Arabian Knights Farms

Safety for Horses and Helmet Safety

for all Horse Riding Activities at AKF!

Plus HorseLand's Helping Horse Tips

"AKF REQUIRES HELMETS!"

Important "Horse Safety" For You and Your Horse!

When working around your horse keep in mind that their eyesight is different than ours and that they cannot see directly in front of their nose or directly behind their tail. Always stand close to the horse so you will not feel full impact of a kick or far back out of kicking range. Talking to your horse as you approach will help them focus on you as their handler and avoid startling them. Horses will kick out in fear, not because they are being malicious.
You should never crawl under a horse's belly. When working around a horse never kneel or sit on the ground near their feet. If they become startled they may step on you accidentally. You never want to leave a horse unattended if they are cross-tied in an aisle. You should always wear shoes with a hard sole; you should never wear open-toed shoes like sandals when working around horses. When working with your horse, move slowly, confidently, and talk to your horse so he is aware of where you are and what you are doing.

Catching Your Horse

1. When carrying your horse's halter, never allow the lead rope or halter to drag on the ground. You or your horse could trip over them.
2. As you approach your horse, say their name so they will acknowledge you. Most horses look forward to seeing their handlers and will approach if they know you are there.
3. Place the halter on the horse's head by pulling it over his nose first and then taking the crown piece over and around his ears. Buckle or snap the halter so that you can comfortably put your fist between your horse's jowl and the halter.

Leading Your Horse Safely

1. Always lead your horse from his left side. Stand between his neck and shoulder just under an arm's length away from him.
2. Hold the lead rope with your right hand under the snap attached to the halter and the remaining lead rope folded into your left hand.
3. Never coil or wrap the lead rope around your hands. If your horse spooks you could be dragged.
4. If your horse spooks or is nervous, talk to him quietly to reassure him.
5. Remember: you are in charge of keeping track of your feet. Your horse will not purposely step on your toes, but they cannot see your feet.
6. If you want your horse to walk, you should walk. To ask him to stop, say "whoa" and stop walking.
7. Always look where you want your horse to walk and not at the ground.
8. To pass a horse that is in cross-ties, wait for the other horse's handler to remove the cross-tie and move their horse over to allow enough space for you and your horse to walk safely by.
9. Never lead your horse under cross-ties.
10. Ask permission before leading your horse near a group of people.

Working Safely Around Your Horse

1. Always let the horse know what you intend to do.
2. Pet a horse by first placing your hand on his shoulder and neck. Do not pat the end of his nose.
3. Work around your horse from a position as near the shoulder as possible.
4. Always walk around the horse. Do not step over or under the lead rope or his neck.
5. Tie your horse far enough away from strange horses so they cannot fight.
6. Riders and attendants should not be loud or rowdy. Noise makes a horse jumpy and nervous both on the ground and under saddle.

Click on for more Safety Tips by Seasons
Summer - Winter - Spring

 Site Search

Safety Tips for Summer:

"There's a lot riding on us!"


Safety Tips for Winter:

"There's a lot riding on us!"

Safety Tips for Spring:

"There's a lot riding on us!"

HorseLand's Helping Horse Tips

"If your having problems with your horses tail getting all lanky losing condition and body try washing it with a good quality shampoo and then when it is damp spay it with Canter Mane & Tail Conditioner and again when it is dry. Do this once a week and your horses tail will be full of body and condition, it worked on my appy Breeze whose hair always loses condition easily but now you couldn't tell!" - Angela

"If your horse tosses its head and flips the bit a whole bunch, try a German Martingale. They're hard tofind, but well worth it. My Arab mix Rebel used toflip the bit all the time, but he loves to work in the Martingale and it keeps his head down." -Wolffsong

"If your horse runs everytime you have a halter, try carrying a halter with you everytime you're out with them. You don't do anything with it, just sling it over your shoulder and do your work. this way, the horse(s) slowly lose the fear of the halter because they always see it." -Kali Jones

