What are some safety "musts"?
Obviously eventing is a dangerous pursuit and we must take every precaution to keep ourselves and our horses safe. One thing that I see often is rider’s riding in stirrups that are too small for them and this could be very dangerous if they had a fall as they could get dragged. My advice to riders who have a fear of this or have problems keeping the weight in their heels so their foot doesn’t go all the way through their stirrup is to use “TOE STOPPERS”. They are what I use when I jump all my horses. They go on the stirrup and balance the foot. I love them and would recommend them to anyone.(look at my jumping
photos and you will see them) some of my clients also use them while riding dressage
Another bit of safety advice is to learn to ride in a safety seat while going down hill and riding drop fences and water. It’s the position where you have your shoulders behind your hips and your lower leg forward with your heels really pushed down. You also let your reins slip a little as the horse jumps down. This way you will NOT feel like you’re going to “go over the handle bars” and this will make you feel a lot more confident. Just look at some photos of myself as I really use the safety seat. It may look a little old fashioned, but it works and is SAFE.
Make sure your hat fits and you have the strap under your chin done up securely. I see a lot of the cheaper helmets that have a complicated harness looking very loose on lots of riders and it really worries me so please make sure your helmet is done up properly.
To help keep your horse safe when you tie it up at the float, please tie it up a bit shorter as you don’t want the horse getting the rope under the mud guard and then pulling back. And if you are thinking “but my horse needs to be able to reach his water “ then just make sure you offer it to him regularly and even if you did leave him with a bucket he normally tips it over....right?!
Some people have loads of them, however, I just have a couple.
Number one, I never use brand new tack at an event (new white saddle cloths and bandages are ok though). Even new cross country boots, I always like to use them at home on the horse that will use them at the event as they might not rub one horse but rub another. I’m very aware of the gloves that I use on cross country
and I always use the same type of gloves. If I change the brand then I would make sure to use them in the dry and even wet them to see how they would perform if I got rained on on course to make sure they have the same grip under any conditions.
I have no favourite undies or socks, but I have had the same cross country top since I was 11 years old!! It is a little thinner and I am a bit bigger these days so you could say that I’m superstitious about that.