Owning a horse is a tremendous responsibility. In fact, the level of care and attention these animals require is more than many people can handle. Still, if you know what you’re getting into and feel that you’re up to the challenge, horse ownership can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, first-time horse owners should be aware of the numerous safety precautions that are synonymous with caring for these animals. To ensure your personal wellbeing – and that of your horse – put the following pointers to good use.
Avoid Standing Directly Behind Your Horse
As any seasoned rancher can confirm, you should always avoid standing directly behind horses. If the animal becomes startled and kicks unexpectedly, you could wind up seriously injured. Some people make the mistake of standing directly behind horses when grooming their tails, and unsurprisingly, this often ends badly. However, this isn’t to say that you should give up on tail grooming. Instead of standing behind the animal, take care to stand to one side and very gently pull its tail toward you.
Never Allow Your Horse to Eat Out of Your Hands
Allowing a horse to eat out of your hands puts your fingers at considerable risk. Unfortunately, many films and television shows that feature often show owners engaged in such behavior, thereby perpetuating the idea that it’s perfectly safe. In reality, however, this can result in broken and severed fingers. For this reason, you should always feed your horse treats from special tubs and buckets. As an added precaution against feeding-related mishaps, look into purchasing equine liability insurance.
Don’t Allow Your Horse to Run Wild
Your horse should be tied up when it’s being saddled or groomed or having its stall cleaned. A spooked, angry or excited horse can do a lot of damage in a barn, resulting in serious injury and destruction of property. Additionally, even when a horse is tied up, it should not be left unsupervised.
Caring for a horse is no mean feat. In order to stay clean, healthy and well-fed, these animals need to receive a considerable amount of attention. Unless you have the time, energy and financial resources this task requires, you may want to think twice about horse ownership. In addition to the aforementioned requirements, horse owners need to take an assortment of steps to ensure their safety. Horse owners who wish to avoid personal injury – or worse – would be wise to heed the tips discussed above.