Please be safe!

Let’s start with one word…. SAFETY

When you are around horses, the first thing to remember is to ‘BE SAFE’

Why?

Horses are prey animals, they are strong and highly responsive to stimuli in their environment

What does this mean? They have an incredibly fast flight or flight instinct.

Err?

Let’s break this down. As they don’t want to be someone’s lunch, their first response to something that they sense as dangerous.. is to run away. For example;

One day, they may catch you walking towards them with the long snake-like thing, known  to us as “the hose”, they are going to want to run away, regardless of the child lovingly grooming them. Next thing you know is that the child is in a heap on the ground, and the beloved pony is heading for the hills.

ALL horses still have this instinct, although their trigger levels may be different.

My point?

When you are around horses, especially with people with small amounts of experience, like children, be vigilant. Do not take shortcuts with safety. For example,

  • If someone is grooming a horse, beware of what you are doing, as your movement could well impact the situation.
  • When you are leading a horse, NEVER wrap the rope around your hand
  • Give the horse space, those legs are powerful, and horses are quicker than you. If a horse turns into a flight animal, you need to be able to get out of the way.
  • Beware if the horse is in closed space or is in a vulnerable situation, like lying down. In these situations, the horse will be on alert, and their trigger point will be lower than normal.


Some Safety points for riding

  • WEAR A SAFETY HELMET that has been designed for horse riding.

           Your brain is important, protect it.

  • Wear appropriate footwear.  NOt sure if your footwear is OK or not, then test it. If it can slide through the stirrup, and it can get caught, then it is not appropriate. If you fall off, you will be dragged along by the foot, which will spook your horse more, which could well kill you.
  • Tack should be appropriate for the horse and rider, and should be correctly fitted, for both the horse and the rider and be in good repair.
  • Keep hold of those reins! Horses can spook at any time, be ready for this to happen.
  • NEVER let reins, lead lines, or any other piece of tack drag on the ground. Think of undone shoelaces and the consequences of tripping over, then apply that to your horse!

ALL horse are capable of tripping or spooking. And just because you have not had a serious fall yet, does not mean it is not around the corner. So, apply some common sense and minimize the “impact”, and be safe.