If you are new to horseback riding, then following this guide will help you have a safe experience. Here are tips on safe horseback riding in San Diego.
When it comes to exciting, exhilarating experiences, horseback riding definitely comes in near the top of the list.
This is also a fantastic activity for nature and animal lovers, as horse riding lets you enjoy one of the most majestic animals on the planet. At the same time, you can enjoy the splendor of the environment in which you and your loved one are riding.
Make no mistake, however; horses are powerful, fast creatures. If they decide to bolt, or if they lose their footing, you could be in for a world of hurt. So before you saddle up, learn everything you can about safe horseback riding.
1. Make Sure Your Horse Is Well-Suited To You
There are some incredible trails in the San Diego area. Whether you are a tourist who wants to ride as part of your dream vacation or a local who just wants to get out and enjoy the gorgeous California weather, this is a superb location to do it in.
It’s important, however, that you choose a horse that’s suited to your experience level. Horse riders who are beginners should always be paired up with gentle, mild-mannered horses that are used to having nervous humans on their back. Once you’ve been on horseback more extensively, you can opt for a horse that might be somewhat spicy.
2. Wear A Helmet
It’s essential to wear a helmet when you are horseback riding. And not just any helmet, either, but an ASTM-approved one. Study after study has shown that most horse rider fatalities are a direct cause of head injuries, which happen when inadequate protection is worn.
This goes for both novices and old hands. Some research actually suggests that experienced riders may be more prone to sustaining head injuries than their less-savvy counterparts. You should also have your helmet fitted correctly.
3. Protect Your Legs with Pants
Especially in San Diego and other areas in Southern California, where the weather is reliably sunny and warm, you may be tempted to wear shorts when you ride. Resist that temptation! After all, there is a good reason why cowboys have long been associated with sturdy blue jeans.
This goes double if you are trail riding. Remember that these trails might meander through areas with bushes, brush, and other vegetation. Those plants can be hazardous to your epidermis!
4. Boots Are a Must-Have Too
Choose boots when you go for a horseback ride. The best boots for riding have minimal tread and a heel height greater than 1″, to better grip the stirrups. But if you’re renting a horse and tackle or going on a guided ride, there may be safety stirrups or cages that will allow a wider range of footwear.
5. Leave Some Distance
Many trail rides in the San Diego area happen in groups. It’s a really fun way to enjoy the great outdoors. When it comes to bonding with family members, friends, or colleagues, you can’t get much better than horseback riding.
Make sure to leave at least one horse length of distance between your mount and the one ahead of you. That will keep both you and your animal safe, just in case another horse does spook, kick, or otherwise act unpredictably.
6. Know How to Fall
Knowing how to fall off a horse can mean the difference between walking away from the animal bruised or being seriously injured, even paralyzed or killed. Ask for a lesson on how to dismount in an emergency, as well as what to do if you feel yourself falling.
Of course, no one ever plans to fall from their mount. However, you know what they say about best-laid plans and good intentions! To ensure that you have extra protection, consider a torso-protecting safety vest.
7. Don’t Speed
There might not be a speed limit that is applicable to horseback riding, but that doesn’t give you license to go as fast as you want. Particularly if you are a beginner, go slowly at first, no matter where you are riding.
More experienced horse riders can up their speed somewhat, but should also tailor it to the terrain, area, weather conditions, and other factors. Just as with motor vehicles, going too fast can have disastrous consequences.
8. Be Prepared
There are some rough, remote areas near San Diego so even if you are in a group, heed all safety precautions so that your experience will be remembered for fun.
If you are going out on your own, this may mean having a compass and a map (not just your cell phone). Let someone who’s staying behind know where you plan to wander, just in case you’re not back in a timely fashion. And take some provisions, like a bottle of water and a protein bar, trail mix, or beef jerky.
9. Treat Your Horse with Respect
Lastly, it’s important to respect the animal you are riding. Remember that they might seem like a gentle giant, but has plenty of power to really hurt you if they choose.
Never hit or slap the horse. Don’t pull on its mane or tail. And use a soft but firm voice when speaking to them; be careful not to yell or shout.
Safe Horseback Riding Is Simple
Safe horseback riding is essential, but it can also be very simple. If you have a measure of common sense, can follow directions, and treat your horse with respect and deference, you’ll be just fine.
When in doubt, ask the leader of the trail ride or a more experienced rider. Most of all, have fun!
Interested in having an amazing experience on a trail ride? Want to learn more about horse riding lessons? Give us a call and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.