Safety First for Your Horse Program

The following information was written by Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor Christy Landwehr. Please visit to find out more about horsemanship safety.

Below are things to think about before, during, and after you ride your horse.

  1. Make sure to wear an ASTM-SEI-approved riding helmet—not a bike or ski helmet—and that you have it fitted correctly. You can visit YouTube,, or the CHA website to see many safety videos about horses produced by CHA. One shows how to fit a riding helmet.
  2. Wear your boots when you groom, tack, and ride your horse. This keeps your toes safe and your feet from going through the stirrups when you ride.
  3. Wear pants! Shorts can cause all kinds of sores on your legs. Plus you’ll want that extra protection if you trail ride through brush.
  4. Wear your gloves while you lead, groom, and ride your horse. These will keep you from getting any blisters or burns, and you get a better grip.
  5. Make sure not to duck under the lead rope or in front of your horse if he is in cross ties. This can get you hurt if the horse comes forward on top of you.
  6. Lead the bridled horse with the reins over his/her head and with them in a figure-eight and not wrapped around your hand.
  7. Put up the irons on an English saddle when your horse is not being ridden so that he/she cannot get a hind leg caught in them or so the stirrups do not get stuck on a fence as you lead your horse by.
  8. Dismount by sliding down on your right hip facing the head of your horse and not by facing the saddle. You could get your shirt caught on the saddle horn or scrape your saddle leather with your belt buckle or jeans button.
  9. Feed your horse treats out of a bucket. Feeding by hand can get you nipped and also teaches your horse to disrespect you and try to push you for treats even when you don’t have any.
  10. If your horse pulls back while tied, don’t try to stop him! Just move away from him until the lead rope or halter breaks or until he stops pulling. Then you can go and untie him afterwards. If you have a horse that pulls in your lesson program, think about just wrapping the lead rope to tie him if you have your students groom and saddle.