Insurance or lack of it is a big issue at the moment for many horse riding activities so if you’re lucky enough to be covered, it may pay to check what activities you’re covered for.
You may also like to check if there are any exclusions such as no coverage when you don’t use a bridle (most likely on public roads) or wear a currently approved safety helmet.
If you belong to an organisation such as ATHRA (Australian Trail Horse Riding Association), the EFA, The Driving Society or The Arabian Horse Society to name a few, your membership may cover you outside the events they organise but it would be wise to find out exactly what you are covered for before assuming you will be covered for everything or in every situation.
Some organisations will only cover you if you wear an approved safety helmet while riding, some may only cover for third party property damage and some may not cover you if you don’t use a bridle when riding on a public road.
If you are required to wear a helmet, then it must have the current safety standard approval. These helmet ratings are usually updated every 2 or 3 years so it means replacing your old helmet for a new one. Remember also to replace your helmet if you do have a fall where your head hits something.
If your insurance policy specifies that your horse should wear a bridle and you mostly ride in a natural hackamore or halter, then you will need to teach your horse to accept a bridle (with a bit or bitless) for this purpose.
There’s absolutely no reason why you can’t ride on a public road or a trail ride with the bridle and bitless bridle or /halter together.
In fact this would make it even safer as you have the option of controlling your horse (with the bitless reins) without inflicting extra pressure, and therefore pain during a stressful moment by over-using the bit.
Remember that it is just as, if not more effective to control a horse using one rein and bitless bridle, rope halter or natural hackamore (as opposed to a mechanical hackamore) so these ‘bridle’ rules will not need to be enforced.
By being a responsible rider, you will provide a positive image that will hopefully inspire others to follow your path of horsemanship.
To see which insurance companies cover you for riding with bitless head gear, please refer to our Bitless Resources page.