Horse riding is generally safe

Horse riding has its risks. However, accidents can easily be prevented ("Inquiry into woman's death after horse fell on her"; Tuesday).

Joy rides for people with no horse-riding experience are being offered at many places, both locally and in other countries.

As the horse is led by a handler while the rider sits on the saddle, the exercise is viewed as relatively safe.

Also, the horse would be trotting along slowly and not galloping at breakneck speed.

Horses can become agitated for various reasons, including the following:

• A horse is a living creature and would be fatigued when made to work long hours without a break or food and water.

• Horses are said to be able to sense the anxiety and inexperience of the rider and would subsequently ignore instructions given to it.

• Hitting a horse on its rear is almost certain to stress and provoke the animal and may cause it to rear.

In addition, an inadequately trained horse or one with a bad temperament is more likely to be dangerous to ride.

Horse riding is known to be a therapeutic form of exercise, and even people with varying degrees of physical disabilities have been able to train with them.

Horse riding is enjoyed by many people around the world; it would be a shame if a pall were cast over the sport as a result of the accident here.

Perhaps, a pre-ride safety briefing should be carried out.

Handlers should also always be on the lookout for potential stress in the horses and ensure the animals have enough rest. Then, horse riding would be truly fun.

Lee Kay Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 30, 2016, with the headline 'Horse riding is generally safe'. Print Edition | Subscribe