"For horses with white hooves, the night prior to your show clean the hoof and dry it completely. After it is dried take a rasp on the light side file the hoof, but not accessibly. After it is mainly clean take a medium gauge sandpaper and sand it to finish it off. I do not wrap the hooves, because my horse's legs swell if I do so, but wrapping is an option. The morning of the show take the sandpaper and redo the hooves, to make them shine, instead of using artificial hoof polish, which often leaves cream or runny lines on white hooves, take baby oil and rub the hoof well with it. Wipe off any left over baby oil so nothing stick and voila! a beautiful shiny white hoof. (It'll get you far in a Halter class!!! It's my prized secret.)" ~SunnyGirl

"If your horse is a "lazy" jumper, consider where you jump. If you are always in the ring and never out on the trails maybe your horse is bored of ring work. Try taking the jumps and setting them up out on a safe footed trail. If you don't have a trail then set the jumps out in your horse's paddock or some where that might interest them. Before starting to jump make sure your horse is comfortable, maybe he doesn't like the footing, maybe he doesn't like the environment or maybe the tack is causing this "laziness". Let your horse check out this new place before jumping so that the new environment doesn't spook him." ~Ambey

When painting jumps, don't paint the tops. This way the moisture can evaporate, and your jumps will not rot.

"If your horse is being hard to handle (running away and being quick), try trotting around in a circle. Bend your horse to the inside, then do a counter bend to the outside. Repeat this for a while, trying to get your horse to become supple and going in the right frame." -Jai

"When purchasing blankets for your horse be sure they fit properly. Measure your horse from the center of his chest going around his side to a point in the center of his tail. This will be the size in inches that he needs. Be sure that blankets do not press on the withers and cause sores. A well fitting blanket has no pressure points and will remain in place when the horse lies down or rolls. If your horse tends to loose the hair on his shoulders spray them with show sheen before putting on his clothes. Blanket liners also help prevent these unsightly bald spots."

"Looking for something to hang inside your trailer to keep all the smaller items from falling to the bottom of your truck? Get one of those pocketed compartment panels that fits behind your truck seat. Holds everything including your whips and crops in the rifle compartment." -Gail

"My horses hate pills and sometimes they might need to take medication in a pill form. Solution: grind them up in one of those electric coffee grinders, add a little water, molasses or honey, dump it in a feeding syringe and it's as easy to give as paste wormer. Sure is better than a mortar and pestle or a hammer!" -Gail

"When getting horse blankets or saddle pads clean is too much for your washer,, take them to the car wash and hang them on the mat clips or over the tailgate of your truck and blast them clean." -Gail

"If your horse only likes water from home, try flavoring his water with some Tang, lemonade powder, or apple juice. Then when you're on the road, just add some of your choice and it will taste the same to him." ~Lexi and Patent Leather

"For the Dressage rider, try to use small cross rail and ground poles to help your horse increase or decrease his length of stride. It also helps when you are working on extensions and collection. The jumping provides balance and makes the horse work a little bit on his own balance instead of relying on his rider." -Mischa & Miss Fifi

White PVC pipes, which can be found in a local hardware store, makes great ground poles. The stables where I ride use these, and they work great!

Your horse loves apples and carrots, but try these other inexpensive treats: bread, pears, and turnips.

In order to keep those winter blankets as clean as long as you can, put them on a clean horse. Another helpful hint to keep those blankets clean is to put a lighter washable sheet under the heavier blankets.

Just a quick wash of your bit after every ride will save a lot of time and work when you finally decide to wash it. (It'll get really gross!)

If your horse doesn't like to drink cold water, add a small can of apple juice to it.

To keep your horses socks nice and white, try using cornstarch or a buleing agent.

Nail empty saddle soap tins up on the wall to hang halters and bridles on.

Hi! I found something interesting that cleared up a problem with my horse Shasta. Think your horse acts up *the worst* when you bridle him/her?? My horse Shasts SURE DID! I found out that horses throw their head up to see something in front of their nose. Try showing your horse the bridle and letting them look it over clearly before you bridle the horse! it worked with Shasta!-Alyson

Getting Your Horse Started! Looking for a great way to get your horse started after getting in the saddle? Have a "ground" partner use a lead line to guide the horse while the rider gives leg and verbal cues in harmony with the "ground" partner's actions. Starting with a walk, the rider should cue the "ground" partner when to stop, start, turn, and back up. Once your horse appears to sufficiently understand these cues and acts without prompting from the "ground" partner, begin riding in a round pen. After the horse cooperatively responds to these cues at a walk, use the "ground" partner to teach the cues for the trot. After 10-15 repetitions starting the trot, your horse is ready for one-on-one round pen training.

