Kids on Horses - Cute or Dangerous
 By Winniefield Park   •   13th Jan 2019   •   402 views   •   0 comments

I recently came across a YouTube video of a 3-year-old riding a 16.3 hh horse. And youíve probably have seen photos or video that are similar. You might have done something like this yourself. Most of us will have a couple of people spotting the little rider just outside the frame of the camera. Most of us will have some type of helmet on the child. Most will also be very careful to put their munchkin on a very quiet, bombproof horse. Itís hard not to be beguiled by these very cute pairings. But how safe is it?

The Hazards
Even with all the safety precautions in place, kids can still fall off horses. Kids fall all the time, of course, during their play. But, they donít tend to fall from the same height, or be propelled at the same speed of a moving horse.

After all, we know that a horse might be bombproof until it isnít.

For a small child, this can cause a lot of harm. Kids are top heavy. And they may not have the reaction time or balance to stay in the saddle like an experienced adult does. That means when they fall, gravity will pull the heaviest part of them, their head, towards the ground first. Even with a helmet, a head injury is entirely possible.

Big horses may mean big saddles too, and that isnít very secure for a child. Horses move big, and a child can easily be left behind, even if the horse only accelerates a little. If the stirrups arenít the right length, the child will come unbalanced even easier. A wide back, large saddle and too long stirrup flaps or straps means a small child with short legs will be perched on a horseís back, and can easily slip off.

Spinal injuries are also possible if a child comes off a tall horse - or any size horse, really. And even more injurious and potentially fatal is damage to internal organs. One experienced young rider in Britain died when her liver shattered after she fell from her horse, even though she was using all the right safety equipment, including a body protector. So if the worst happens, the higher the horse, the harder the fall.

Kids have short attention spans. So they have to be reminded often about being safe whether on them or working around them. One habit young kids have is when they get tired or bored, they may squat, kneel or sit just about anywhere. I know one kid who got her fingers stepped on while grooming a horse. They may not know, or just forget that they shouldnít get this low. A small child close to the ground can become almost invisible to a horse.

The Prevention
We know that there is no way to make horseback riding 100% safe. While the picture of the peanut on the huge horse is cute, it may be more of a hazard than many people realize. Even though ponies can be diabolical, and they are pound for pound stronger than many horses, their size makes them a bit more suitable for a small child to ride and handle. Saddles made to fit ponies are going to be smaller to fit a child too. That makes it a bit safer. Kids should also wear the right safety equipment for every ride.

Itís also easier for adults to Ďspotí a child on a pony, then trying to reach up to the height of a high horse. The one thing I donít like about kids on ponies is seeing them ridden in proximity with other horses. If a horse were to kick, the child is at a more vulnerable level to receive that kick. So the adults riding with a kid on a pony needs to be very aware of what their own horse is doing and understand that the kid wonít.

So kids on horses. What do you think? Cute and harmless, or hazard

Ref: BBC - Riding Dangers
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