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How to Approach and Behave Around a Horse

Horseback riding and horses, in general, are a lot of fun. It can be a relaxing, rewarding experience for both adults and children. However, you can never forget that a horse is a large and powerful animal who can get spooked easily. Before you go on your horse riding adventure, the know-how you need to act around a horse.

A horse can’t see everything around itself, so that is one of the reasons it can get scared easily. It does not have great peripheral vision. If someone walks up quietly behind them, it can scare them. You should not come close to a horse from behind. Instead, walk up to it from the side to begin grooming or getting on his saddle. If you want up from the front, you can see any tack or grooming pieces that you have in your hand before you start grooming him.

You should also never approach a horse from behind in case he kicks you. A horse kick can seriously injure or even kill you and horses will kick anything approaching them from behind out of a protective instinct.

You will also need to remember to move slowly and very calm around your horse. You are better off if they can clearly see everything that you are doing and they will not scare or startle on you too quickly. No animal likes to be approached quickly from the side and have someone with fast, skittish movements. It pays to be slow and cautious around your horse until they are completely used to you.

You will always want to keep an eye on your horse’s hooves. If you are wearing sneakers or flip-flops, you shouldn’t even go into the stable. If the horse steps on your foot and you don’t have protective footwear on, that can make for a bad foot injury for you.

You will also need to avoid standing with your back to the horse since horses can bite. The only time you can stand with your back to the horse is if you are picking up their hooves and cleaning them. You should always have your horse secured in his cross-ties while grooming, however, so this should prevent him from biting or nipping you.

Even if you give your horse a treat, you will have to watch your fingers. In his anxious state to grab the treat, the horse might nip your fingers, which would hurt! Don’t cup your hand when giving a horse a treat, but instead stick the treat on a flat palm with your fingers all together. Press your thumb directly against your hand and then give him his surprise.

Finally, you should never ever hit a horse. No matter what your horse has done, it does not deserve to be beaten. There is a piece of tack that looks like a whip but it’s actually used for training, never for the punishment of the horse. You want a happy horse, not a scared one!