The Icelandic horse gives Icelanders and foreign guests immense pleasure, both as a source of recreation and as a way to enjoy nature in Iceland.
There are multiple hazards in horse riding and it is imperative to maintain the highest safety standards. The first thing people can do is choose a horse that is well-suited for their ability, as this can prevent accidents from occurring.
A horse and rider act as one unit, and if the horse is well trained its reactions should be rather predictable. The rider needs to understand what messages his or her behaviour and the environment send to the horse and should likewise be aware of what messages the horse sends.
Keep the following in mind:
- Horses that are prone to striking out, biting or exhibiting any other dangerous behaviour must be tagged so that others know to be extra cautious around them.
- Safety equipment needs to conform to CE quality standards with basic requirements regarding safety issues for each relevant group of products.
- A riding helmet is standard equipment for a mounted rider and for dealing with dangerous horses. It protects against head injury.
- It’s absolutely essential that children wear adequate helmets that are properly adjusted and comfortable.
- A helmet that has suffered an impact is no longer safe and should not be used.
- A safety vest gives protection against trauma to the back and rib cage. Vests reduce the effect of impact by spreading the force over a greater area. This decreases the risk of ribs, collarbone, or vertebrae breaking with a fall, as well as that of a spinal cord injury.
- Safety stirrups are designed to prevent the rider from getting stuck in the stirrups in the event that he or she falls off the horse’s back and is dragged.
- Reflectors and lights are necessary so that others on the road can see the horse and rider in twilight or darkness.
- Saddles should be fit for both the rider and the horse. Examine the condition of the saddle well. Be sure that the leather is soft and strong. Remove saddles that are cracked, dry and worn down. Verify that the saddle works well and is fit for the horse that it is intended for, is adjusted and correctly used.