New Saddle Safety Initiative Kicks Off

The University of Kentucky has launched a new safety initiative called "Saddle Up Safely", aimed at reducing rider injuries.

University of Kentucky HealthCare, the university’s College of Agriculture, Kentucky Horse Park organizations and other businesses launched the new campaign during a presentation at the Kentucky Horse Park on Tuesday, with dignitaries such as Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear and equestrians like Cathy Wieschhoff on hand to take part and promote the importance of safe riding practices. The message of the presentation was that a rider can never be too safe when riding, and that both rider and horse are at risk of serious injury should the proper precautions not be taken.

"Saddle Up Safely" is a five-year strategy to challenge the misconception that only beginner riders need to be instructed about safety, with an emphasis on personal responsibility being the key to preventing injuries. University of Kentucky HealthCare is the official medical provider for next year’s 2010 FEI Alltech World Equestrian Games and consists of university doctors, nurses and other support staff.

Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear said that horse safety is of the utmost importance. "It’s no secret for all of us in Kentucky that we are the Horse Capital of the World. Whether you are an experienced rider or are near these beautiful animals, it is critical that you know how to interact with horses and safely ride. The ‘Saddle Up Safely’ educational campaign stresses the aspects of horsemanship and seeks to leave a lasting legacy for the World Equestrian Games," she added.

And John Long, Chief Executive Officer of the United States Equestrian Federation, added, "A main part of the Federation’s mission statement is to protect and support the welfare of the horse. This can be accomplished in part by teaching proper riding practices, wearing protective equipment, knowing your horse and its unique behavior and learning the rules for safe riding."

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