10 Ways to Mitigate Risks with Horses

Keep your horses, your family, and yourself safe with these tips.

Whether you have one horse or several, horse ownership comes with a unique set of risks—both at home and beyond. Following these tips can help you keep those risks at bay.

1. Keep fencing secure.

Horses are prone to wander, or even run when spooked, so regularly inspect your perimeter to make sure it’s intact and secure. In an ideal scenario, there should be a single gate for your horse to access the “outside world.”

2. Store mowers and other machinery away from horses.

When a horse is spooked, it can easily become hurt by running into a mower or other piece of farm equipment. Always keep your machinery stored in a separate shed or separate fenced area.

3. Keep the stable neat and tidy.

A cluttered stable is an invitation to accidents—to both people and horses. Be sure to keep stables as sparsely furnished as possible, and always place tools, tack trunks, saddle racks, and other items in an area where a horse can’t access them. 

4. Keep the grounds cleared of brush and grasses.

In the event of a fire, excess brush or grass around the barn or building could accelerate flames. It’s best to always keep brush and grasses completely cleared around the area or to a bare minimum.  

5. Inspect your horse trailer prior to each use.

In most cases, horse trailers aren’t used very frequently, so it’s important to check for things like dry rot in the tires, low air pressure in the tires, or any brake line deterioration. The best way to prevent a trailer malfunction that could injure the horse as well as people is to always inspect the trailer before using it.

6. Make sure your horse trailer has plenty of ventilation.

When you’re transporting horses, it’s important to ensure that they have plenty of fresh air, so keep your trailer as open as possible to allow airflow. Without enough ventilation, horses can overheat or die from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

7. Replace your helmet after a fall.

Helmets are specially designed to absorb shock if the rider falls from the horse. However, once a fall has occurred and the helmet has absorbed any of the impact, it must be replaced in order to provide full protection the next time a fall happens.

8. Check your tack before every ride.

Tack failure can be deadly. For example, a cinch that gives way during a barrel run can leave the rider without control or stability—resulting in a dangerous fall. To prevent this from happening on any ride, always examine key places on your tack, such as the attachment points of cinch rings or billets, stirrup stitching, and anywhere that metal meets leather. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or peeling, and replace any of these pieces immediately.

9. Make sure you’re protected with the right insurance coverage.

While horses give their owners an incredible amount of pleasure, they also add a significant amount of liability. Make sure you have the right amount and type of insurance coverage to protect yourself, your loved ones and any other riders on your property or on your horses.

10. Understand the additional risks associated with boarding horses for others.

Your insurance professional can also guide you through the additional liability risks inherent to boarding situations. Anytime other horses and/or their owners are on your property, you bear the liability of any accident or malfunction on your property. It’s important to make sure you have the proper coverage to protect yourself against these risks.

The content above is not intended to be prescriptive; caring for horses remains the responsibility of the client.

Insurance products and services offered through McGriff Insurance Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Truist Insurance Holdings, Inc., are not a deposit, not FDIC insured, not guaranteed by a bank, not insured by any federal government agency and may go down in value.

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