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Be aware of the Risks!

Riding is fun, it helps keep you fit, and you can meet other like-minded people.

It can be exhilarating and rewarding, and you can form a close bond with your horse or pony. It is surprising how much pleasure riders can get from doing well in one of the schools or on a hack, even when it is cold and pouring with rain. We know, because we see riders coming back, sometimes soaking wet, absolutely delighted with their ride. Even mucking out a stable or grooming a horse can give a lot of pleasure.

However, horses and ponies, however well-trained, can be unpredictable at times. This is especially true in slightly different or unusal circumstances, such as when someone rides a horse for the first time, or when you start to jump or canter, or when you go out on a hack, or pass other animals, cars, or even plastic blowing in the wind.

Whilst an animal may act perfectly normally in all of those circumstances, it is possible that, for some unknown reason, something may "spook" a horse or pony. That is, the animal may suddenly move or jump sideways, or even buck. In these circumstances, even an experienced rider may be unseated and fall off. By definition, falling off a horse can be painful, and may even cause injury.

Similarly, a horse or pony can loose its footing or trip over a hazard such as a rabbit hole or loose ground. The faster it is moving, the easier it is to fall off.

And, if you are feeling less confident for any reason, you may be less able to respond quickly to any problems.

Once you are in the saddle, you are the only person who can control the animal. That is, no one else can steer or stop it. So, always listen to your Instructor. Always tell your Instructor if you feel nervous or unsure. Above all,never do anything about which you do not feel confident.

So, do enjoy your riding, but be aware that accidents can happen!

Of course, injury can be avoided or reduced, even if an accident does happen, by wearing a properly-fitting hard hat, wearing body-protection, using riding boots (preferably proper boots or at least boots with smooth soles to avoid feet being caught in a stirrup), and having something reflective (ie hi-viz) in poor light or darkness.


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