Sunday, August 9, 2009

Safety Assessment: Looking Beyond the Helmet

How safe are we - me, Red, and Lyra?

White Horse Pilgrim's comment to my thoughts on helmets inspired me to reassess my practices that contribute to my own safety and that of my horses. I actually think about this a lot, but have never done a thorough analysis.

While considering the scope of a safety assessment, I tried to break down my activities into different catetories and came up with "on the ground" and "on the horse". Here is the breakdown (as of today).

On the Ground
Entering the horse's space
Sharing space
Medical Necessities
Tacking Up
Ground Work
The Trail

On the Horse
My Riding Skills

To help with the process, I did a google search for equestrian saftey analysis. Fortunately I don't have to reinvent the wheel as I hit the jack pot with the Pennsylvania State University: College of Agricultural Sciences
4-H Horse Program Horsemanship Safety Program. This site offers some outstanding tools to review your safety practices in regards to equines. There is a self-assessment tool called the Pennsylvania 4-H Horse Safety Checklist, a 24 page process covering barn fire safety, facilities, pasture, tack/attire, ground handling, saddling/bridling, and riding. EXACTLY what I was looking for. I'm downloading the document and will so the self-evaluation over the next few days.

Another resource from the Penn State 4-H Horsemanship Saftey Program is the
4-H Horse Safety Standards, which describes recommended practices and is designed to accompany the self-assessment tool.

Thank you White Horse Pilgrim, for pointing my attention beyond my essential
"hoary old chestnut", the use of riding helmets, to a more comprehensive consideration of the safety of my equestrian practices!

In considering safety I know that both Red and Lyra need continued training when it comes to calmly dealing with surprises and not spooking. Red has made awesome progress, Lyra needs much work. Here are some sites I found very informative:

Teaching Your Horse to Spook in Place


Meet the Monsters

KBR Horse Net: Horse Training Info


Cheryl Ann said...

Hey, I'll be a newbie rider myself shortly! Any suggestions as to the kind of helmet I will need? I have NO IDEA what to get! And, how does one measure one's head???

allhorsestuff said...

Thanks for all your wonderful writings on safety in and out of the saddle. You are wise and I appreciate the safety tips. Although some't know how to even to describe what I read at GHM last year. So sorry that you too, have a hearty Diatribe.
It's a Helmet for goodness sakes!
I have the same one you do, by the by. I like the detachable shade band.
Be well and keep up the good work~