Why do horse accidents happen?

Hindsight is 20/20 right?  Looking back over my horse accidents, I would say they were all preventable.  I know that isn't the case with all horse accidents but in my case, all of them were preventable.  Looking back at your accidents, are there things that if you had done them different, you would have had a different outcome.

Unexpected surprise:  A great example is the horse in the Disney parade that gets a balloon wrapped around his hind leg and panics.  This 100% could have been prevented.  The handlers were checked out, just going through the motions of leading the horse, instead of keeping their eyes open and staying focused on the horse.  If they had been aware, they would have seen the balloon.  Even if they had not seen it, they could have refocused the horse and gotten the balloon off the leg.

What to do: Stay aware, don't check out.  I love to play "I Spy" with my horse.  This keeps me engaged and makes it fun.

Comfort zone: I competed in a 4' jumper class that was beyond me.  I was so excited to be riding in the big ring, until I walked the course.  The fences were HUGE.  I knew I was not ready.  My trainer told me to do it anyway.  I froze.  Jumping big fences is not the time to freeze.  My wonderful horse did his job with a lump sitting on him.  I fell off over one of those fences.  

What to do: Don't let others push your out of your comfort zone.  You decide when you want to move out of your comfort zone. It is like deciding to run and you run a mile.  You get excited and run a marathon that weekend.  Horse riding isn't any different.  I love Warwick Schillers saying to play Donkey Kong.  You go a bit, and then start over and go a little bit further, repeat. 

Preparation: My big accident happened because I didn't have a pre-ride checklist.  I know without a doubt if I had tuned into the horse while tacking him up, I would not have gotten on.  He was in pain.  He was tense.  He had been bit by a black widow and I had no clue.  

What to do:  Develop your pre-ride checklist for you and your horse!  It is different for everyone, but just like a pilot, going around and checking the plane.  Check yourself, check your horse, check your tack.

Really think about any accidents you have had and see if you could have prevented it.  They are not all preventable but a lot of them are.  That gives us confidence!  We know we can prevent the things that happen.

Here is a link to my pre-ride checklists if you would like a copy!


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