Beginnings of Safety

  Something every good horse person should know is how to work around a barn safely. Horses are much stronger than we are and they may react in ways that could really hurt us without meaning to. For that reason, we must be alert and try to avoid situations that can put us in danger

  Some say that horses are unpredictable. To certain degree I agree with that. Horses can be unpredictable when we aren't paying attention or understand their language. Horses will usually warn us before they react. Their fight or flight instinct, however, is really strong and might make them react so quickly that we might not of seen the warning signs.

  It's so important to be aware around horses. You need to be able to react quickly just in case anything were to happen. The times you put yourself in danger are the times when you are thinking about other things while brushing, riding or leading your horse to his paddock.

  Try seeing it through your horse's eyes. They are always looking around to make sure they are safe. We should be doing the same. If you are walking along and see a plastic bag up ahead, you should prepare yourself just in case he were to spook. This doesn't mean that you should tense up and panic over the fact that he might spook (as that could make him react anyway), but you should keep walking along and prepare to react to the first signs that your horse is unsure about the bag.

  You should also never assume that all horses are the same. Some have bad habits and some don't. So if you're ever working with a new horse or introducing a horse to a new situation, never expect him to react like another. Some horses will trust more than others and will do what you ask of them. Others will much rather leave you in the dust than do what you want.

  Horses are always teaching us and each horse teaches us something different. Some teach us patience, some teach us confidence and others teach us awareness. The more you learn about each horse you work with, the more predictable they become. You'll be able to know when they are going to react and correct it before it becomes a problem.

  So, I hope you have learnt a little bit more on how to be safe with horses. I could have talked about the typical rules of the barn such as wearing helmets and never walking behind a horse. Those rules are important of course, but the things I have mentioned in this post are also important. As horse people, we can get very comfortable around horses and forget what they are able to do to us. It's important to always stay alert to avoid getting hurt.

  Until next time, happy riding!