Horse Safety Tips

Horse Safety

By TJ Wierenga

Big, powerful, and weighing around 1000 pounds and up, horses are a good friend to have on your side. But with that strength and size comes some extra caution and information that should be applied by those around them.

Equine riding helmets should always be worn when mounted.

Horses have wide-angle vision and can see well to either side. However, they also have blind spots directly behind them and at their nose. When approaching a horse, speak quietly so that it is aware of you, and be visible. Do not stand directly behind a horse.

Pat a horse on its shoulder or neck, not on its nose where it cannot see your hand.

Horses are a prey animal, and their primary defense is to run away. If they cannot run away and feel threatened, they may kick with a hind leg. Keep a quiet voice and be calm to avoid scaring, or “spooking” a horse.

Lead ropes should never be wrapped around your hand or tied to your body. Fold the excess length into an accordion or figure-8 and hold it in your hand farthest from the horse. Do not let the end dangle down near the ground where it could be stepped on. Your hand near the horse should be about 6-8” away from his chin.

Feed treats from buckets, not your hand. Fingers resemble carrots.

Wear sturdy shoes that will protect your toes and ankles, never sandals.

Do not kneel, sit or squat around a horse. Stay on your feet and at least partially facing the horse.

Never duck under your horse, or his lead rope. Likewise, do not step over his lead rope.

Horses that wear a yellow ribbon on their tail are known kickers – stay away from the business end.

Horse ears point to what he is paying attention to. Ears pinned flat back mean that the horse is angry.

Always close the gate or door behind you!