Using Round Pen Discipline and Exploration! Natural curiosity will encourage a young horse to explore a horse trailer and conquer the fear inherent in doing new things. This training can take place without stress if you will back up your horse trailer to a corral or stall run and remove a corral panel leaving the back door to the trailer open. Place the "trainee" in the corral and leave it alone to explore the inside of the trailer. At your convenience, but before removing the "trainee" from the corral, gently lead your horse into the trailer and back out several times.

Training needs to be an everyday experience, allowing the action to be encouraged by the horse and directed by the handler. Reprimand unacceptable behavior immediately, but not in a fit of anger. Use a three-foot crop to tap at the front feet below the knee. Be very careful to avoid discipline in the areas around the head and sides as these are places where you want to encourage the horse to respond to instruction.

Equestrian Helmet "Fact Sheet"


Fact #1: Between 12 to 15 million persons in the United States ride a horse or pony every year.

Fact # 2. Approximately 20 percent of horse related injuries occur on the ground and not riding.

Fact # 3 Most riding injuries occur during pleasure riding.

Fact # 4. The most common reason among riders for admission to hospital and death. are head injuries.

Fact # 5: A fall from two feet (60 cm) can cause permanent brain damage. A horse elevates a rider eight feet (three meters) or more above ground.

Fact # 6: A human skull can be shattered by an impact of 7-10 kph. Horses can gallop at 65 kph.

Fact # 7: According to the National Electronic Surveillance System 1998 the most likely ages for injury is at 5-14, and 25-44 years with each decade having about 20 percent of the injuries.

Fact # 8: A rider who has one head injury has a 40 percent chance of suffering a second head injury. Children, teens and young adults are most vulnerable to sudden death from second impact syndrome: severe brain swelling as a result of suffering a second head injury before recovery from the first head injury.

Fact # 9: Death is not the only serious outcome of unprotected head injuries. Those who survive with brain injury may suffer epilepsy, intellectual and memory impairment, and personality changes.

Fact # 10. Hospital costs for an acute head injury can be in the range of $25000 per day. Lifetime extended care costs may easily exceed $3 million. There is no funding for rehabilitation outside the medical setting.

Fact # 11: Helmets work. Most deaths from head injury can be prevented by wearing ASTM (American Society for Testing Materials), SEI (Safety Equipment Institute) approved helmets that fit correctly and have the chin strap firmly applied. Other types of helmets, including bike helmets, are inadequate.

Fact # 12: Racing organizations require helmets and as a result jockeys now suffer less head injuries than pleasure riders. The US Pony Club lowered their head injury rate 29 percent with mandatory helmet use. Britain's hospital admission rate for equestrians fell 46 percent after helmet design improved and they became in routine use.

Fact # 13: The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Medical Association through the Committee on Sports Medicine, Canadian Medical Association, and the American Medical Equestrian Association recommend that approved, fitted and secured helmets be worn on all rides by all horseback riders. From http://www.law.utexas.edu/dawson/amea/feb00nws.htm#fact

Why Not Use A Bicycle Helmet for Horseback Riding?
Why would a horseback rider choose a helmet made for another sport, rather than one which was specifically designed for riding and certified to pass the toughest riding helmet standard in the world? The argument has been made that U. S, bicycle helmets are similar to helmets made to American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard F1163 and certified by the Safety Equipment Institute (SEI). On the surface there are many similarities in testing systems an requirements. However, there are some key differences, and an educated consumer needs to consider these carefully.

ASTM/SEI helmets are made in Western and English styles, come in many colors and styles, are cooler than the "item of apparel" black hunt cap, and weigh as little as 10 1/2 ounces.

