To enjoy equestrian activities it is important to learn how to safely work with and around horses.
On this post I will discuss some of the activities that can cause dangerous situations will doing daily work with your horse.
Tie your horse the safe way.
This is a routine part of grooming and tacking up your horse. New horse owners give little thought to potential dangers in tying a horse. The aim here it to securely tie the horse to avoid a loose horse running away and causing injury to himself or damaging the stable area or even worse leaving the property. Horses, if trained properly will stand quietly while tied. However, horses startle easily and if tied can have a traumatic experience. To avoid this the following procedures will mediate this problem.
If using a lead rope to to tie up your horse learn how to tie a “quick release knot”. Be sure that the halter and lead rope are in good condition for holding the horse. Never tie to anything that is easily broken. You would be surprised how easily a horse can break a fence post or board. If the post you have tied to does break and the horse is startled he may run quite a distance pulling what is attached to the lead. This has great potential for injury.
Cross ties are a better way of tieing up your horse while grooming or tacking up. I have found an invention called the “Tie Safe” . This product will break at pre set tensions. This is helpful in in saving halters and what ever it is attached to. It is a simple device that uses Velcro and a metal slid. It can be used on any size horse so that if the horse panics the Tie safe will break before the halter or other hardware or in the event of a real panic the horse itself. It will break in such a way that there is a lead strap left hanging from the halter that allows the owner to catch the horse. The Velcro parts can be re- attached and you are back in business. No broken halter, cross tie or damaged stable walls. Tie Safe also make a trailer tie. Both are great products.
Keep the stable area safe.
Your barn area should be a safe place for both you and your horse. This would include footing. Areas such as walk ways and wash racks should have non slip footing. They should be clear of obstructions that a horse can get injured with. Items such as pitch forks, tack boxes and even door latches that stick out into the isles can be problems.
Have plans in place for natural disasters such as high winds, fires and earthquakes. When these natural disasters occur you will not have a lot of time to react. Prior planning saves the heartbreak of losing livestock.
Stable management is important for your horses health and safety for you and guests. Simple things like posting “No Smoking” signs and who to contact in case of emergency. The numbers of your local fire department just may save lives. Stalls must be cleaned daily. This will save you money on vet and farrier bills. Check to make sure livestock has enough clean water. horses need as much water in the winter as they do in the summer. So make sure the buckets are not frozen. Make sure buckets and feed tubs are clean. You want a fly and mosquito free barn to prevent the spread of diseases such as West Nile Virus . Standing water serve as breeding grounds for Mosquitoes which pose health risks for horse and human. Have fire extinguishers located at all stable exits and be sure they are maintenances regularly. Light bulbs should be encased so that cob webs cannot come in contact with them. Do not store flammable liquids in or close to a stable. Be careful with extension cords. Horses will chew them if given a chance. All wiring should be encased to prevent rodents from chewing on them.
Turn out safety
Turning your horse out to pasture allows a horse to live more naturally. They can graze freely and move about at will which is good for joints and their digestive system. However, providing a safe environment is the owners responsibility. The fencing should be in good repair. Gates should be horse proof. Which means that latches should not be able to be opened by the horse and gate hinges should be secure so that they cannot be lifted off the mounting brackets. A loose horse can cause injury to itself as well as to others or neighbors property. Watch for toxic plants or even shark broken branches on trees. Horse love to rub on things so watch for protruding nails and please do not use barb wire fencing. Horses are a “flight and fight animal. They will struggle if tangled in barb wire causing severe injury. Barb wire works well for cows but never horses.
Safety while working with or around horse in an important issue. I have covered only some aspects of the subject. Issues involving tack, all different types of riding, transportation, breeding and so on could make this post an entire book which is not within the scope of this post. So I will leave you with this final thought. Common sense will prevent many ugly situations. Stop and think when working around any horse their safety is your responsibility. Your safety is not theirs.