Saturday, April 5, 2014

Horse Sense vs. Nonsense

No horse is a pleasure unless he is safe and is ridden safely.  Most accidents that occur happen with gentle horses.  And nearly all have been the fault of the human, not the horse.  
A few examples:
-A woman visiting a 4-H club pasture walked up, unannounced, behind a horse that was eating.  Lots of horses will kick when they are eating.  She suffered a broken jaw and ended up with eight false teeth.  
-A neighbor walked into a closed trailer, leading his horse right behind.  The horse jumped in      ( a well trained horse) and crushed the man, breaking his nose.
-Two girls racing their horses outside an arena during a horse show ran into another rider, killed the horse, and broke the rider's leg.
-A man walked up behind his young horse and swatted him on the rump without alerting the animal.  This was a professional trainer who knew better, but he had been talking with a friend and forgot.   The end result: a smashed face.

Here are some DO'S and DON'TS that will help you have fun with horses-SAFELY:

DO approach a horse from his left, saddle from his left and mount from his left.  This is a tradition that dates back to the knights who carried big swords on the left side and found it easier to throw their right leg over the saddle. 

DON'T walk up behind a horse unannounced.  Let him know you are approaching by speaking to him and placing your hand on him.  Horses can't see immediately behind them and instinctively kick to protect their blind spot.

DO keep your hands calm and your voice quiet.  Shouting or beating an excited horse will only make matters worse.

DON'T wrap the lead rope or reins around your hand, wrist or body. The gentlest horse will sometimes spook.

DO walk beside your horse when leading him-not in front of him- and grasp the lead rope near the halter or the reins near the bit.

DON'T tie your horse with the bridle reins. Use a strong halter and lead rope to tie him high and close to a post, tree, or similar object.

DO slow to a walk when riding on pavement, bridges, ice or anywhere you are not sure of the footing.

DON'T mount your horse in a barn or near fences.  It's a good way to get your head cracked or your leg cut.  

DO check your girth, cinch straps, curb chain and reins to make sure they are in good condition.

DON'T tease your horse or let him nibble on you.  A nibbling horse occasionally bites.

DO keep your head clear when bridling a horse.  He may throw his head to avoid the bit and hit you.

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