My daughter takes riding lessons at a local farm. I do not normally take her myself – the babysitter does. I received a call from the babysitter saying that since she had forgotten to change my daughter into her riding boots, that she would not be allowed to ride that day. There was no time to go home and get the boots. My daughter was super disappointed and I don't see what the big deal would have been for her to ride in her sneakers just once. Any thoughts?
Dear Lesson Mom,
I'm sorry to hear that your daughter had to miss her riding lesson. I'm sure she was disappointed. Your trainer did the right thing by not letting her ride, though. Riding without boots is a safety issue.
Riding in shoes that are flat on the bottom, with no heel, can be slippery. It is very dangerous for a rider's feet to slide all the way through the stirrups. We do not want our feet to get entangled in the event that something happens and we fall off. If we fall off, we want to drop to the ground, not be drug besides the horse (that's scary stuff right there). The heel of the boot keeps your foot from going all the way through and allowing this to happen.
Wearing riding boots also make it much easier to keep your foot in the proper position in the stirrup, which is to have the stirrup on the ball of your foot, with your heel down.
Besides the safety factor involved with riding without boots, it also isn't safe to work on the ground with horses without boots. Having your foot stepped on by a horse hurts bad enough with boots on! Let alone, in sneakers or god-forbid flip-flops or sandals. Unfortunately, like falling off, getting our feet stepped on by horses is pretty inevitable. With this in mind, it is just another great reason to remember to wear boots!
I know your daughter was disappointed to miss her weekly ride, but her trainer was really looking out for her safety. We want all of our riders to be safe and proper attire is part of that.
We don't want to take any chance of one of our students getting hurt. Not to mention in the litigious society we live in, we have to adhere tightly to any policy that involves safety.
I bet she won't forget her boots again!