The 14 *Essential* Safety Rules to Follow Around Horses

Last Updated on February 28, 2022 by Allison Price

These important horseback riding and handling tips will keep you safe at the barn and in the saddle. These guidelines are important for all ages, but they are especially crucial for children and novice riders.

These are the basics of riding and handling horses. These rules are second nature for experienced horsemen and they are particularly important for young riders and novices.

These 14 rules will help you stay safe around horses.

Safety Rules to Follow Around Horses

1. Approaching, catching. Talk to horses before approaching them. This will avoid his startle reflex. To avoid his blind spots, approach from the side. With a firm, but gentle touch, gently stroke his neck or shoulder.

You should be cautious when you enter a paddock or pasture with horses. They can inadvertently step on you or jostle your feet.

Don’t feed horses grain or any other food. This will only encourage them to crowd around your horse and could lead to a fight.

2. Lead. Never grasp the halter with your hands if you want to lead the horse.

Do not coil the end of your lead rope around your wrist, where the loops might tighten. Instead, fold it backwards and grab the middle.

Avoid being pulled over or dragged by a horse’s lead rope or other line around your body.

Do not allow your horse to touch the nose of an unknown horse. This could cause them to bite or strike each other. This applies even if you’re riding.

This 8-foot braided soft poly lead rope is great for style and comfort.

3. Tying. A horse should be tied “eye high but no longer than your arms,” which means the tie knot should not be higher than the horse’s eyes and the distance between the knot and the halter shouldn’t exceed your arm.

Use a quick-release or breakaway knot to secure the object. When you tie the knot, keep your fingers clear of the loops. Never use bridle reins, but only a halter or lead to tie the knot.

This is a great product! Horse safety: Tie blocker

4. Grooming. When grooming a horse’s head, or brushing or braiding its tail, it is best to stand near his shoulder or close to his hindquarters.

You can walk behind horses by either going close enough to touch him (where a kick wouldn’t have any real force) or moving far enough away that you are out of his reach to kick.

Do not duck under the tie rope. This could cause the horse’s to pull back and leave you extremely vulnerable to injury.

Horses can be very careless when they step. After cleaning a horse’s feet, ensure your foot is not in the hoof spot.

Never kneel or lie down when tending to a horse’s lower leg or hoof (as with applying a bandage). Keep your feet on the ground and squat so that you can jump in case he starts to move.

Before blanketing horses, secure the chest straps, followed by the girth strap and then the hind-legs straps. Unfasten the straps in reverse order when you take off the blanket. This prevents the blanket from slipping down and becoming entangled with horses’ hind legs.

This is a great tool! Weaver grooming kits are available for all your horse-grooming needs.

5. You should never trailer your horse.

After a horse has been loaded into the trailer, close the ramp or back door before you attach him to the trailer tie. Untie the horse prior to unloading the trailer. This will prevent him from pulling back on his own or hitting the end of the rope.

This is a great idea! Tough-1 trailer tie.

You and your horse will be safe in the trailer

6. Turning loose. Always turn your horse’s head toward the gate before you step through the gate.

7. To avoid accidental nipping, give carrot or apple chunks to your horse. Even better, especially for greedy horses and ponies, is to put the treats in a bucket first before you give them.

These are great! Manna Pro Apple flavored bite-size treats.

Safety in the Saddle

8. Supervision. Children and beginners should be supervised until they have mastered the art of riding. Cattle work and jumping should always be monitored.

9. Safety gear. Proper footwear, such as boots or shoes with hard toes, and a heel, is essential. Children should also have a helmet that fits properly and meets current safety standards. The Safety Equipment Institute (SEI), certifies helmets that comply with or exceed the American Society for Testing & Materials standard for equestrian helmets. Only use helmets that bear the ASTM/SEI marking.

This is what you should do! Troxel spirit riding helmet that complies with all standards for headgear.

It is a great idea to wear a helmet when riding.

Nichole Chirico

Safety or breakaway stirrups are designed to allow the foot to fall easily. A safety vest is also recommended for cross-country jumpers.

This is a great idea! Safety stirrups Tough-1EZ Out for adult and youth riders.

10. You must tack up. You and your child should follow the basic rules for proper bridling.

Inspect your equipment regularly for wear signs that could lead to a rein, stirrup or other important part to be broken.

11. Preparing a new mount. An experienced person will “take off” the edge of a horse and make it less likely that he’ll behave when ridden. Remember that excess energy can be caused by overfeeding, lack exercise, or both.

This is what you should do! Weaver longeline cotton.

12. Mounting .Never mount if there is low overhead clearances.

Use proper technique. A trainer or instructor can help you. Keep your hands on the reins while you ride.

For mounting, a child’s pony or horse should be halted or held by an adult until they are securely in the saddle.

This is a great idea! Mounting block in two steps

13. Attention is key. It’s important to pay attention. Children especially can have fun, but they must not become distracted or careless.

14. Trail riding is for children and novices. A trainer will teach them how to ride safely on the trails.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!