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Stay Safe!

Outrides are amazing and can open a whole new world to you and your horse but they are also dangerous. We all know that by its very nature horse riding is an extreme sport BUT...there is a lot we can do to make it safer.  You may also have heard of the 5 P's - Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance and this is as true for horse riding as it is for anything else.  Please always wear your helmet, experienced riders are just as prone to head injuries as inexperienced riders.

 If you and your horse are both new to outrides then you will both need some experience in a way that will benefit you both. Set yourselves up for success and you are more likely to achieve it!  It would be a good idea to pick two confident horses that your horse is comfortable with and choose a short outride route with their experienced riders. Stay on foot and walk next to your horse for your first adventure, make your first outride an out walk!  During this time you will be able to access your horse's level of anxiety from a safe position and be close enough to home to turn around. If it all went well and your horse was happy and confident then you will feel ready to hop on board and ride the next one. Keep your first outrides to a walk until your horse knows the routes and his confidence builds.  Remember to choose who you ride with according to your experience level, as the size of your group increases so does the range of opinions and abilities. Drastic diversity can be dangerous. If the size of your group is too large, consider breaking into two groups.  Respect the space of the horse in front of you, any horse can kick. Do not allow your horse to fall back behind the group, it often causes anxiety for them and they are likely to increase their speed to catch up which often upsets the horses in front of them.  Stick together with a safe following distance and try to keep the same pace.

It is a mistake to let your horse canter or gallop when they are close to home, you will create a pattern which can result in instant chaos the moment you head for home. If you go for a nice long canter choose a long hill that you know if free of any dangerous holes and which is still some distance from home and let them tire themselves out a bit on that.  If you have allowed your horse a canter or gallop do not hang on its mouth, you are likely to cause bad behavior! Let them have their fun and ask your lead rider to stop at the top, balance yourself on your horse's mane if you need to.