Yay or Neigh? Find travel insurance for horse riding
Horse riding down the plains of Salta in Argentina or trekking across the Koh Samui jungle on an elephant are travel experiences like no other. Before you buckle up and ride the beast, make sure you have travel insurance that covers you for emergency medical expenses in case anything goes wrong.
What conditions must you follow to get cover for horse riding?
Conditions that you must follow include:
- Taking reasonable care
- Taking out an additional sports pack if riding is not included automatically
- Riding purely for recreational purposes and not competing in a professional context
- Not doing any polo, jumping or hunting when horse riding
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- Riding under supervision from a licensed provider
- Obeying all instructions given regarding your ride
- Wearing the required safety gear such as a helmet and riding outfit
- Not behaving in a reckless manner or intentionally harming yourself or others.
Is horse riding safe?
Horse riding is by nature a risky sport. A horse can weigh as much as 680kg, travel as fast as 50kph and stand as tall as 3 metres high. As well, horses are nervous animals that can be easily spooked, making them highly unpredictable.
The main risks of horse riding
- Falling off. This can happen to riders who don't learn basic riding skills e.g. stopping.
- Being kicked. This can happen when riders walk behind horses, who are ultra sensitive creatures.
- Losing control. An inexperienced rider can lose control of a flighty horse and be thrown off, dragged along behind or injured against trees and other obstacles.
The most common types of horse riding injuries are
- Soft tissue bruises and sprains. Commonly as a result of taking the pressure of falls on ligaments e.g. the ankle.
- Broken bones. Commonly fractures of the bone caused by severe falls.
- Shoulder dislocations. Commonly a result of attempting to break falls with ones arm and putting pressure on the shoulder.
- Concussions. A result of taking impact on the head from falls.
If you or your travelling companion are injured while horse riding:
Follow these steps
- Seek medical attention immediately. If you're the one who is injured, someone who is supervising you or your travelling companion will attend to this. Most licensed supervisor's will be trained to critically assess you and help you get the right treatment if you're injured .
- Get in touch with your travel insurance provider. If you're unable to do this yourself, have someone contact them on your behalf. Your insurer can help you find hospitals overseas and even help you guarantee emergency medical costs up-front e.g. with ambulances and emergency surgeries.
- Compile all medical documents and incident reports. This will help you make a claim for any medical costs or for the cost of additional travel arrangements that come out of your own pocket. Remember to get the insurance details of the licensed horse riding provider too.
- Make a claim. Fill out and submit a claim form from your insurance provider along with any necessary documents.
Ten popular horse riding destinations
Popular horse riding destinations around the world include;
1. Valle de Bravo, Mexico
A trail that circles the beautiful azure lake of Valle de Bravo.
2. Masai Mara, Kenya
Galloping on polo ponies through a landscape populated by African wildlife.
3. Loire Valley, France
A horseback tour through the historical Loire Valley, staying overnight in real French castles. Read the travel insurance guide for France.
4. Tuscany, Italy
Riding through idyllic landscapes on fine Tuscan horses and enjoying the best of Italy’s food and wine. Read the travel insurance guide for Italy.
5. Quebec, Canada
The Inn to Inn Ride, which takes in magnificent scenery and includes stays in historical inns along the way. Read the travel insurance guide for Canada.
6. Jerez and Seville, Spain
A visit to a riding school in Andalusia and the world famous Royal Riding School in Jerez. Read the travel insurance guide for Spain.
7. Rajasthan, India
The Palace to Palace Ride, which travels between two ancient Indian palaces on endurance horses. Read the travel insurance guide for India.
8. Cappadocia, Turkey
A ride through the historically rich region of Cappadocia over rugged terrain and through historical villages. Read the travel insurance guide for Europe.
8. The Andes, Peru
A breath-taking ride from Cusco to Machu Picchu, surrounded by the sheer rugged beauty of the Andes. Read the travel insurance guide for South America.
10. Estancia, Argentina
A visit to an Argentinian ranch, where you can ride with gauchos and see their famed horsemanship in action.
If you visit a desert region of the world, you may have the opportunity to go camel riding. Similarly, elephant riding is accessible in some exotic parts of the world such as Thailand and India.
As with horse riding, there are conditions
Most insurers will cover you for camel and elephant riding, but the same provisos apply as with horse riding. This means you must only ride recreationally and under supervision (not professionally or racing), you must take normal safety precautions and must not take unnecessary risks such as riding recklessly or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Safety checklist for horse riding and animal riding
In light of the injuries a horse riding mishap can cause, the following are some ways you can minimise your risk:
- Wear a helmet or hard hat and appropriate clothing, including breeches and boots.
- Don’t ride above your level of experience. In other words, if it is your first time on a horse, don’t choose a young, spirited horse.
- Don’t ride too fast on dangerous terrain where hidden potholes or obstacles could bring down your horse.
- Check cinches regularly to ensure they are still tight around the horse, as they can loosen over time.
- Don’t stand behind a horse, particularly in a pen, as it can kick you faster than you can move away.
- Make sure you are fit enough to ride, as any injuries such as falls can be worse if you are out of shape.
- Make sure you only ride with qualified instructors and ride leaders.
- If you are an inexperienced rider, make sure someone is holding the horse when you mount and dismount, preferably using a mounting block.