Stable and farm owners are always searching for ways to keep horses safe, but the safety of the humans on the farm is also a priority. When working with horses within a stable environment, certain procedures can be followed to keep humans safe from injury.
Here are some tips and suggestions to help keep people safe:
- Always use a stout lead rope attached to the halter when leading a horse–this provides control and protects fingers and hands from injury should a horse startle suddenly. Fold the lead rope flat on itself rather than looping it around your hand. Use appropriate control measures, such as a chain, when handling fractious individuals or stallions, and avoid proximity of stallions to mares.
- When working on a horse, remember to not stand directly in front or behind the animal–this protects you from being run over or kicked. It also helps to keep hand contact on a horse while moving around him, and to talk to him to let him know of your presence, especially upon approach. It’s best to approach from the side rather than from his rear, which might startle him and induce him to kick.
- Always wear protective footwear when working around horses–no sandals!
- Wear an ASTM-approved helmet whenever mounted.
- Don’t be tempted to mount a horse within the barn as you will invariably sit higher than the doorways, which could easily scrape you off when you try to exit.
- When turning a horse out, train him to stand quietly while you remove the halter and/or lead rope and position yourself so an exuberant buck doesn’t reach you when you let him go.
- Make sure there is good drainage around gates and areas where horses congregate to ensure safe footing for you and the horses.
- Keep children out from under foot of horses and traffic, and make sure they are supervised by an adult.
These simple guidelines are based on practical common sense and good horsemanship skills. Following this advice keeps many common accidents from occurring.