Whether you are an accomplished horse show competitor or a pleasure rider, it is important to make some final safety checks each and every time you ride. Taking the time to do these last checks protects the health of your horse and increases the safety of your ride. These checks do not take a long time, but it is important to be thorough.
Feet and Legs
Check your horse's feet and legs before every ride. If your horse has a loose shoe or a stone bruise he will be uncomfortable, and you will be unsafe. Before you mount your horse, be sure to pick up each of your horse's feet and use your hoof pick to remove any packed dirt from his hooves. Also run your hands up and down your horse's legs to make sure there are no bruises or sore spots.
Check the saddle and the saddle pad. No matter what type of saddle you use, it is important that the saddle fit the horse properly. Ensure that the saddle pad has not slipped and that the saddle fits your horse's back properly. If the saddle needs to be adjusted, take the time to remove it and put it back on.
Check the girth before mounting. Riding with a loose girth is very dangerous. Some horses puff up and retain air while you tighten the girth. When they exhale, the girth loosens. The girth should be loose enough that you can comfortably put your hand between the horse's side and the girth, but tight enough that the saddle will not slip.