Posted by: rstor | March 20, 2015

Five ways to reduce the risk factors for accidents; with RS-tor Rider Michaela Huntington!

RS-tor advocate Michaela Huntington shares some tips to stay safe in the saddle- read her top tips below!

  1. Choosing to wear a correctly-fitting riding hat is a life-changing decision. It’s estimated that around two thirds of patients seen by air ambulance teams in rural areas that have had incidents involving horses are suspected of having a spinal or head injury.
  2. Choose a body protector if you ride over fences. Eventing is considered to be one of the most hazardous equestrian disciplines; lumbar and thoracic back injuries are the most common injuries, so always protect your back with a body protector when riding over fences. (Body protectors are a requirement in the XC phase of eventing, but optional in disciplines including including show jumping, horse driving trials, showing, endurance, polo and dressage.) Choose a body protector with the European safety standard EN 13158:2009. Many riders also wear an air jacket over their body protector, and this combination offers the most comprehensive proprietary safety protection available.
  3. Be safe on the roads. Horse riding is potentially 20 times more dangerous than motor cycling, and riding on the road can be a dangerous activity; factors such as road usage, visibility and traffic types are all risk factors for accidents. Be safe and be seen, and embrace the trend for fluorescent tabards, rugs and accessories – wearing a high-viz item is said to dramatically improve drivers’ braking responses by three seconds, on average. This undoubtedly reduces the risk factor for falls.
  4. Choose a riding safety aid. The RS-tor was designed to develop rider balance and help prevent falls, or allow the rider to fall in a more controlled manner. Donna Sharman is a fan; “I have a Welsh mare on loan; when I was thinking of taking her on several people warned me off her because she was so spooky. I use the RS-Tor for hacking and it’s been a huge help when pheasants decide to spring out in front of us!”
  5. Develop balance. Two main elements aid equilibrium; good core balance, and whole-body balance, the latter gained through co-ordinated muscle strength. Ask your instructor to help develop a flatwork programme that includes work without stirrups; this will aid strength in the key seat and leg muscles, allowing you to respond quickly to changes in balance. (Many riders make the mistake of simply working on the core muscles, but ‘whole-body balance’ is equally important, and can really improve riding effectiveness and security).

Happy Riding everyone!

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