10 tips for working a horse safely

  1. Equipment – Always wear a hard hat when working with a horse. Even if the horse is always such a good boy. Accidents always happen quickly and unexpectedly!
  2. Shoes – Good, sturdy shoes or boots are important around horses. When startled, your horse could jump to the side and land on your foot, with all consequences. Never go to your horse in flip-flops.
  3. Gloves – may not always be necessary when working in an enclosed area (such as a riding arena), but they may be a welcome addition. Especially when you work with a horse that pulls away. If you don’t have a safe environment, our advice is to always wear gloves!
  4. Start in hand – Are you going to do something that the horse finds difficult or exciting? Then start your training in hand first. Is that going well? Then you can repeat it under saddle.
  5. Long lead – Use a long(er) line so that you can take more distance from the horse if necessary. This is very useful when the horse spooks or rears, for example. You can let the line slip and stay out of range of the legs.
  6. Space – If possible, work in an enclosed area with sand footing. Also make sure that the fencing is not only high enough, but also sturdy. Any horse may take a fright!
  7. Position – Be careful not to stand directly in front of a horse, but a little to the side. That way, if the horse is spooked, it will not jump on top of you and you have time to respond. If you notice that the horse is afraid of something, always walk between the perceived ‘danger’ and the horse. That way, if he is startled, he will jump away from you.
  8. Use of obstacles – Horses can sometimes react very anxiously to certain situations or obstacles. When setting up any training materials, make sure it is safe for you and your horse. Give him time to get used to them and wherever possible stay between the ‘danger’ and the horse.
  9. Shaping – Always take small steps in your training. When the steps are too big it may cause the horse to react more explosively.
  10. Basic control – Make sure you are in control of your horse at all times. Make sure you are the one who determines where you are going, before you start working on more difficult things.

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