ASTM/SEI helmets cover most of the back of the rider's head, and are required to provide protection for a specific area. Without proper coverage, the helmet does not pass certification testing. "Item of apparel" helmets have liner material only at the top of the head and partly down the side (with as much as two inches of unprotected gap) and comfort foam, which offers no protection, around the sweat band area. In many cases, bicycle helmets currently on the market offer a protection area which only covers the top of the head. ASTM/SEI riding helmet manufacturers are visited periodically by a quality auditor who makes certain that all certified helmets meet the minimum standards.

Only bicycle helmets made to ASTM F1447 have this same requirement, and bicycle helmet manufacturers are not required to have SEI certification by any federation or law,

ASTM/SEI helmets must be covered by liability insurance for as long as the helmet model is in use, even after it has been replaced by a new model. Only SEI certified bicycle helmets must carry similar coverage.

ASTM/SEI helmets are made in several different shapes and a variety of sizes, so that every rider can he properly fitted. Although some models come in a range of Small, Medium and Large, if none of these fits perfectly even with the addition of the sizing pads included with the helmets, the rider still has the option to buy another model helmet for his or her specific head size. Bicycle helmets do not offer this option. The usual reasons for preferring a bicycle helmet to a riding helmet are:

My child already has a bicycle helmet, why should I buy another helmet?

It is true that you buy a bicycle helmet for $11.00 and up in a discount store. Even discounted or on sale one can seldem find an ASTM/SEI helmet for less than $40.00. So you can save $29.00 or even more by buying the bike helmet. But what have you given up in return?

Coverage area is generally not independently certified. Although the three U.S. bicycle standards show specific areas of the head which must he protected, only those made to ASTM F1447 (bicycle) and SEI Certified are tested in an outside laboratory to meet that standard. Not all manufacturers choose to have their products certified. The Snell Foundation does its own internal certification and testing of helmets made to their standard. Unfortunately there are bicycle helmets on the market which say they pass Snell, but which do not contain an official Snell sticker showing that they have actually met the basic requirements.

1. Helmets made to the ANSI bicycle standard are all "self-certified." This means that a consumer takes the manufacturer's word that the product meets the standard. Consumer Reports in 1990 checked bicycle helmets, and found that 15% or more of the self-certified helmets met no current U.S. standard. Because the organizations seriously concerned about riding safety have required in their rules that their members wear SEI certified helmets, all the helmets made to ASTM F1163 (equestrian) standards and sold in the U.S. are SEI Certified to pass all tests required in the standard.Instructors:

2. Testing with a sharp anvil surface. All three bicycle standards drop test helmets on flat, hemispherical, or curbstone anvils. The equestrian hazard anvil has a deep and sharp design, meant to approximate the angle of a horseshoe or a jump standard edge. Helmet testing for both disciplines does not allow any hazard anvil to make contact with the testing head form.
Which do you think provides a tougher test, a sharp or a rounded or curbstone flattened anvil?

3. Insurance which covers equestrian activity. All three bicycle helmets specify that they are intended for bicycle use ONLY. This disclaimer means that in the case of a defective bicycle helmet used in horseback riding you will probably not be able to sue the manufacturer with any degree of success, since his insurance will not cover a riding activity.

4. A design which will be accepted in riding competitions. Certain competitions require the use of particular types of headgear. You will not find bicycle helmets listed in horse competition rule books as recommended for riding competitions. No helmet made can protect a rider from all possible injuries in every possible accident. Most riders capable of making a sensible decision can see the value in buying "state of the art" head protection made for their particular sport, and using it "EVERY TIME ....EVERY RIDE."

Perhaps the best argument to be made for the use of an ASTM/SEI riding helmet is to ask yourself if you, or someone you care about, has an $11.00 head. The choice is yours.
Drusilla E. Malavase, 2270 County Road 39 RD 2, Bloomfield NY 14469
Jaymin Patel, International Riding Helmets, Ltd., 205 Industrial Loop, Staten Island, NY 10309 From http://www.law.utexas.edu/dawson/amea/feb96nws.htm#bike

Return to Arabian Knights Farms Home Page

Site Search