Whether or not you should let somebody else ride your own horse is a question that invites strong opinions on both sides, even if the person asking is an experienced rider. After all, you’re in charge of your horse and you need to protect them but does that mean you shouldn’t allow somebody else to ride?
Of course, everybody is different and we all have different reasons for doing things but if you are thinking of letting somebody else ride your horse then below are nine things you need to consider.
1) Can they ride?
Surprisingly this is something that a lot of people don’t even consider when letting somebody else ride their horse but it’s something you should seriously think about beforehand. Is the person a total beginner or have they spent most of their life in the saddle? If they’re experienced riders then do you trust their ability and that they won’t push your horse too hard?
This obviously is dependent on whether you’ll be giving them pony rides (ie leading them around or putting them on a lunge) or if you’re going to let them ride free rein.
If you’re not keen on a total beginner riding your beloved horse then why not suggest some light reading? I’ve selected a few articles that are ideal for people who are learning to ride or want to learn.
2) Is your horse suitable for them?
Horses are no different from people, they all have their own personalities and temperament. Some horses are relaxed and will be happy for other people to ride them while others won’t be happy at all and will have no qualms about letting you (and more importantly the rider) know.
How does your horse feel about strangers, will they get upset with a stranger riding them or will they take it in their stride? Some horses have to be asked to do things in a particular way that other people don’t understand.
These things all need to be considered if you’re thinking about letting other people ride your horse.
3) Are you training your horse?
You may have been working with your horse for a long time, training them in a particular way but will a different rider treat them in the same way? If you only use your horse for pleasure this might not be so much of an issue but if you’re working towards a competition then this is something you should think about.
It only takes a minute to undo your horse’s training if a rider doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t listen to what you’re saying. Not being firm enough with a horse can have the same effect on their training as being too harsh with them. Are you confident the rider will respect your horse and your instruction?
4) It can be beneficial for you
Believe it or not but letting an experienced person ride your horse can actually teach you a lot about your horse and their training. You’ll be able to see how your horse moves and will easily be able to notice things such as where they need to build muscle.
If the rider isn’t experienced then it’ll help you to see whether your horse is trained sufficiently or if they need further training. I know it sounds obvious, but from the ground, you’ll have a different perspective on your horse’s training.
5) What happens if your horse gets hurt?
Nobody likes to think that their horse could get hurt but, whilst it is unlikely, it could happen, especially if the rider is experienced and wants to do more than just walk and trot. Could you cover the vet bills or do you have insurance, what would happen if your horse was out of action for a while?
6) Do you have insurance?
You might not think you need to have insurance but in some areas, you’re legally required to have insurance that will cover you if the rider (or anybody else) gets hurt. Even if your horse is 100% bombproof and trustworthy they’re still living creatures with their own minds and things can (and will) go wrong.
You should also ask the rider to sign a liability release stating that they’re responsible for what happens when they’re riding. If you let somebody ride your horse without one and they get hurt you could find yourself with a lot of legal action and possibly a lawsuit. Sadly some people are only too willing to seek compensation even if they caused the problem.
Want to know more about horse insurance? The ultimate guide to insurance.
7) Does the barn allow it?
When I was younger I let one of my friends ride my pony without thinking to ask the barn owner if it was okay to do so, after all, it was my pony. The owner found out and I was in a lot of trouble.
Some barn owners have strict rules about who can ride on their property, regardless of who owns the horse so it’s always better to ask beforehand.
8) Are you happy with them riding your horse?
Once you’ve taken everything above into account it’s time to think about whether or not you really want somebody else riding your beloved horse. It’s your horse and your decision so you shouldn’t feel pressured into letting somebody ride if you don’t want them to.
9) Agree on how, when, and where
Okay so you’ve decided that you’re happy to let somebody else ride your horse, you now need to think about how, when, and where.
Are you going to lead them around or are you going to let them ride free rein? Do you want to be there when they ride or are you happy to let them ride on their own when you’re not around?
Will you let them have a one-off ride or will they be riding every week/month etc? Agreeing on a schedule beforehand will make sure everybody knows when they can ride. After all, you don’t want to turn up to ride your horse only to find out the other person is already riding them.
Would you prefer them to only ride in an arena or are you happy for them to venture further afield? Are you happy for the other rider to haul your horse to another location to ride, or would you prefer them to stay in the immediate vicinity?
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did I’d be grateful if you could share it please as it would really help me.
Over the years I have tried hundreds of different horsey products, from various blankets and halters to different treats. Some I’ve loved, others I’ve hated but I thought I’d share with you my top all-time favorite products, the ones I never leave the yard without. I’ve included links to the products (which are in no particular order) that I really think are great.
- Horse Knots by Reference Ready – If you’re like me and enjoy pocket reference guides then you’ll love this knot tying guide. These handy cards can easily fit in your pocket or attach to the saddle for quick reference. They’re waterproof, durable and are color coded to make them easy to follow.
- Mane ’n Tail Detangler – Even if you never show your horse you’ll need to detangle his tail from time to time (and possibly his mane too) which is always a challenging chore! I’ve found that if I run a little bit of detangler through my horse’s tails every few days it stops them from getting matted up and makes combing them easy, even if they’re coated in mud. I don’t know if I should admit to this or not but it also works wonders on my hair.
- TAKEKIT Pro clippers – Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different clippers and while some were obviously better than others I found these to be by far the best. They are heavier than a lot of other clippers but for me, that’s a good thing, it makes them feel more sturdy and hardwearing. On top of that they have a range of speeds so are just as good for clipping your horse’s back as they are his face. I also like the fact that they come in a handy carry case but that’s not for everybody. The company that makes them is super good and incredibly helpful too, a real bonus these days. The only thing I wasn’t keen on was the fact that it doesn’t come with any oil, but that’s not a major problem as it’s not difficult to buy lubricant.
- Shire’s ball feeder – There are so many boredom buster toys out there but I like to use these every day, regardless of whether or not my horses are bored. I find that it helps to encourage my horses to problem solve by rewarding them with treats (or pieces of fruit) but it also mimics their natural grazing behavior which helps to keep them calm and de-stressed.
- Horse safe mirror – This is a strange one that many people are surprised about but I like to put horse safe mirrors in the trailers as well as in the quarantine stalls. It helps to prevent the feeling of isolation by giving the impression of other horses being around. Being herd animals horses can get extremely stressed when they feel that they’re on their own but with these stick-on mirrors, they believe that at least one other horse is with them.
- Rectal thermometer – I know this isn’t glamourous at all but it’s vital for your horse’s well-being to be able to check their temperature and a rectal thermometer is the easiest way of doing this which is why I’ve added it to the list.
I’ve also put together a few shopping lists of essential items that I’ve found helpful over the years. I’ve broken the lists down into different categories rather than put everything in one massive list 😉