse difficult to handle and controlHelps build a better relationship with your horse
Can trigger the horse’s flight response and lead to accidentsLowers the risk of accidents and injuries for both you and your horse
Can affect your horse’s behavior and performanceHelps improve your horse’s behavior and performance

Staying calm around horses is essential for a good relationship with these majestic creatures. Nervousness can make horses anxious, difficult to control, and even trigger a flight response that can endanger both you and the horse. Staying calm and relaxed around horses can lead to better performance, improved behavior, and a safer riding experience for both the rider and the horse.

By using calming agents like lavender oil sprays from brands like Equi-Spa or Bach Rescue Remedy, riders can better manage their anxiety and create a more relaxed and positive atmosphere for themselves and their horses.

Do: Wear The Correct Clothing And Gear

  • Wear the correct clothing for the weather.
  • Wear a helmet.
  • Wear boots that are sturdy and have a good grip on them, so you don’t slip off your horse in an emergency situation.
  • Gloves are also important to help protect against rope burns or scratches from branches and bushes on your ride, so make sure they fit snugly but aren’t too tight (you might want to buy some riding gloves).

Finally, when you’re riding with other people who may not know how to ride as well as you do, it’s always best practice to wear something with reflective tape or other safety features such as vests or jackets with safety harnesses built into them.

Horses can be unpredictable animals, so it’s essential to be prepared with the right safety equipment. Our article on the top 15 pieces of safety equipment every rider needs covers all of the essential items to help keep you and your horse safe and protected during your rides.

Don’t: Ride Without A Helmet

It’s no secret that riding a horse can be an exhilarating experience. But as with any physical activity, there are certain risks involved. One of the most dangerous things you can do while riding is not wearing a helmet. 

If you fall off your horse or get into an accident, not having one on will leave your head vulnerable to serious injury.

Helmets reduce the risk of head trauma by absorbing impact energy during falls and collisions with objects such as fences or trees (although they may still break). 

They also prevent skull fractures and concussions which can lead to long-term health problems like memory loss or brain damage if left untreated by spreading out force over a larger area instead of concentrating it at one point in time like bare skulls do when struck by something solid like steel bars used in construction projects around town here locally in 

Texas where we live together happily ever after happy endings always come true eventually so don’t worry about anything right now just keep smiling.

Riding without a helmetRiding with a helmet
Increases the risk of serious head injuryReduces the risk of head injury by 70%
Can result in long-term brain damage or even deathProtects the brain from impact
Is against the safety guidelines of many riding stablesIs a basic safety requirement at most riding stables
Can affect your balance and control while ridingCan help stabilize your head and protect your neck and spine
Can potentially lead to legal liabilityCan help prevent liability in case of accidents

Wearing a helmet is a crucial safety measure when horseback riding. Not only can it protect against serious head injuries, but it is often required by many riding stables. Neglecting to wear a helmet can increase the risk of brain damage, negatively impact your balance while riding, and even result in legal liability.

By wearing the correct helmet, such as an ASTM/SEI certified helmet like those offered by brands like Troxel or Charles Owen, riders can protect themselves and ensure a safer, more enjoyable riding experience.


As you can see, there are many things to consider when riding a horse. With the right gear and knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to enjoy this sport without worrying about accidents or injuries. The most important thing is that you have fun.

Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more about horseback riding safety, check out these helpful resources:

1-800-PetMeds: This comprehensive guide covers a wide range of safety topics, including rider gear, horse behavior, and trail riding considerations.

The Silver Lining: This article provides helpful tips on what to wear, how to ride safely, and what to look for in a riding stable.

Ampascachi Equestrian Holidays: This blog post covers everything from choosing the right riding helmet to preparing for emergencies.


How can I stay safe while horseback riding?

Staying safe while horseback riding involves taking several important precautions, including wearing a helmet, practicing good posture and technique, and being aware of your surroundings at all times.

What kind of gear do I need for horseback riding?

At a minimum, riders should wear a helmet, proper riding boots, and clothing appropriate for the weather. Chaps, gloves, and safety vests are also recommended for added protection.

How do I choose the right riding stable?

When choosing a riding stable, look for one that emphasizes safety, has experienced instructors, and provides well-trained horses. Ask about the stable’s safety record and whether they offer safety training for riders.

What should I do if I’m injured while horseback riding?

If you’re injured while riding, seek medical attention immediately. Document the accident and notify the stable or instructor where you were riding to help prevent accidents from happening in the future.

How can I prepare my horse for safe riding?

To prepare your horse for safe riding, make sure they’re properly trained, well-exercised and conditioned, and wearing the appropriate riding equipment. Get to know your horse’s personality and understand their triggers and behaviors to help prevent accidents.