Born from a relationship that stemmed out of necessity, the link between horse and man has evolved throughout history to a point where horses are no longer just work animals but valuable companions, as well. However, despite the popularity of horseback riding, it's crucial to consider both the safety of the rider and the horse before jumping in. According to Think First, 80% of horse-related injuries happen while the rider is still in the saddle, and most of the time the injured party has been riding for at least five years. Riding safely not only involves picking out the right safety gear, but also knowing how to interpret horse behavior correctly. When selecting a horse, the experience level of both the rider and horse play an important role. In addition to rider safety the physical, mental, and psychological health of the horse should always be a priority. This includes things like knowing how to put together a nutritionally balanced diet for your horse and how to obtain proper medical care when necessary.
Horse Health and Care Publications and Websites
- Healthy Equine Parturition (PDF) - Get prepared for foaling season by learning about what you can expect from a healthy mare and how to recognize normal foal behavior.
- Introduction to Horse Health (PDF) - Become familiar with the basic signs of a healthy horse, including what to look for in their appearance, behavior and vital signs.
- Keeping Horses Healthy During Drought - Read through a brief checklist that summarizes how to keep horses of all ages healthy through a period of drought.
- Common Equine Diseases (PDF) - Keep your horse healthy by familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of common horse diseases.
- Equine Maintenance and Health Evaluation for Horse Owners (PDF) - Prevent common equine diseases and health problems by learning how to evaluate your horse using this comprehensive picture guide.
- Basic Horse Health and Well-Being (PDF) - Learn about the importance of keeping horses physically, emotionally, and psychologically healthy.
- Indications of Horse Health (PDF) - Keep this brief checklist on hand that covers normal temperature, Body Condition Score, appetite, movement and behavior in situations that require evaluating equine health.
- Basic Equine Nutrition for Horse Owners - Find out what it takes to maintain a healthy diet for your horse that meets the recommended amounts of fat, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins.
- Equine Zoonotic Diseases (PDF) - Learn how to recognize illnesses that can be transmitted from horse to rider, including both bacterial and viral diseases.
- Control and Prevention of Common Equine Diseases (PDF) - Discover how to recognize the warning signs of common illnesses, like fever and influenza.
- Equine Hoof Problems - Keep your horse's hoofs healthy by learning how to indentify common problems, like cracks and thrush.
- Introduction to Aging Horse Care - Learn the basics of keeping older horses healthy, including how to meet their changing nutritional needs.
- Equine Nutrition and Sugar - Find out how sugar impacts a horse's health, and why high sugar feeds should be avoided.
- Equine Health - Stay up to date on industry standard horse care with this publication that publishes monthly magazine issues.
- Equine Cancer Society - Read inspiring stories and get support for horses of all ages battling cancer.
Horse Breed Information Publications and Websites
Competition and Horseback Riding Publications and Websites
- Basic Horse Handling (PDF) - Familiarize yourself with basic equine behavior and senses to make riding an enjoyable experience for both horse and rider.
- Origins of Basic Tack Equipment - Find out where common pieces of equipment, like mouthpieces and saddles, originated from.
- How to Choose a Riding Horse - Learn how to select a horse for horseback riding based on conformation, age, and disposition.
- Falling Off Your Horse - Read through an explanation that details how to safely fall off a horse without getting caught in the saddle or crushing your legs in the process.
- Introduction to Horseback Riding (PDF) - Become acquainted with the proper way to mount and dismount a horse, handle riding on roads, and learn how to ride safely during the night.
- Equine Riding Resources - Browse through a comprehensive list of articles that detail the many aspects of horseback riding, including equine communication, overcoming fear, coordination, and learning how to change directions while riding.
- Recreational Horseback Riding - Check out a list of safety tips and guidelines for horseback riding on federal recreation land, including resources for finding a suitable place to ride for all experience levels.
- United States Equestrian Federation - Learn more about competitive equestrian sports, recognized national breeds, and read one of the leading horse magazines, Equestrian Magazine.
- Importance of Equestrian Safety (PDF) - Check out a compilation of statistics that detail why it's so important to put safety first when riding horses.
- Transporting Horses - Learn more about the requirements for transporting horses while traveling or competing from the British Horse Society.
Equestrian Publications and Websites for Kids
Written by Sharon Rogers
- Young Rider - Learn valuable equestrian care tips and other cool information about horses in this monthly magazine dedicated to youth riders.
- Horsemanship Articles for Kids - Read inspiring stories about young horse riders that have achieved their goals through horsemanship in these articles published by Western Horseman, a popular equestrian magazine.
- Benefits of Youth Horseback Riding - Discover why riding a horse with safety in mind is a great way to be outdoors and get exercise at the same time!
- Horses for Heroes Youth Program - Have fun learning about horsemanship at one of the programs or events specifically geared toward kids.
- 4-H Horse Farm - Explore what it takes to raise a healthy, happy horse with this list of interactive horse games.
- Equine Books for Children (PDF) - Find new books to read by using this list of fictional and nonfictional chapter books about horses.
- Horse Adoption - Have fun adopting and caring for your own virtual horse!
- Blaze Kids - Read short stories, play games and learn more about different horse breeds.
- Michigan 4-H Equestrians Program - Learn about horse showmanship, equestrian care, and many other horse-related activities.
- Learning to Ride a Horse - Become familiar with basic horsemanship with this article specifically geared toward youth riders.