Super Duper Safety Basics: Be One Less Thing to Worry About

Alrighty . . . here are a few gems to keep you out of the emergency room. And the proverbial dog-house.

No surprise parties please!

Beloved is a prey animal and his highest priority is his own safety . . . physical and emotional. Startle him and there is going to be a response that you or someone else will have to deal with. All 1,000 pounds of it.

Nothing personal, but Beloved will mow you down if you happen to be in the way when a situation deems threatening. That could be a lion stalking from the woods or simply a plastic bag blowing in the wind. Either way - you matter not when it comes to a horse's desire to flea the scene.

So play it safe, and play to the horse's culture as best you can.

Video here (Mature Audiences Only)

Wanna Hang Out ? A Few Things to Keep in Mind


Horses spend pretty much no time looking at their feet (physically awkward) and your feet are not their responsibility. If you find your foot beneath one of their hooves . . well, I hate to say it, but your bad. To dislodge, push on his shoulder (to move a front foot) or his hip bones (to move a hind foot off of yours.) And when, not if, this happens, save yourself the embarrassment and just let it slide. Hide the limp with a jig and a smile (we do it all the time) and file under Note-to-Self.

2) STAND TO THE SIDE of a horse and never directly in front. This way they can see you best, step on you least, and the "front door is open" in case he wants to bolt.

3)STAND BY THE SHOULDER so when that big boney head swings in your direction it wont clonk you in the face. (If this hasn't happened yet you're lucky.) The shoulder and withers area is also considered the "relationship zone" so this is a cultural thing to accommodate.

4) NEVER GO BEHIND? Let's demystify this right here and now: can a horse kick you in the ribs? Sure. But why would he? Depends on what you're doin' back there. If you're monkeying around in his blindspot . . . you're more likely to irritate him . . .so just don't:)

If you really want to get from A to B and going "round the back porch is the easiest route, keep a hand on the horse's body and stay close as you gracefully and confidently stride to the other side. If the horse finds you problematic (or hears you constantly complaining about costs of upkeep and organic carrots) and wants to give it to ya . .. it'll feel only like a love bump in the legs from close range.

BEST BET? Give the horse a wide berth as you go 'round the front . . stay where Beloved can see you.

Here are some other info bytes to help you understand a horse's perspective:

Vision: Beloved and his fellow equines are equipped with monocular vision -meaning he uses each eye separately, increasing his field of view, but limiting his depth perception. Blindspots: Directly in front (closer than 4 feet), anything behind its head, and behind the tail. Make accommodations for this and you'll stay on his good side (or at least start that way.)

Hearing: Horses have excellent hearing, so your indoor voice will do. Besides, a shout will likely result in a startled, stressed out horse and that's no picnic. Loud and sudden noises are, well, undesirable in their world. If you need to chainsaw, use the impact drill or play the drums in the barn, do take the horse into consideration. Better yet, turn him out or wait util he's off at a horse show or the like before you start raising decibels.

Sense of Smell: Powerful! Horses are especially equipped in that they possess the "Jacobson's organ" (which has almost completely disappeared in humans.) This organ enables them to analyze pheromones. So yeah . . if you're scared they can smell it!

Movement: A horse can move roughly 3 times faster than a human. For this reason, when you're in the barn or in Beloved's company position yourself where you're not vulnerable to trample, knock-down, or side-swipe.

  • BE GENTLE . . . horses are big but oh so sensitive . . .to sounds, movements, unnatural objects . . .plastic bags! umbrellas!? So, if your ringtone sounds like a shotgun or you're prone to flailing your arms wildly while you speak - control yourself . . or excuse yourself.
  • RESIST PATTING A HORSE ON ITS FACE . . . the muzzle and face can be a horse's most sensitive parts. Touching a horse in the nose resembles harassment in a sense. . . . Keep your hands to yourself. Better yet . . use them to conceal your wallet . . it's the most vulnerable thing you've got goin on here . . . and Beloved might give you those sad eyes that say "Oh . . .I really really need a new padded leather halter . . . .please???:))"
  • WATCH THOSE TEETH. Beloved's front teeth are designed to latch onto blades of grass and rip them out of the ground. Let's insure that he doesn't put his teeth on you with those intentions. He hasn't hands or paws so if he's curious he may in fact want to explore with those pearly whites. Best to keep your body parts out of reach. If you're standing away or to the side you're in a safer place.
  • THE MOVE IT GAME . . . super important here . . imagine a big scoreboard (if you're like most guys this isn't a crazy stretch.) You and Beloved each have a column. Every time Beloved gets you to move, or even lean back as he invades your space, he gets a point and you lose one. This is how horses exert dominance. If you want to let Beloved rule your world (let's face it, in a surreptitious sort of way he already does) allow him to get you to step back or away. Done. Finished. He's It and you're now a chump in his eyes. BEST BET? Stand 6 or more feet away (if he's cross-tied or held) and just act all cool holding your ground from there. If you find yourself close, or have to be there, get Beloved to move away from you. They love this game, but don't let them win.

More on "Moving Beloved" in the "Take the Reins" section.

Complete and Continue