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How to Properly Work Around Horses

Many activities take place around horses and some clearly come across as dangerous such as riding fast without a saddle and jumping obstacles. However, did you know that both of these options are actually safer for a horse owner than activities such as grooming with a brush which take place on the ground near one of the horses.
Statistics have shown that more injuries occur when an individual is on the ground rather than mounting on the horse, speed and height are not the only things that can cause injury around a horse.

When you are near horses you should always wear a helmet to stay safe and when you are feeding, leading or grooming a horse it is very important to remain alert. Keep the shortest distance possible between you and the horse when you are on the ground. Keep the horse on a short rein and stay right up by their head so they wonít be able to
turn and bite you. Horses have a lot of room between their shoulder and head which makes it easy for them to turn quickly and bite you.

While this may sound odd since you may think being father away from a horse is safer, however the full effect of a horses kick will be felt if you are farther away. Rather when you are close you wonít feel much of the impact. For the best safety you should follow all of the following tips when working with a horse on the ground.

It is important that the horse knows where you are at, at all times and is aware of when you are approaching them. Start at the front and work towards the back when you are grooming a horse. Know the horseís ticklish areas and keep a hand in constant contact with the horse such as the flank area. If you tickle the horse they are more likely to kick you. Keep the fence in between the horse and yourself during feeding. Never place a horse between you and the exit when you are doing any work in the barn.

Soothingly talk to the horse while doing any work. Start early with a horse and donít begin any bad habits. This means no feeding out of your hand or foods such as sugar when they are young. Start having the horse around people when it is young and it is better to start them out early with exposure to distractions of different types such as flags flying and loud music playing nearby.

It is important to be firm but you should never mistreat an animal. Treat the horse with respect and remember that it is in their nature to try and be free. Never wrap a lead around your wrist when you are leading a horse. To detect a horseís mood you should watch their eyes and ears. If you notice signs that they are going to have problems such as the ears going back, the horse starts chomping at the bit or prancing around then try and calm the horse down by talking to it and reassuring it. When working with a horse never make any sudden movements and if they like, touch or rub them on their neck. Remain calm yourself and make sure the horse knows itís not alone since it can pick up quickly and easily on your moods. However, you should always make sure you show the horse that you are in control by being firm, just not too firm.

Read the next horse care article on Wounds and Minor Injury Care.
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