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  • Mary Kate McCaughey

So You've Never Been Around a Horse Before - Basic Barn Safety

Updated: Nov 19, 2020


   While our owner and head trainer, Kelly, has been around horses since she was little, we know that not everyone is as lucky. Here are some basic tips for rider and family to stay safe during their visit to our barn.     1. Dress Safe    Riding is often a family endeavor. Therefore, everyone entering the barn should be wearing close toed shoes and clothes they don't mind getting dirty. Remember, you'll be outside, dress appropriately. Riders should be wearing long pants, a close toed shoe with a one inch heel and, if wearing layers, they should be easy to take off. For safety reasons, the rider may need to dismount to take off any pullover garments.

2. Never walk behind a horse    As prey animals, horses' eyes are set on the side of their heads. Horses have a wide range of vision, but can't see directly in front or behind them. While working with horses, speak softly to let them know you are in a blind spot. This is why we tell our students and families to never walk behind a horse. 

     3. No running or yelling in the barn    As herd animals, horses are observant of their surroundings. If you're nervous, they're nervous. Do not run or scream in the barn. While our horses have been desensitized to a lot of stimuli, it's always best to use caution and to show respect to the other horses in the barn.       4. Be aware of your surroundings    When handling a horse, keep an eye out for their legs and head. Horses technically walk on their toes, and often shift their body weight when standing. In the summer, flies may bite their legs. You want to keep a respectful distance from their feet in case they move. Staying away from their head is just as important. While horses communicate cues beforehand, horses are animals, and may bite. Until you're comfortable with their body language, it's best to wait and watch until instructed to do something. 

      5. Only give treats palm up, fingers flat and together    Lastly, something fun - when giving approved treats to horses, palm should be flat, fingers together (don't forget your thumb).

Now that you know basic safety, you are ready to come to the barn. As you grow in confidence, you will learn more about horsemanship. Remember, being around horses carries certain risks, but we will do our part to minimize them. We look out for our riders and follow a safety first approach. Please ask us if you have any other questions.


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