Do to a couple of unfortunate accidents I have learned about in the past few months, I decided it was time to visit the topic of safety when riding. While some accidents are unavoidable, there are several ways we can reduce the risks. I am going to touch on a few of them. Using these techniques, I have been able to virtually eliminate falls off of horses that I have trained.
Lunging is a great way to begin to establish a dialogue with your horse. The horse learns to go forward and to stop when asked, and to be relaxed and attentive. The purpose of lunging is not to run the horse around until he is too tired to do anything, but it is a great way to teach him that it is his job to focus on you rather than what is going on around him. This can help reduce the chance of him spooking at something. My horse is very well trained, and I don’t necessarily need to lunge him before I ride him, but I do anyway so that when I get on him, he is focused and ready to go to work.
Work in Hand
Work in hand helps to further develop communication with your horse, as well as to establish your role as leader. By directing his movement, you teach him to listen to you as his leader. Once the horse learns to accept your leadership, he will be able to trust you to take care of him. Again, this will help reduce the chance of spooking.
Shoulder in has many advantages. It continues to enhance the communication between you and your horse, it maintains the focus you developed while lunging, and it helps to supple and relax the horse. It can also be used as a safety net in case something does go wrong. During the shoulder in, the horse must step underneath himself and cross his hind legs. This makes it nearly impossible for him to buck, rear, or bolt. If something scares your horse you can ask him to perform a shoulder in until you are able to regain control of him.
Using these exercises, you greatly reduce the risks of an accident. This can lead to a happier, safer riding experience for both you and your equine partner.
If you’d like to learn more, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.